On the surface Frank (Bryan Brown) and Charlotte (Greta Scacchi) lead a sparkling and charmed life. They invite Leo (Sam Neill) and Bridget (Jacqueline McKenzie) along with Billy (Richard E. Grant) and Eva (Heather Mitchell) to help celebrate, along with various children and an adorable dog.
Very soon we see that all the people who identify around the sixty plus mark are dealing with some trauma in their lives. There are relationship problems, difficulties with children and physical and mental health struggles. The spectre of ageing hangs over this group as women collapse during yoga sessions and the men’s old rock groups moment of glory (one hit song) is well and truly over!
Bryan Brown introduced the film to the preview audience and related it was based on his experience of a similar gathering one Christmas, and how so many of his family and friends his age were struggling with health and life issues; he wanted to get these stories told. This is a labour of love as his wife Rachel Ward scripted and directs the film, while his daughter Matilda also stars as his on-screen daughter.
The audience is immediately drawn in by the lush beach location and easy banter on screen. The film works for its intended target audience of baby boomers, but it is hard to see the film appealing to a younger demographic, despite the inclusion of the experiences of the children.
On a side note Bryan Brown gave a short quiz during the preview on his films. Disturbingly the young folk I talked to were unaware of most of his films including the film classic Breaker Morant. Perhaps it is time this film was re-released to claim a new audience.
Palm Beach has a resolutely breezy feel with a soundtrack full of classics like Wild Thing (The Troggs) and Catch the Wind (Donovan). The beach location makes a big impression and the folks at Palm Beach make it worth a visit.
Palm Beach screens nationally across Australia from 8 August 2019. Checkout the trailer here!
Image: Palm Beach – courtesy of Screen Australia
Review: Jenny Esots – courtesy of All About Entertainment