Friday, July 26, 2019

Palm Beach

This lovely new Australian movie is a story of friendship and family amidst the realities of getting older set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Palm Beach in NSW.

It is set over one weekend with three couples and their kids, all friends since the men were in a band together 40 years before. Frank and Lotti have invited Billy & Eva and Leo & Bridget to celebrate Frank’s big birthday at their picturesque home. It's a fabulous cast including Bryan Brown, Greta Scacchi, Richard E. Grant, Sam Neill and Jacqueline McKenzie.

The first half of the movie sets the scene, with the various relationships between the couples and their children, showing where tensions have grown over the years, and the history they all share. There are numerous references to the realities of aging; Lotti and Leo compare notes that cancer scares for both have brought ‘uninvited clarity’ to their lives. But there are secrets in the past, and this weekend is threatening to unravel them.

It is a beautiful setting, showing off the NSW coastline in all its light filled, eucalyptus back-dropped glory. [Husband & I joked afterwards it was just like seeing Crazy Rich Asians, except it was one big add for the NSW coast rather than Singapore].

We were lucky enough to see an advance screening and Bryan Brown introduced the movie. He made the point that they chose Palm Beach, not only for its beauty, but also to highlight that no matter how successful people are or seem, everyone has issues and problems they have to deal with. And that came through in the movie, there was great food, an abundance of wine, and stunning views, yet the problems of the people in it were the same as any – relationships, financial, growing older, and wondering whether you made the right choices along the way.

It really is a feel-good movie. There were significant points of tensions and drama, but the denouement was satisfying even if a little neat. For those that like to know: there are a fair number of f words dropped along the way and a couple of light sex scenes.

As we left, we found we liked what it said: what matters is what you have now in front of you and how you live with that, rather than what you once had or what you might have had. It’s a matter of being thankful for the present, while acknowledging the past.

We were guests of Universal Pictures Australia.

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