Starring: Rebecca Breeds, Robert Sheehan, Michael Caton, Kelton Pell
He’s an Australian citizen, has sold millions of books worldwide but didn’t make a list of top West Australian writers because he’s “a Pom” and yet Ben Elton seems to have written and directed a little slice of Australian life and culture.
Set over three years at a fictional annual folk festival in Western Australia, Three Summers is the story of festival-goers and performers meeting each year, growing and changing -and for two of them, falling in love.
One of the characters describes the festival as “Australia in a tent” and while it’s not quite that, Elton does give you an insight into the Australian character and the issues facing us today.
Its leanings are slightly political, there are messages but above and beyond that it is a feelgood movie that is, pretty darn funny.
Rebecca Breeds is a bit of a revelation as Keevey – daughter of two Irish immigrants (her dad is played by John Waters who speaks in his normal English accent, but he sings in an Irish one – the one bum note in this for me).
Keevey is the lead singer and fiddle player in her father’s Irish folk band who meets folk music-hating charismatic Irish dog-washer and theremin player (Robert Sheehan) at the festival and there are literal sparks!
It is a brilliantly awkward slow-burn romance that is more burn than romance and the centrepiece of a funny, warm little movie. Throw in a former child war refugee turned Morris Dancer played by Michael Caton, a feisty Aboriginal elder (Kelton Pell) and the amazingly wonderful Magda Szubanski as Queenie the community radio superstar and voice of the festival, and you have a lot of fun and quintessential Australian voices.
There are traces of Elton’s political satire roots but instead of hitting you over the head with it, this is more gentle though it still has a nice realism about it and keeps the laughs coming.
– Tania Phillips