Written and directed by
Rachel Ward, Beautiful Kate revolves around a family secret that
is brought to the forefront when distanced son, Ned Kendall (Ben
Mendelsohn) returns home after a number of years of absence with his
girlfriend to see his dying father Bruce (Bryan Brown).
Although his sister
Sally (Rachel Griffiths) has open arms for her brother, their father
treats this reunion with a touch of spite which once again reunites the
memories that Ned has kept to himself all these years.
The visit to his old
family home causes Ned to reminisce and more specifically about the
"close" relationship that he had with his twin sister Kate
(Sophie Lowe) and discovery about the secret about his older brother
Cliff (Josh McFarlane). This causes a plethora of
emotions to be unleashed by Ned, most or all aimed at his father for how
this situation was handled and how Bruce treated his family.
Although predictable at
times, Beautiful Kate is quite a gripping and moving Australian film
about a topic that many filmmakers avoid, however Ward has successfully
managed to scribe the original American novel into a unique Australian
setting that only makes the movie that ever so more powerful.
The stars in the movie
are of course Mendelsohn who is battling his own emotional demons and
that of Bryan Brown who is quite hateful and is easily one of his most
powerful performances to date.
Apart from the powerful
topic of this story, the cinematography truly transforms this film into
its own that not only highlights the Australian outback but is used
extremely well with the emotions and flow of this story.
For first time director
Ward, she has created a very powerful film that is almost perfect,
except for one family's dark secret. Perfectly written, cast and
directed, Beautiful Kate comes highly Recommended!