Review: ‘Queen of Hearts’

Honorable intentions aren't enough to salvage funereal pacing and stilted dialogue accompanying a family's death-watch over its matriarch. Pic feels way overlong even at short feature running time. Fests may want to cast a glance its way, but looks unlikely to be dealt a hand beyond local tube transmission.

Honorable intentions aren’t enough to salvage funereal pacing and stilted dialogue accompanying a family’s death-watch over its long-suffering matriarch. Set in a large indigenous Australian household in outback Alice Springs, pic feels way overlong even at short feature running time. Fests may want to cast a glance its way, but this “Queen of Hearts” looks unlikely to be dealt a hand beyond local tube transmission.

Sue (Lisa Flanagan), husband Ron (David Gambin) and young daughter Penny (Kirsty McDonald) drive through dusty terrain en route to clan gathering at grandma’s house. Another daughter travels with them, though she and her father are barely sighted again until final scenes. Heavy-handed histrionics ensue as the deteriorating health of Nana (Lillian Crombie) initiates soul-searching among extended family. Little of it is engrossing and opportunities for meaningful mother-daughter moments are scuttled by stiff, proscenium arch staging. Clunky transitions and mostly flat performances (Crombie is a notable exception) also serve telling blows. Tech credits are merely serviceable.

Queen of Hearts

Australia

Production

A Seymour Films production, in association with the Australian Film Commission, SBS Independent and Film Victoria. (International sales: Seymour Films, Melbourne.) Produced by Charlotte Seymour. Directed, written by Danielle Maclean.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Warwick Thornton; editor, Jane Moran; music, David Bridie; production designer, Sam Hobbs; sound (Dolby Digital) Chris Izzard; assistant director, Karen Mahood; casting, Anoushka Zarkesh, Beck Cole. Reviewed on videocassette, Sydney, Oct. 15, 2003. Running time: 48 MIN.

With

Kirsty McDonald, Lisa Flanagan, Lillian Crombie, Tiah Hughes, Kevin Smith
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading