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:: Hating Alison Ashley

For twenty years, Australian school children have grown up hating Alison Ashley, thanks to Robyn Klein’s fabulous novel. Variants on her story could be read in teenage diaries around the world and her characters found in every classroom. The movie adaptation of Hating Alison Ashley will be an instant hit with teenage girls and could be a great export for Australia in the future.

Despite Delta Goodrem getting most of the press, Saskia Burmeister is the star of this film. She plays Erica Yurken, an insecure 14-year-old who’s embarrassed by her family and feels under-appreciated by everyone. She goes to Barringa East High School in a working class area and dreams of one-day being a glamorous movie star. Then Alison Ashley turns up and ruins everything.

Alison is the new girl at Erica’s school who’s prettier, richer and better at everything than she is. Erica feels intimidated by her apparently perfect life and imagines they must be bitter rivals. However, on school camp she discovers that Alison’s so perfect after all.

Goodrem’s angelic good looks are perfect for the roll of Alison and for her first feature film she gives an adequate performance. Unfortunately her supporting role doesn’t have enough depth to really test her ability as an actor. Burmeister (Ned Kelly, Wicked Science), on the other hand, is outstanding, communicating a moody hypochondriac in a way that is easy to identify with and immensely likeable. Jean Kittson and Craig McLachlan are also great comic relief, respectively playing saucy Miss Belmont, and Mr Kennard, who puts the ‘fizz’ in Phys Ed.

Despite some changes, Hating Alison Ashley is as fun and colourful as the book. It should have huge appeal for teenagers over these school holidays and for adults, it’s a bit like having a laugh over your old school photos.