banner image

:: Summer Coda

Set in the stunning, orange tree grove backdrop of Mildura, Summer Coda delves into the difficult subject of loss and of two people’s way of coping. Heidi (Rachael Taylor), fresh off the plane from Nevada, USA, is hitchhiking her way from Melbourne to Mildura for her father’s funeral - a man she hasn't seen in a very long time. Along the way, she meets Michael (Alex Dimitriades) and the pair slowly become acquainted through circumstance. Eventually, it all culminates in a the pair getting together while she works and lives on Michael’s orange farm as both search through their feelings and coming to terms with their own loss.

Unfortunately, this slow burning Australian film never really goes anywhere to be honest. Sure, the topic is interesting and it draws the main characters together but it’s so slow and long, that you just don’t care. You never ever feel a connection or compassion for either of the main characters. Richard Gray, as writer and director of the film, which is always a dangerous combination at the best of times, never really knows when to call cut. Instead, he lets the scene carry on and unfold to work itself out. The characters of Heidi and Michael and their romantic appeal in each other don’t seem believable or overly sensual. At times the story seems fanciful as it drags itself from one scene to another. I was bored throughout the entire film, and even with such a decent supporting cast in Susie Porter, Nathan Phillips and Jacki Weaver, I just didn’t care enough about any of them whatsoever.

Perhaps the one saving grace of this film is the soundtrack. It represented a great cross section of music and artists and even included my favourite Australian song of all time. But at times it seems the music was the main focus. A little more time spent tightening up the film, the scenes and the script and less on the soundtrack and Summer Coda could have been something.

As it stands, this film is why Australian cinema gets such an average wrap. Which is a pity, because being Australian, you can instantly relate or recognise landmarks. We have produced such great films in the past like Noise, Chopper and Lantana but SummerCoda is not one of them.