The Caterpillar Wish

Small-town secrets create small-time drama in the restrained, picturesque meller, "The "The Caterpillar Wish." Oz-set yarn plays with material like incestuous relationships and illicit affairs, but never really flies. On home turf, film is likely to have an acclaimed but short lifespan. Outside the Down Under cocoon, it should land in some fest berths.

Small-town secrets create small-time drama in the restrained, picturesque meller, “The Caterpillar Wish.” Oz-set yarn plays with material like incestuous relationships and illicit affairs, but never really flies. Supported by several seasoned Australian thesps, youthful Victoria Thaine is charming as the teenage protag; however, the script is as creaky as the seaside wooden houses the characters inhabit. On home turf, film is likely to have an acclaimed but short lifespan. Outside the Down Under cocoon, it should land in some fest berths.

Susan (Susie Porter) has always told her 17-year-old daughter Emily (Thaine) that her father was a tourist who once passed through their sleepy coastal town. But, after much investigation, Emily suspects her dad is local cop Carl (Phillip Quast). He’s a serial cad, and the fact that he is also father to Emily’s secret b.f. (Khan Chittenden) sets her up for a traumatic revelation. Cast struggles with a script that flits from intense moment to intense moment, without morphing into sustained drama. Helming is unremarkable, but other tech credits are pro.

The Caterpillar Wish

Australia

Production: A Palace Films release of a Wish Prods., Palace Films presentation, in association with the Australian Film Commission, South Australian Film Corp., Film Victoria. (International sales: Wish Prods., Melbourne.) Produced by Kate Whitbread. Executive producers, Zelda Rosenbaum, Antonio Zeccola. Directed, written by Sandra Sciberras.

Crew: Camera (color), Greig Fraser; editor, Jason Ballantine; music, Burkhard Dallwitz; production designer, Robert Webb. Reviewed at The Reel Room, Sydney, March 6, 2006. Running time: 91 MIN. With: Susie Porter, Victoria Thaine, Wendy Hughes, Phillip Quast, Robert Mammone, Khan Chittenden.

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