Australian director Gillian Armstrong (MY BRILLIANT CAREER) offers up an exquisite entertainment about a family upset by the return of a prodigal sister.
A novelist, Beth (Lisa Harrow) is accused by her effete French husband JP (Bruno Ganz) of viewing the world through rose-colored glasses in her work, evidenced in an over-tidiness in her novel's resolutions. Recovering from a failed relationship that has left her pregnant and alone, Beth's
younger sister Vicki (Kerry Fox) at first irritates JP with her slovenliness and refusal to perform household duties. Shortly after helping her younger sister obtain an abortion that further upsets her emotional equilibrium, Beth takes her crusty, disagreeable father (Bill Hunter) on an extended
motoring vacation through the outback. JP's efforts to comfort Vicki lead to an affair that escalates into a serious relationship, and threatens the delicate emotional connections betwene all the family members.
It's not surprising that Hollywood never quite figured out what to do with Gillian Armstrong: in CHEZ NOUS the accents are thick, crucial dialog is sometimes tossed away and there's no conventional "spine" to the story. There is a sense throughout CHEZ NOUS of the family as a state of contained
anarchy that could also describe the film itself. Yet something is always happening, from the foreground to the edges of the screen, to the extent that you can literally blink and miss something important. The result feels oddly and warmly familiar throughout, and if it's sometimes baffling and
annoying, it deserves to be cherished over the course of repeated viewings.
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: Australian director Gillian Armstrong (MY BRILLIANT CAREER) offers up an exquisite entertainment about a family upset by the return of a prodigal sister. A novelist, Beth (Lisa Harrow) is accused by her effete French husband JP (Bruno Ganz) of viewing th… (more)