Flirting

1990, Movie, R, 96 mins

Review

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This sequel to writer-director John Duigan's acclaimed THE YEAR MY VOICE BROKE is an intelligently written and marvelously acted coming-of-age tale set in rural Australia in the 1960s.

Danny Embling (Noah Taylor) is a bright, sensitive boarding school student who falls in love with Thandiwe Adjewa (Thandie Newton), the only black pupil at the girl's school which sits tantalizingly across the lake from Danny's college. Despite the interference of authoritarian teachers and bigoted school bullies, the two embark on an extremely charming relationship that is ended when political events force Thandiwe's family to return to Uganda.

FLIRTING is a rather more serious film than its name implies. Duigan's main focus is on the teenage love story, yet he gives his tale a broader dramatic context through succinct, telling allusions to bigger events taking place in the world at large. Aided by a literate screenplay and fine performances from his ensemble cast, Duigan brings a sense of universality to his treatment of first love, while still filtering in a keen sense of time and place.

Taylor, as young outsider Danny, is flawless in his interpretation of the character, displaying an uncanny depth seldom found in juvenile actors. The exceptionally pretty Newton is graceful and charming as Thandiwe and Nicole Kidman (DEAD CALM, FAR AND AWAY) contributes a fine turn in the underwritten role of Nicola Radcliffe, an initially snobbish upperclassman who becomes a firm friend of Thandiwe's. leave a comment

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