Monday, 22 August 2011


“Tears and fears and feeling proud to say ‘I love you’ right out loud.” - Joni Mitchell

You know the feeling when sometimes you go around the neighbourhood and admire the flowers in other people’s gardens? You see a spectacular rose, for example, and you look at it admiringly, smell it and enjoy its beauty, even take photograph? Then you go back home and in your own backyard you suddenly find a similar rose that you had overlooked, smelling just as sweet and as beautiful as the neighbour’s you admired just before…

This was our feeling at the weekend when we watched Daina Reid’s 2010 “I Love You Too”, an Australian film that was shot in Melbourne. It was written by Peter Helliar and stars Brendan Cowell, Peter Dinklage, Yvonne Strahovski, Peter Helliar and Megan Gale. It was a romantic comedy with a light touch and some poignant moments, a film which proved to be satisfying and diverting. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a masterpiece or a film that was wildly original or one that changed the course of the cinematic art. However, it was enjoyable and funny with its heart in the right place. Ok, the rose wasn’t a named beautiful hybrid tea rose, it was a fresh, delightful garden-variety home grown type…

The film examines various aspects of love, for example, that between siblings who had to look after themselves for 20 years after their parents died in a car crash, a married couple expecting their first baby, the love between two best mates, and the love between two strangers who start off on the wrong foot, but find in each other a genuine friendship. There is also the fiery love that begins with a strong sexual attraction and develops into a romance, a romance that for over three years seemingly blooms, only to threaten to be cut short as one of the partners begins to feel unfulfilled.

The film focusses on the strained relationship between Jim (Brendan Cowell) and Alice (Yvonne Strahovski), a couple who meet in a bar, have a one-night stand, but who find their attraction keeps the together for more than three years. Alice hopes for Jim to tell her those magic four words that men seem to have a great difficulty in uttering: “I love you too”. However, the best Jim can do is give Alice a tinny “commitment ring” rather than an engagement ring and a proposal. Alice breaks up with Jim on his birthday, characterising him as a man-child who refuses to grow up.

Jim finds that his best mate Blake (Peter Helliar, who wrote the screenplay) is unable to support him in this serious phase of his life, Blake being more suited to having fun together and fooling around. Jim gets drunk, breaks into a car and thus begins his friendship with Charlie (Peter Dinklage, of ‘Death at a Funeral’ fame), a ‘little person’ with a big heart. It is Charlie who understands Jim’s anguish and it is he who will empower Jim to try and win Alice back. Jim will also return the favour as he helps Charlie attain his dream.

This is a film about love and friendship and human relationships. It starts off in a trite way, a little slowly and may turn some people off initially, but it soon gathers speed and several threads of narrative begin to weave together in order to ravel a satisfying pattern. I believe Australian cinema has come a long way in the last few decades and this is proof enough of the professionalism and accomplishments of the local film industry. This film is not purely a chick flick of purple romance one-dimensionalism, it has a little more depth and satisfies both men and women, as each sex will find plenty to identify with.

We would recommend the film as a pleasant matinée diversion, being entertaining, poignant, funny, romantic and well-acted. Peter Dinklage steals many a scene, while Blake can be so gauche and pathetic that one has to laugh. Jim and Alice make an unlikely but pleasant couple, while Megan Gale looks very sultry and gorgeous, carrying her role as ‘Francesca’, the super Italian model with aplomb. A very good Aussie movie!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like the sort of movie I like. Thanks for the suggestion Nicholas.