A Month of Sundays full movie review - Film Makers' Film That Dignifies Australia And Our Craft
Even favourable external reviews of this witty, wise and beautiful film have been almost dismissive and certainly offhand.
One shouldn't be surprised that the aggregated rating on Rotten Tomatoes is so preposterously low [29% at last glance- I will glance no more!]; it's a representation of the level of ignorance that's out there in official critland, especially North American critland, but as well in the UK. They have almost no clue what makes Aussies tick, and they won't get this film.
'Professional' reviewers lacking the ability to bring real wisdom to bear no matter how broad their knowledge of film, and still feel entitled to adopt such condescending tones as the following: "could find a few art house takers in Anglophone territories", "well-worn notions of redemption and acceptance". To take this tone, vaguely accusatory of unoriginality while finding it crucial to make sure the reader takes note that the reviewer has IDd at least two of the themes is a lot like that old joke in which a man wouldn't join any club that would accept him; 'I guessed what the film is about, therefore it's too easy and beneath me'.
Shakespeare dealt in 'well worn' themes. They're well worn because they are deeply required themes to be represented for humanity, and they should be eternally worked over.
One external newspaper reviewer, someone we need to know is super- clever, found fault with a long camera shot which, being a tribute to another director/film, was 'distracting'. Bring it on I say. The richer the film's material, the more there is to love. Life is also full of subplots and digressions. What's wrong with a little whimsy? It's thoroughly enjoyable. Another claims that the film's central friendship is too unconventional and that suspicions of serial killer madness might be fitting; that the film might better have been made as a thriller. What a poisonous notion, that friendships can only be allowed to exist founded on introductions by mutual friends with the right credentials.
I'd like to thank the film makers here for showing Australians what we really do still need to be reminded of, namely that the most desolate culturescape is enriched by the people who dwell therein. We have everything needed for nourishment of the soul to offer each other if we can transcend convention and ennui and only connect. There is nothing wrong with editorialising, nothing wrong with a little didacticism. Why conceal it? You don't have to agree. Just don't find fault with the fact some real values are being presented.
Australia has for years been afflicted with a housing 'bubble'. Whole generations of the population are being screwed. People can't afford to buy shelter these days, and television therefore proliferates with architecture/house/reno/interior design porn. In Month of Sundays we are shown that even profiteers in this giant racket are demoralised and damaged in such a climate of greed and exploitation.
As in another film I love, The Cave of the Yellow Dog, Month of Sundays has plenty of amusing little 'lessons'. As two people cathartically indulge grief-filled nostalgia on the site of a demolished former family home with their backs to the street, behind them processes a bunch of fairy-costumed little girls with party balloons in colours impactfully vivid. The lost past is desolation, but here behind you is the bright and alive present if only you could turn and look. A death is a cruelly unexpected breakup, but if and when you can find the courage to let go, the many colours of life await. The welcome mat is reversed: welcome to the world. Everybody is vulnerable without a single toothmark on the scenery, ever. The acting in this film is really seriously fine and so are the editing decisions.
I love a contemplative film that respects actors and the subject enough to let duration pass. This sort of style is powerfully immersive, especially for anyone who may recognise the many cultural references that bring us straight to our memories of very particularly Aussie times and places without recourse to cliché or stereotype. Not enough can be said in praise of this film. External critics, drop your complacent posturing and lift your games!