Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Home Song Stories

So you think you had a mad, selfish mother, who ruined your life or personality? Meet Rose a glamorous Chinese nightclub singer who is perpetually in need of a man, as seen through the eyes of her little boy. Actually Tom, as an adult, claims that he and his sister turned out quite normal; but it is obvious his mother has left a big chip on his shoulder. At the risk of mixing my metaphors, this film is his chance to scratch it. Despite the standard disclaimer that the film is not based on actual events and people, it is the writer / director's childhood told from his point of view.

The film is the story of Rose who migrates from Hong Kong to Melbourne in 1964 with her two kids, in order to marry Bill. Bill is in the navy and leaves his new wife with his mother and not enough money for Rose's liking. The cultural clash between mother and wife is too great and together with the lack of money and a man means the marriage lasts a week. I suspect that being a solo mum in 60s Australia was hard enough without being Chinese, and emotionally, sexually and financially in need of a man (almost pathologically so) as Rose was. Rose seems doomed to short term relationships with men and the family moves from one man to the next until little Tom becomes attune to the events that signal the start and end of each relationship. Things come to a head when Tom's sister May reaches 17 and jealousy is added to the emotional mix and Rose's mood swings lead to suicide attempts.

The acting of Joan Chen who plays Rose and Joel Lok who plays 10 year old Tom are particularly good and the depiction of 60s Australia is great (you got to love those stubbies). Despite what I have said about it this film has its funny moments.

Ian’s Rating: 4/5

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