What happens when the grand passion of your life, the one that broke your heart, suddenly returns and wants you back? This is the premise and the situation for the charming new Australian film The Flip Side. It is a modern Australian romantic comedy set in Adelaide that has been co-produced, co-written, and directed by Marion Pilowsky, in her feature film debut.
Ronnie (Emily Taheny) is a chef who once had a passionate affair with Henry (Eddie Izzard), a visiting celebrity actor from the UK. With promises of a happy future together in London, Ronnie was all ready to follow Henry. However, with a series of unanswered phone calls and broken promises she was left devastated and heartbroken. Years later, Ronnie is in a new relationship with Jeff (Luke McKenzie), a part-time science teacher and aspiring existentialist author. Whilst Ronnie’s relationship may seem secure there are other problems, such as massive debts, a failed restaurant, and a mother who has dementia and has to be moved to another aged care home. Into her life returns Henry, accompanied by his beautiful French girlfriend, Sophie (Vanessa Guide), and so the fun begins.
Romantic comedy is one of the most challenging of film genres as it demands a light touch and genuine characters that an audience can relate too and care about. Marion Pilowsky and her team have pulled this off as The Flip Side is an unpretentious, charming and disarming little gem. The ensemble cast are truly excellent, which includes a number of local Adelaide actors who excel in their cameo roles. Adelaide’s Heemson Casting should be congratulated for securing these roles for Adelaide actors.
Emily Taheny, Eddie Izzard and Vanessa Guide are all terrific. The stand-out performance for me, however, was Luke McKenzie. Finally, with McKenzie’s Jeff, we have the portrayal of a typical Australian male who is kind, generous, and loving, as well as funny, and not the misogynistic rotter, drug addict or criminal that is generally the case in Australian film and theatre. It is a refreshing change, and full credit must go to Marion Pilowsky and her co-writer Lee Sellars, as well as Luke McKenzie for providing us with such a well-drawn and well-realised Australian male character.
This wonderful Australian film is there simply to be enjoyed, with a final message, as is found in The Wizard of Oz, that ‘there’s no place like home’, like Adelaide.
Reviewed by Tony Knight.
The Flipside opens around Australia tomorrow, 29th August.
Check out the official website here.