A Month Of Sundays
Anthony LaPaglia, Julia Blake, Justine Clarke, John Clarke
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…looks and feels flat…
A month of Sundays metaphorically refers to something that only happens very rarely. It also implies that you have to wait a long time to get an expected benefit. Unfortunately, these associations come back to bite Mathew Saville’s new comedy/drama, which takes an age to get to its point, and doesn’t deliver that much in the end. Saville made the tense and densely-plotted crime thrillers, Noise and Felony, so he has credit in the bank. On the looks of this one though, comedy is not his thing.
The film has a very solid Aussie line up of actors, though they’re not necessarily cast in roles which suit their style. The whole film hangs on the performance/persona of Anthony LaPaglia, who does his best with a sort of “not there” kind of character. He is Frank Mollard, a middle aged real estate agent ticking all the boxes for a midlife crisis. His wife, Wendy (Justine Clarke), who has moved on and become a successful TV actress, resents the fact that Frank is so clingy and aimless. When Frank receives a phone call from Sarah (Julia Blake), an older woman who resembles his deceased mother, he decides to befriend her.
As noted, both LaPaglia and Blake are experienced actors and, when together, they do convey mutual sympathy and the wisdom-sharing which is at the emotional heart of the story. There are also small bits of light relief, especially when Frank’s boss, Phillip (John Clarke), is involved. Clarke’s natural comic timing and delightfully dry delivery are welcome, but his role is sealed from the rest of the film and feels inserted. The film looks and feels flat, with little or no music score and lots of nondescript locations and half-realised scenes. The real problem is that Frank is depressed, and his life and occupation are dull. How do you make an engaging film about a dull person with very ordinary problems? It’s a tricky problem and – we’re afraid to say – Saville doesn’t seem to have found the answer.