Beauty is found in the most heartbreaking experiences
A film by Rhys Graham Starring Ashleigh Cummings, Lily Sullivan, Toby Wallace, Aliki Matangi and Maya Stange
Everyone remembers his or her tumultuous teenage years. It's when you wore your heart on your sleeve, and you felt that the transition from child to adulthood was made all the more difficult because everyone in your social circle was feeling the same confusion. It's in this environment that Galore, a new Australian film by Rhys Graham, presents its four main characters.
Set in the quiet suburbs on Canberra's outskirts, Galore is the story of protagonist Billie (Ashleigh Cummings), her best friend Laura (Lily Sullivan), Laura's boyfriend Danny (Toby Wallace) and newcomer to their town, Isaac (Aliki Matangi). While Billie, just like any 17-year-old girl, considers her friendship with Laura as one of the most important in her life, she is sleeping with Danny, and the guilt is wrecking her. The arrival of Isaac into their close-knit friendship offers them all a fresh set of eyes to look at their world, but events have already been set in motion that will bring this little family to a devastating end
If only all films depicting the lives of young adults were this thoughtful and haunting. Galore works because it never patronizes its characters it may remind some of John Stockwell's films with young adults as main characters (Blue Crush, Crazy/Beautiful). Graham's screenplay portrays all the angst and emotion of youth, as well as the exuberance and fearlessness that comes with a life lived without experience.
Galore - a film by Rhys Graham
Ashleigh Cummings as Billie is captivating, she's not naοve but at the same time there are things she needs to learn about the world. Her mother (played by Maya Stange where has she been all these years?) tells her, "We're more than just the love we give to people" it's like telling her daughter to look after her own heart, something many young people forget to do because their emotions for everything are so strong. Cummings shows us young love, betrayal and loss so vividly that we're pretty much on her side through the whole journey, regardless of her decisions.
Lily Sullivan as Laura is just as delightful, reminding us all of that time in our lives when your best friend could do no wrong in your eyes, even when you know deep down that something isn't quite right. As a duo, Cummings and Sullivan are perfect as best friends, and you can really feel the devotion they have for each other.
Toby Wallace as Danny, the boy caught in the middle, and Aliki Matangi as outsider Isaac, work just as well with their female counterparts. Rather than being merely bit players in their story, together they play a huge part in their journey from innocent girls to young women.
The setting summer in Canberra's suburbs, with the threat of bushfires looming - adds to the tension and isolation the characters face throughout the film. Their emotions are just like the fires the news bulletins keep reminding them of warm and comforting when it needs to be, but too much fire will cause destruction.
Galore is a wonderful film and it's the kind of film you'll want to watch again and again, to remind you of the innocence of youth and how, sometimes, that innocence can burn you, too.