12 December 2005 | noralee
Delightful, Non-Stereotypical Look at Teens in Ethnic Community Down Under
I saw "Looking for Alibrandi" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Down Under Film Fest.
We so rarely get to see glimpses of Australia's ethnic immigrant communities. With shades of "Household Saints" and "Moonstruck" here's a coming-of-age movie set in Sydney's Little Italy.
The pluses and minuses of being a high school senior in a close-knit family and community are warmly and hilariously portrayed visually. (How do they keep their young 'uns at school and work when the beach laps practically onto the city streets?)
Co-star Anthony LaPaglia (as a very non-stereotypical Italian father), who did a "Q & A" after the movie, felt the Italian community portrayal accurately reflected his experiences growing up in Adelaide.
Faithfully based on a popular "Young Adult" novel (with a few plot changes), its lack of clichés about family and dating was refreshing -- the just out of reach Golden Boy is tormented by his own demons; the seductive Bad Boy is no lout, but captain of the opposing school's debate team with his own vulnerability issues.
The "curse" on the women in the family is quite touching and realistic, without simple Hollywood solutions.
While the Ozzies in the audience caught more of the jokes faster as the slang and native references kept the Americans dependent on context, do watch out to see this delightful movie where ever you can.
(originally written 10/7/2001)