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Rain

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Rain

Starring: Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki, Aaron Murphy
Director: Christine Jeffs
Rated: NR
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: April 2002
Genre: Drama


*Also starring: Marton Csokas, Sarah Peirse, Alistair Browning



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1.  Harvey Karten review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
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Review by Harvey Karten
3 stars out of 4

When you "came of age" (meaning the time you realized that you were a human being not tied to you mom's umbilical), who were your role models? If you're a contemporary American, your model may not have be Michael Jackson or or George W. Bush, because Americans do not have heroes. Chances are you more or less followed in the footsteps of your more mature friends or older brother. If you were about thirteen in New Zealand in 1972 as is the principal character in Christine Jeffs' film "Rain" (based on Kirsty Gunn's novel of the same name), you watched your own parents. In Jeffs' atmospheric and moody movie set around an isolated seaside holiday area facing a muddy beach bordering crystal-green waters, thirteen-year-old Janey (Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki) settles in with her parents, whose marriage is disintegrating slowly but inevitably, while neither Janey nor her precocious ten-year-old brother Jim (Aaron Murphy) can do a thing about it.

What makes "Rain" different from most other coming-of-age dramas is that two people of different generations are crossing boundaries. The forty-something Kate (Sarah Peirse) has done some traveling in her day including a trip to Japan where ("we had a marvelous time") and is not content with the domesticity incumbent on a middle-aged married woman with kids. Not for her the endless round of making coffee and tea and cleaning up after her brood. When she spots a handsome and well-built photographer, Cady (Marton Csokas who resembles Russell Crowe), she sees a chance to transcend her staid ways and test new boundaries. In the same manner her daughter, while frustrated with her passive father, Ed (Alistair Browning), closely watches the way her mom plays up to the hirsute and somewhat eccentric Nikon-bearer who like others of his good looks and charm need hardly lift a muscular arm to seduce a gal.

The story gets its title not from any actual precipitation, but from the cloudy days serve as metaphor for the brewing storm about to break on one dramatic day one which would (as the cliche goes) change the individuals' lives forever. As the distraught Ed, noting the uselessness of his building a vacation retreat to bind the family more closely, burns within at his impotence, Janey begins to wonder about this thing called sex which is touted as so wonderful and yet seems to be able to break a family apart. She ignores the one fellow her own age who makes a couple of passes (kissing him to scare him away), and makes a beehive for the comely cameraman to explore her power as a female.

As the film's cinematogapher John Toon pans the area, exploiting the threatening skies to evoke the mood of the perpetually bored and drinking vacationers, we're tempted to forego that trip to the southern reaches of the Pacific in favor of more lively adventures in Spain or Japan. At the same time, we are treated to a well-acted, restrained and intelligent piece that should make the discriminating audience think back to their own joys and anguish that always accompany that time of life in which we carve new identities.

Copyright 2002 Harvey Karten

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