Rain Review

A family holiday. Thirteen-year-old Janey (Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki) is staying with her parents and her younger brother Jim (Aaron Murphy) at their cottage on the New Zealand coast. By day, Janey and Jim swim and fish. In the evening are parties where their parents mix with other adults, and much drinking and flirting goes on. Meanwhile, Janey's mother (Sarah Peirse) is drinking too much while her father (Alistair Browning) stands ineffectually by. A summer of change, and a summer where Janey will grow up rather too quickly...

Rain is an interesting first feature from New Zealander director Christine Jeffs. At the centre of it is a remarkably assured performance from Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki as Janey, no longer a girl but not yet a woman, bored, not fully comprehending what's going on among the adults, and just becoming aware of her sexuality. This is a film very much in a minor key, character-led to the point of seeming uneventful on the surface, and very dependent on small nuances of observation, but without this strong central performance it would likely fall apart. A tragic event, on the other hand, seems a little too contrived to give the film an ending. Mood and atmosphere are superbly caught, though, and that's the film's great strength. Jeffs clearly has a good eye for the odd, telling detail, though the device of printing two or three key shots in black and white in this otherwise colour film doesn't really work. But she's certainly a name to look out for in the future: she's just made Sylvia, the Plath biopic starring Gwyneth Paltrow.



out of 10
Category Film Review

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