Projections - Movie Reviews



Sparse in dialogue while visually atmospheric, Rain never falls in Christine Jeffs' first feature which unconsciously senses the change in a family dynamic with the subtle movement of a storm front.

This understated, richly photographed coming-of-age tale is like a dream where something can be quietly forceful from the attachments and the detachment which develop.  They can spark devastation and catharsis as Jeffs allows her measured drama to take on an earthly, brooding tone.

The narrator and eyes of Rain reflects the symbolism depicted in a revealing black and white image where guilt and maturation come to the surface by way of Jane (Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki) whose just entering her teens.

Though she is exploring her sexuality, Jane's Lolita isn't into suitors her age as she summers with her family in a seaside cottage.

She is more distressed with her drinking mother, Kate (Sarah Peirse) than her father, Ed, acted with feelings of despondency by Alistair Browning.  He spends more time with her and her adorable red-headed little brother Jim (Aaron Murphy).  What Jeffs handles in a frugal, clever manner is how the attitudes and feelings of a mother and daughter regarding sexuality effect their relationship.

Amid the drinking and sunbathing, the parents hold nightly parties which gives Jane the impetus to act like an adult and see how they've grown apart.  She often disappears with Jim to take long walks on the beach.

The arrival of a friendly photographer named Cady (Martin Csokas) who lives on a boat allows Kate to deal with her insecurities as an unhappy woman content with smoking, drinking, and reading in the sun.  Janey gets into an uneasy situation with Cady as she observes her mother involved in a affair with him, most notably at one of the risqué parties when she opens a bathroom door.

Jeffs keeps Rain flowing steadily with the transience of relationships from the perspective and finally unavoidable actions of a precocious, rebelling young adolescent.  All the foreboding elements within the serene beach setting turn startling though not unexpected.

In this series of moments expressed like a subtle undercurrent based on the reflective novel by Kristy Gunn, Rain speaks timelessly to youth through its evocative production abetted tenderly by Neil Finn's music and seascape warmly represented by lenser John Toon.

While the importance of water is never diminished in this tender, undramatic obsession with youth, the actors respond to Jeffs' open, naturalistic vision.  Its captivating how loss and reawakening can slowly creep up on a mother and daughter acting in varying degrees of desperation.


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