It is the second instalment of a mental health related series by director Luke Eve, following the highly acclaimed and award-winning Low Life. HIGH LIFE is executive produced by Golden Globe nominee and positive mental health advocate Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadow, TV's Black Adder), written by Glen Dolman (Hawke, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab), and features an original soundtrack by Sarah Blasko.
HIGH LIFE tells the story of Genevieve, a sensible, creative and overachieving 17-year-old student who experiences an unexpected teenage crisis. Unbeknownst to her and her middle-class, quite dysfunctional family, Genevieve is about to discover that she's suffering her first manic episode of Bipolar disorder.
The story begins with the usual teenage issues of friends, sexuality, self-confidence, school, parents and so on - the typical teenage angst coming to the forefront of Genevieve's story. In many ways Genevieve is a very typical teenager, sometimes unsure of herself and her place in the world, but at other times acting very confidently and precociously. Sometimes she is very child-like and spontaneous, and at times, the confident, grown-up temptress.
Portrayed very ably by Odessa Young (an AACTA award winning actress),Genevieve is smart, talented, very attractive and at times brutally honest and without inhibitions. As we watch her over the few days of her story, we begin to realise that there may be more to her erratic behaviour than what is the norm for someone her age. We sense that something unexpected will happen to her and so it does. Her family, too busy with their own lives, seem to be quite oblivious to any issues that she may be struggling with and the displays of changeable behavior go largely unnoticed. Her one good friend Ben, is the one who seems to understand her and ultimately looks out for her.
At times comedic and very heartfelt look at Bipolar disorder, HIGH LIFE stars Odessa Young (The Daughter, Looking for Grace) and Benson Jack Anthony (TV's 800 Words, Cleverman), Luke Pegler (Hacksaw Ridge), Brendan Donoghue (Blackrock, The Square), Paul Gleeson (TV's Rake, Love Child) and Madeleine Madden (Around the Block, TV's The Code).
The story is very well acted and keeps the viewer engaged from beginning to end. It raises a number of important questions and issues about mental health, young people and the world around them. The environment of private schools, well-to do suburbs,art galleries and cosmetic surgeons brings to mind some of the problems of the world faced by teenagers, to some extent accentuated by Genevieve's recurring mind fantasies.
As mentioned, HIGH LIFE will air on 9GO! (free-to-air channel 93) as a one-hour television special on Thursday April 13th at 10.15pm and online via the Nine Network's On Demand streaming service, 9Now as 6x 10 minute episodes immediately after the TV debut.
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