21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine

Director: Cate Shortland/with Abbie Cornish, Sam Worthington/Australia 2004

Somersault is one of those films that stay with you long after you watch it.
It is the feature debut of Australian filmmaker, Cate Shortland, who’s others projects include award winning Strap On Olympia (1995), Pentuphouse (1998), Flowergirl (1999) and Joy (2000). Her distinct and abstract method of filming gives this film a wonderfully atmosphere feel, using vivid color’s for nightclub scenes which reflect the very essence of each scene. Cate Shortland works with the same team of crew on each film she makes and you can clearly see the uses this has, drama and intense feeling are evident in most of her films.

The story begins with Australian newcomer, Abbie Cornish (One Perfect Day), whose performance in the film is overwhelmingly moving. A young teenager on the run from her mother after an encounter with her mother’s boyfriend she sets out on a journey to discover that sex is no substitute for love. She winds up in Jinabyne, the snowfields, where she cobbles a new life and a few new relationships. But as is Heidi’s way everything lingers around her wanting for stability, which is substituted by sleeping with men. A mood of uncertainty prevails throughout the film, giving it a subtle suspense and anxiousness sentiment. She then meets Joe (Sam Worthington) who comes from a wealthy farming family, they both discover inner problems and both pressurized by friends and acquaintances, he also gives a wonderful performance, portraying inner frustration and fear, they become emotionally intimate but before the relationship starts to evolve they retreat back to there comfort zones that of seclusion and despondency.

Cate Shortland’s discretely combines an acute sense of emotion, teenage sexual inquisitiveness and confusion, giving it a naturalistic feeling and setting. She recalls that her inspiration from the film comes from working with disturbed teens.

Somersault displays a far more sympathetic portrait of teenage despair than most films such as Kids (1995), perhaps more female lead outline at work. It has more of a subtle agenda rather than the shocking factor of Thirteen. Its script and scenic setting almost portrays that of a poem. It’s empathy for the female character and attention to emotion shows a subtle hint towards the neglect and disrespect of teenage females, this film could be the works of a feminist, however, it still capture the very essence of female and male behavior towards sexuality and unhappiness. With a harmonic soundtrack to complement, Australian band, Decoder Ring provide the haunting music to this film. It is no doubt that it is one of the most captivating debuts I have seen this year. It is a film which portrays social judgment about young women and there sexuality which some audiences may not agree with. However it does address a very serious issue about teenage love and sex. A story of two very confused teenagers, both with deep insecurities, helping one another to overcome external pressures.

 More Reviews


© Hackwriters 1999-2007 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy - no liability accepted by or affiliates.