AFI Award Winner (Best Director, Japanese Story) Sue Brooks will always be the name behind 1997’s Road to Nhill to me, and her latest film resurrects those same memories in what must be her finest feature to date.
Once again moving at a luxurious pace, this visual and emotional treat is an examination of human relationships, told from multiple viewpoints that converge at a significant point in the story that will soon change the lives of all the characters.
It begins with runaway teen, Grace, who has stolen a significant amount of money from her parents. Played with depth by relative newcomer Odessa Young, Grace is an unlikeble girl unable to see the error of her ways even as she deserts her fellow runaway for a guy, only to find herself in further trouble.
The action then moves from Grace’s story to those of her parents and other significant characters, and we discover the paths that lead each to the turning point. Radha Mitchell as Grace’s mother, Denise, and Richard Roxburgh as her father, Dan, bring warmth and a surprising amount of comedy to their roles, as does Terry Norris as the retired detective they hire to help find their missing daughter. Roxburgh, in particular, is outstanding in the way he conveys the subtle gamut of emotions he is experiencing.
Brooks wrote and directed Looking for Grace, using long deserted landscape shots and naturalistic dialogue to create an intimate but stylish tale of love, grief and a sense of place. It’s an examination of how we relate, how we cope, and how we discover what’s been missing from our lives.
Looking for Grace is a beautiful and heartfelt film that is sure linger long after the credits roll.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 9