Based on the long running musical the movie Bran Nue Dae was the perfect thing at the end of a long day of movies. As much as I love seeing the types of films you have access to at TIFF, it can’t be incest and abuse of power all day – occasionally you need a bit of singing and dancing to keep the feeling of one never-ending bad touch away.
The younger actors were very naturalistic, and when you think of the over-the-top camp in a High School Musical compared to these performances it makes it all the more charming. Jessica Mauboy’s voice is truly lovely as the young singer/temptress Rosie, and the first time she opens her mouth to sing in church you can understand why any young man who spent a bit of time with her would rethink entering the priesthood. Rocky McKenzie as Willy is charmingly bumbling in his attempts to get the girl, and his acting during the musical portions actually makes you feel like the character is talking with the music – and not just bursting into a song-and-dance number. When he tells (sings) us that there is nothing that he’d rather be than an Aborigine you believe that the character is having an epiphany about his – or rather his mother’s – life and career choices, and that moment will start him on the path to finding himself.
If you hate musicals, well you’d still probably go mad watching this, but overall a delightful way to spend an hour and a half.
PN grade – B+