17 April 2005 | gradyharp
Another Little Jewel of a Film from Australian Cinema
VIOLET'S VISIT may retrace old ground covered by other successful movies, but as written by Andrew Creagh and Barry Lowe based on a story by Richard Tarner and directed by Richard Turner this take on the joys and trials of surprise gay parenting is fresh and as unprejudiced a look as has come along in a long time.
Violet aka Scooter (Rebecca Smart) at fifteen tires of her small town life living with a mother who repeatedly introduces new 'Dads' (Scooter was a love child) and strikes out to Sydney to seek her biologic father, having been informed of his identity by her grandfather. She enters Sydney, backpack in place, and finds the address of the father whom she has never met. A knock on the door produces Pete (David Franklin) a lawyer who has been partnered with gym owner Alec (Graham Harvey) for eight years, living an openly gay life complete with extended family and successful careers. Scooter naturally thinks Pete is her father, but soon discovers on Alec's return home that Alec is her biologic father and has denied her existence to everyone, including clueless Pete.
Scooter is chagrined at her father's lifestyle as much as Alec is perplexed at having to face a fifteen-year-old daughter, a simple girl who seeks to be a designer (of kitschy objects) instead of attending school. With Pete's intervention and big heart the trio grow into a comfort zone and Scooter moves in with Alec and Pete. Gradually the roles of father impact both Alec and Pete, and Scooter grows frustrated when she is unable to find friends and feels as outsider. She becomes infatuated with a friend of her fathers - Wayne (Caleb Packham)- only to discover that he, too, is a happily adjusted gay man.
When Alec and Pete are caught up in a disagreement about their new living situation, Scooter takes to the streets. Her extended absence only serves to bring the couple together in a new appreciation for the importance of family and their mutual love for Scooter. The way in which the story is resolved is predictable but genuinely warm and tender.
Not only is the film well paced, it never makes the error of going over the top in its depiction of either Scooter's plight or in the manner in which gay people are realized. All of the male actors are handsome, buff late 30s/early 40s and are so comfortable in their roles that their sexuality is simply an aside. Graham, Franklin, and Smart are excellent actors and their screen presence engenders an audience response of credible warmth. The one aspect of the film that may present a problem for non-Australian viewers is the fact that the Aussie accents are so thick that the script at times is indecipherable! But that also adds to the flavor of this small but significantly impactful film. Well Done!