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Elise McCredie's debut feature STRANGE FITS OF PASSION is a frank and humorous look at a Melbourne girl’s search to lose her virginity. It's about time someone tackled this terrain from a girl’s point of view. The rite of passage story has been largely male dominated in Australian film. You only have to look at John Duigan's films to see sexual frustration played out perfectly by Noah Taylor. But in this film we finally get to empathise with the complex world of female libido.
SHE (Michela Noonan) is a shy obsessive young woman who works in a bookshop and lives in a shared household. In SHE's world everyone appears to be doing IT but her. After an encounter with a Bukowski wannabe (Jack Finsterer) SHE is convinced she must lose her cursed flower to experience desire and find love. This turns out to be a difficult task and in her attempts she meets some pretty dysfunctional guys and one lonely woman.
Fortunately SHE has a shoulder to cry on JIMMY (Mitchell Butel). Her gay flatmate and it is their relationship that holds the film together and reveals the confusion that occurs in an intimate friendship.
It is also where McCredie chooses to shift her story from a 90's Alice in Wonderland adventure to a more serious portrait of love and loss. SHE is not the only character who is struggling with her complicated desires and although the initial outcome does come as a shock the film does end on a positive note.
Michela Noonan captures the introspective and passionate nature of SHE well. It was refreshing to see a modern day heroine on a journey that you could relate too. Mitchell Butel is also good as JIMMY especially in his more intimate scenes with Noonan. The support cast provides the film with its most humorous moments in particular Steve Adams as a sleazy Spanish tutor and Samuel Johnson as a delusioned poet. This is an honest film about the perils of idealised love. It has many humorous and painful moments and a great performance from Michela Noonan. It is a promising debut feature for Elise McCredie and was selected to go to Cannes last year.