Soft Fruit

Alternately vulgar and tender, this Australian tear-jerker finds more humor than you'd imagine possible in the story of a dying woman getting to know her adult children. Terminally ill Patsy (Jeanie Drynan) wants nothing more than to spend her last few weeks at home, surrounded by her children — even if they do nothing but squabble. Husband Vic (Linal...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Alternately vulgar and tender, this Australian tear-jerker finds more humor than you'd imagine possible in the story of a dying woman getting to know her adult children. Terminally ill Patsy (Jeanie Drynan) wants nothing more than to spend her last few

weeks at home, surrounded by her children &#151 even if they do nothing but squabble. Husband Vic (Linal Haft), a bit of a bully and set in his ways, isn't wild for the idea but accedes grudgingly. One by one, the children arrive: Youngest daughter Vera (Alicia Talbot), a perpetually single nurse, envies her sisters' marriages and children. Eldest Josie (Genevieve Lemon) lives in America and never misses an opportunity to point out Australia's backwardness; divorced Nadia (Sacha Horler), who's still fooling around with her ex on the side, takes after her father and, of course, can hardly speak to him without starting a fight. Meanwhile, Vic and black sheep Bo (Russell Dykstra), a longtime drug addict who's fresh out of jail, have such a strained relationship that Vic orders him to sleep in the garden shed rather than the house. The daughters (who are all rather large) go on a fiercely competitive diet together; Bo tries to avoid his old friends, the town bikers and bad boys; Patsy referees and slowly begins to see her children as adults who've forged their own lives independent of hers. They, in turn, begin to see past their childhood memories and realize that Patsy is a more complicated person that they ever imagined. You have to credit a movie that isn't afraid to laugh at the results when Patsy — goaded, of course, by Bo — shares her bottle of morphine with Bo and Nadia; the scene is poignant without being falsely sentimental, and coarsely raucous without being utterly cheap and tasteless.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Alternately vulgar and tender, this Australian tear-jerker finds more humor than you'd imagine possible in the story of a dying woman getting to know her adult children. Terminally ill Patsy (Jeanie Drynan) wants nothing more than to spend her last few we… (more)

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