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A Reel Life film section
Praise movie review


And another film based on a 'true' story, this time an autobiographical story. It has quite a realistic portrayal of a particular part of Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) life, but sadly it is a group of people who wallow in beer, cigarettes and low expectations.
I know that there were those who liked/admired the original story, and when asked, one such person said that the film was a reasonable representation.
The male protagonist is a lazy, cowardly, sexually inept individual who quits his job when asked to work four days in a row. One might admire a man who admits in prose to having self-destructive tendencies and a tiny dick, but really, who the hell cares?

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The female is your typical moll (mole?), overweight, over-madeup, underdressed, underloved and oversexed, with (presumably) dyed hair and shocking eczema aggravated by her own alcohol abuse. She is believably portrayed by a capable and brave actress. Seen through his eyes, she is annoying and rapacious, and we can only hope that the original found self-respect and better companions later in life.

Ultimately a film comes down to how the audience values their lifetimes. What is a worthy way to spend time? To spend a couple of hours with a group of people one would avoid in real life seems a bit valueless. If they don't do anything interesting, or think anything unusual, or act in a compelling way, then this is just a few minutes of a group of very dull lives, trapped in the amber of film for future generations to observe and be grateful that they didn't need to be there.

by Ali Kayn

Praise is an excellent movie, make no mistake. However, those used to the banality of Hollywood romance and relationship dramas will be quite repelled (they would be better advised to see something mindless with Kevin Costner or Meg Ryan). Like more recent darker Oz movies, like the sublime The Boys, this is an examination of the not so pretty underbelly of Australian life. This is a story about the doomed love of Gordon & Cynthia. However, we are treated to a level of insight and honesty, with flashes of droll humour, rarely seen in "romance" movies. There are no heroes here. Sacha Horler's performance as Cynthia makes the movie. This is not a pleasant experience but ultimately a rewarding one. You get to get inside and feel their awkwardness, sadness and self absorption. Make the effort to go beyond the unattractive outward appearance of these characters and their lives. Think about this and get to the larger issues the story raises. If you do so it will leave you with something to think about for days after, if not longer.

Bill Loveday, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland E-mail: bloved@psy.uq.edu.au

Click here to buy films from one of the online stores in Festivale's on-line shopping mall Due for review April 19, 1999

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Just the Facts:

Title: Praise (1999)
Written by:
Directed by: Peter Curran
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Edited by:
Director of Photography:

running time:
rating: R18+

The Players: Peter Fenton, Sacha Horler
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Festivale Online Magazine
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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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: Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia : copyright © Festivale 1999 All rights reserved
Filed: 28-Mar-1999 : Last updated: 23-Apr-1999 : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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