17 December 2020 | ansell-72879
An OK midday chick flick
When I was a boy in, the late 1950s, it was a different world. Police carried whistles not guns; biscuits where purchased by the ounce or pound and: daytime television programming was exclusively women's territory. Melbourne had the Olympics in 1956 and this fast tracked TV for us. Even so by 1957 Queen for a Day and the midday movie ruled the airways. And the midday movies were of a type, a type very much like Dead Write. Of course Dead Write was produced in 2007, not 1957.
This raises the first issue with what is a generally an acceptable movie. It's dated to the point of being stale. It is a drama so there must be something to cause tension. No tension, no drama. It's the same rule for theatrics and cinematic drama. The drama in this movie is all found in relationships, friendships, family and romantic. The principle Jade, played by Rachel Hunter, is an author who after a falling out with her husband returns to rural U.S. to stay at her father's house. They don't get along. She also doesn't get along with her husband or his new 'interest', another author. Jade is like a weaver's bobbin winging and darting through the lives connected with her own.
The bobbin metaphor is extended when she decides to write a book about her hometown. She devotes each chapter to different a local character.
Things get very complicated very quickly. Oh, and there is a supernatural element; books open mysteriously, desks slide across rooms, fires spontaneously ignite, etc. Her grandmothers death / murder, or one of her numerous grandmothers, hey, where did that come from, drives most of the spooky stuff.
As Jade, the bobbin, darts through the tapestry she is constructing she is also gradually composing a picture of her self for the viewer. Beware though, there is a scene were Jade sits before a tombstone, despondently shaking her head whilst saying over and over, 'Nothing makes sense. Nothing.' There are several scenes were I found myself falling back on this bit of dialogue.
This must have been a nightmare for the scriptwriter, A. W. Gryphon, though a breeze for director Michael Connell. The plot is convoluted but working with the cast, which includes luminaries such as Rachel Hunter and Tippi Henderson being told to be dramatic but not melodramatic, must have been a breeze.
I don't want to cause offense but KGF Vissers, who wrote the plot summary for this movie either has no idea about New Zealand or didn't watch the movie. The references to Auckland and New Zealand have the smallest plot function but basically serve to explain Rachel Hunters Kiwi accent in the middle of a forest US of A accents. The film is squarely the product of good ol' Uncle Sam.
If you want a little taste of daytime TV as it was in the 1950s but with a new millennial twist Dead Write fits the bill perfectly. Don't confuse perfect with Dead Write. It's not perfect but is sort of OK.