Christine Jeffs's hauntingly sad RAIN tells the coming-of-age story of a
14-year-old girl named Janey. Janey, who is played with touching innocence
by Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki, is conflicted and confused, pulled between
childhood and womanhood. She loves frolicking in the ocean with her much
younger brother, Jim (Aaron Murphy), but she also feels compelled to mimic
her mom's behaviors, which are mainly bad. Will these opposing forces in
her life get her into trouble? Of course, but not necessarily in way that
you might expect.
In addition to its honest -- but never graphic or overly explicit --
depiction of the problems of raging hormones, the movie does a masterful job
of showing us alcoholism as grungy and despicable. Too often films subtly
glamorize drunks even while supposedly preaching against them. Janey's
parents, Kate (Sarah Peirse, HEAVENLY CREATURES) and Ed (Alistair Browning,
THE LORD OF THE RINGS), are competing alcoholics with Kate clearly in the
lead. Drinking from dawn to dusk, Kate sets one bad example after another
for her impressionable daughter.
Recently Kate began flirting with an itinerate photographer, Cady (Marton
Csokas, THE LORD OF THE RINGS), when they both got soused at one of the many
drunken parties that Kate and Ed throw at their small house. Extramarital
affairs are made particularly loathsome in the film. After kissing Cady in
the bathroom, Kate ends up barfing her guts out. (If you look closely,
you'll see that the film is filled with small messages. Observe, for
example, the priorities of Janey's parents. They have unlimited funds for
booze, but Janey is forced to share her small bedroom with her brother --
something not particularly appropriate given her age.)
"You get everything so wrong!" Janey yells at her mother. Truer words were
never spoken, and yet Janey finds herself constantly compelled to imitate
her mother, whom she despises. Janey keeps trying to drink, smoke, etc.
The "etc." turns out to be the most troublesome.
RAIN is a gripping movie, played with performances that are all understated
and touching. It's a sad tale but a moving one.
RAIN runs 1:32. It is not rated but would be R for brief nudity, sexuality
and underage drinking and smoking. It would be acceptable for teenagers.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes