Ever since it became public knowledge that Justin Kurzel’s next film would tackle the 1996 massacre in Port Arthur – when lone gunman Martin Bryant killed 35 people – there has been uproar in Australia.
Joy Hopwood’s Rhapsody of Love mixes light-hearted fun with the struggles of relationships, spotlighting Asian-Australian talent.
Jess Flowers is the best woman for her close friend, Ben’s wedding. There, she meets filmmaker Justin Judd, who is capturing the special day. It is here that Jess also comes across Victoria, a cupcake maker. We soon see how the lives of different couples become linked.
The film has a ‘sweet’ aesthetic (the treats Victoria whips up will have you craving sugar), and a floral theme as well – there’s the wedding scene, but also the protagonist’s surname and the business she runs with her sister Jade: “Blooming Success Media”.
Admittedly, further storyline development could have helped. Jess expresses her dream of becoming a screenwriter and despite it being stated that she is working on a script, integrating this aspect into the plot would have been beneficial. Also, issues between Jess and Justin are solved too quickly. Some of the jokes are on point but others don’t quite land, coming off as cheesy. All that being said, it is a rom-com, a famously forgivable genre for audiences, so it could be argued that they were intended this way.
Regardless, the characters are quirky and there are a couple of twists which are well executed. Kathy Luu portrays the bubbly Jess Flowers effortlessly and Damien Sato is charming as Justin. Ben Hanly is impressive as Ben, especially when conveying the anxiety his character experiences during stressful situations. Tom Jackson excels as the hilarious Hugh, a waiter who seems to work at practically every event the characters go to. Lily Stewart is entertaining as Victoria and Jessica Niven is captivating as Natasha. Writer/Director Joy Hopwood fits the role of the caring Jade nicely, and Khan Chittenden is comical as Phil.
If you’re in the mood for a feel-good movie, Rhapsody of Love could be what you’re looking for.
The term, diversity, in reference to people encompasses a variety of different factors, from race, gender, age and sexual orientation to disability and religion. In the context of the MCX Screenmakers Conference, reference to this term was largely in relation to race and people of colour (POC).
Stephen Vagg’s series on forgotten Australian television plays looks at seven different comedies from the late 1960s: How Do You Spell Matrimony?, Face at the Clubhouse Door, The Brass Guitar, The Proposal, The Bear, A Phoenix Too Frequent and Tilley Landed On Our Shores.
Directed by and starring Mélanie Laurent, The Mad Women’s Ball – which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this week ahead of its Amazon Prime Video debut – is a luscious period thriller with a “Sixth Sense” twist.