There were a few reasons I wanted to head to the Filmhouse last week to see All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane, the launch film for their 2008 London Australian Film Festival.
The so-called “quarterlife crisis” discussed in the picture is something that hit me around the age of 23 when I looked at my rented (and shared) flat and very basic income and decided that Australia was the place to be. I didn’t know anyone that had done the trip, but it looked good on the telly and I had nothing to lose. All My Friends… flips this situation on its head and looks at it from the Aussie point of view.
Anthea (Charlotte Gregg) is 25, single, hates her job and lives in Brisbane. With most of her friends leaving to go abroad, she wonders if the grass is indeed greener in London and confides in best friend Michael (Matt Zeremes). It soon turns out that Michael has stronger feelings for Anthea than he’s letting on and must decide whether to risk losing their friendship by admitting his emotions.
A strong script and emotive performances from the leads allow the quirky comedy to work alongside the more serious moments. Dream sequences pepper the film, perhaps a result of the writer’s worry that the film could be seen as too small for a wider audience to stick with. While not seriously detracting from the overall film, they could be excised with little detriment to the final picture.
This is a fine start to the season and deserves a wider audience, both home and away from Oz.
Review by Jonathan Melville