Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Set over the course of a summer at a family's beachside retreat, Rain tells the story of Janey's transition from girl to woman as she struggles with her feelings towards her parents (dad, flabby and ineffectual, mother, flirtatious and boozy), her younger brother Jim and the rugged boat owner who her mother is indulging in a holiday romance with.

While nothing about this New Zealand-made debut feature from Christine Jeffs, adapted by the director from Kirsty Gunn's novel, is startlingly original, it is well acted - with a particularly impressive performance from Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki as Janey - and has clearly been made with care from all involved.

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Note, for instance, the way we cut from Kate's speech that loss of freedom inevitably accompanies adulthood to an exterior shot, she and her husband imprisoned within the window frames of the beach house. And, even if the subsequent slow-motion montage of a carefree Janey and Jim playing on the beach maybe over-emphasises the point, it's still quite lovely.

Or consider how Janey's comments that Jim is doing his "boy who cried wolf" routine eerily foreshadows the climax to the film, where the action plays out to the Lisa Germano track "cry wolf".

Though in some ways similar to Catherine Breillat's A Ma Soeur, Rain is the far superior film. Where Breillat wallows in controversy and shock value, Jeffs takes a subtler, lower-key approach that is ultimately far more effective.

It would be a pity if this reluctance to engage in attention grabbing tactics meant the Rain did not find a wide and appreciative audience.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2001
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Coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of a family holiday.
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Angus Wolfe Murray *1/2

Director: Christine Jeffs

Writer: Christine Jeffs, from the novel by Kirsty Gunn

Starring: Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki, Sarah Peirse, Marton Csokas, Alistair Browning, Aaron Murphy

Year: 2000

Runtime: 92 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: New Zealand


EIFF 2001

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