Men’s Group – another grim story that gets a thumbs up from Australian critics

November 16, 2008 |

The patented David Stratton myopia about Australian Films is on display in True character comes to light. He describes the main characters thus:

The audience is introduced to members of the group by newcomer Alex (Grant Dodwell), whose life has been ruined because of compulsive gambling. Other members include Lucas (Steve Le Marquand), an uptight, uncommunicative salesman; Cecil (Don Reid), an elderly widower who leads a solitary but ordered existence; Freddy (Steve Rodgers), who is in every sense the most rounded character, a stand-up comic whose wife left him because she found him repulsive and who desperately misses his child; Moses (Paul Tassone), who lives in squalor; and Paul (Paul Gleeson), who organises the gatherings and in whose home the men usually meet. Initially, none of these characters seems to warrant our sympathy. But all that changes as we discover more about them, and this is especially true in the case of Freddy, whose story is a particularly poignant one.

Why oh why wouldn’t you just want to run to the cinema to empathise with this lot. Stratton’s support is qualified but only just.  He concludes:

In the end, despite its considerable shortcomings, Men’s Group succeeds because it is moving and the problems of these men are addressed with such clarity and understanding.

Sorry David, addressing problems with understanding and clarity is a guaranteed way of clearing a room.

But at the Inside Film awards last night Mens Group has won the award for best Australian Film.  Enough to make you weep.

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