Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Sophie (Susan Sarandon) isn’t mad; she’s paranoid. Her sleep patterns are all over the place and when she does drop off, she has hideous nightmares. When Craig, her boringly successful architect husband, offers sympathy and advice, she smiles absently and turns away in a flap. She’s locked in a box and can’t find the key. It’s called a mid-life crisis, which covers multiple assortments of derangement.

Part of the problem is Mara (Emily Blunt), Craig’s new secretary, who fits the classic mould of a twentysomething sexual predator. Sophie starts stalking her and breaking into her house. By this stage, she knows she’s crossed the line, but doesn’t care, because paranoia has progressed into a fully fledged obsession.

Copy picture

Sophie has daughters and a job as a children’s book writer/illustrator, which involves normal things like tearful demands and publisher’s deadlines. These are more or less ignored, while Sophie becomes convinced that personal objects, such as photographs of the family, are disappearing. Who else but Mara has designs on her husband and would benefit from a jealous wife’s nervous breakdown? Is she the thief? If so, why?

Irresistible makes you think of Fatal Attraction, although the only similarity is Susan Sarandon’s performance as Sophie, which dominates. This is the best thing she has done for ages and yet the film lets her down. The surprise ending only adds to the confusion and doesn’t explain Mara’s motivation. Craig remains a cipher, played with perfect discretion by Sam Neill, as seductive as a polished chest-of-drawers.

Writer/director Ann Turner allows Sarandon to highjack the script. Although filmed in Melbourne and Victoria, this could have been America. There is nothing especially Australian about it. By staying close to Sophie and watching the details of her mental journey from mild eccentricity to irrational single mindedness, there is no time to build back stories for Mara and Craig, or find out what they ate for breakfast.

As a one woman show, this is a triumph for Sarandon. As a psychological thriller, it hits the buffers at walking pace.

Reviewed on: 26 Mar 2007
Share this with others on...
Irresistible packshot
A children's book illustrator becomes obsessed with her husband's new secretary.

Director: Ann Turner

Writer: Ann Turner

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Emily Blunt, Bud Tingwell, William McInnes, Georgie Parker, Terry Norris, Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik, Lauren Mikkor, Heather Mitchell, Jill Forster

Year: 2006

Runtime: 103 minutes

Country: Australia


Australia 2007

Search database: