Starring: Rebecca Breeds, Robert Sheehan, John Waters, Michael Caton, Jacqueline McKenzie, Deb Mailman, Magda Szubanski (Rated M – 102 min).
Early reports and outrageous statements that Three Summers is the ‘new’ Castle is misleading. My thoughts on the so-called classic, 1997’s Australian vastly overrated comedy, The Castle, are no secret.
Filmed in Western Australia, this musical romance comedy centres around three consecutive years at a folk festival where assorted happy campers set up for an extended weekend of singing, dancing and maybe a little bit of drinking.
The cool, sarcastic dry wit of writer/director Ben Elton (Young Ones, Much Ado About Nothing) is on full show with his character of Roland (splendidly unique Irishman Robert Sheehan) a theremin player who loves spreading the word of his odd instrument and doesn’t mind verbally assaulting those who dismiss its relativity.
Adorable Rebecca Breeds is Keevy, a fiddle player that takes an instant shine to his objectionable mannerisms because she sees good in everybody. Trust me when I say Keevy would melt your heart with a simple smile.
Over three years, the film looks at variable people who themselves change over time when attending the festival. Indigenous rights and national acknowledgement issues are looked at through the minds of an Aboriginal elder and his mildly racist cohort war veteran played by Australian screen royalty Michael Caton (Last Cab to Darwin).
Full of amusing anecdotes by an array of generational talent, it always keeps a light heart – never a dull moment. And of course some above average music, especially if folk country combination is your thing (even if it’s not).
Romance of true love in the most unlikely of places is the biggest asset here. Sheehan and Breeds are perfectly cast, emote fresh chemistry and besides a few zingers from Magda Szubanski as an in-house radio host, it’s the two young leads that really drive a terrific Australian tale. No tour de force but better than The Castle.
Shane A. Bassett