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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
We are accustomed to thinking about old(er) age as being about decline or adjusting to shrinking horizons, but could it not equally be seen as a period of renewal and adventure? That is perhaps the main problem for the central character of this new Australian film from first time director Sasha Hadden.
The protagonist Liebe (Maggie Blinco) is a stylish woman in her eighties. She has been married for decades to Duncan (Glenn Shorrock) and she feels she has had her wings clipped. Like many such men, he is baffled when Liebe says she is going to leave.
She wants to pursue her dream of making dresses. At the local flea market, she meets a kind Chinese Australian stallholder called Hamish (Hoa Xuande) and the two of them cook up a plan to sell designer clothes.
Hadden has clearly put his all into this project and, even if the film lacks polish, there is heart here that many viewers will respond to. Blinco carries the film with a watchable performance. We really want Liebe to succeed and when she shows how grateful she is for just a few acts of random kindness, it reminds us of how little of this she must have got in her long years of putting herself second. The scenes where Liebe delivers home truths to both Duncan and his long term friend Justin (John Gregg) have an uncomfortable veracity about them.
The problem of course, as is often the case, is that downbeat angry scenes have to be balanced by an equally believable renaissance, and here the film is not always as successful. The acting from the bit part players is adequate rather than gripping, and some scenes seem perfunctory. There are nice elements though, and a good use of Sydney locations.