With 'Unindian', 'Learning to Drive' and now 'Alex & Eve' all receiving big screen releases in October in Australia at one time; the themes of love and unity in spite of cultural differences are being substantially explored. The American indie 'Learning to Drive' is about when opposites collide; whilst the other two Australian productions are love stories bringing two very different cultures together and finding hope and unity in often comical situations.
'Alex and Eve' is a really delightful film and a solid 8 out of 10 from me. It is a little less broad than 'Unindian', but still has its laughs from some obvious stereotypes and scenarios. Adapting his own play, Alex Lykos successfully brings his group of characters into urban settings and locations and seasoned director Peter Andrikidis, an award winner in television dramas, has extracted fine performances from a large and diverse cast. For me the star of the picture is the luminous Andrea Demetriades. I'd only seen her work on 'Janet King' a television legal drama, and instantly fell in love with her in this role. The actress has created a fully fleshed and believable character; giving her enough flaws but strengths to want an audience to barrack for her. Her co-lead Richard Brancatisano has a heroic journey to undertake here, and he performs the comic shtick as well as the gravitas required. This is often a laugh out loud comedy, as the larger than life supporting characters give the film heart as well as edge. I was particularly impressed with Tony Nikolakopoulos as the young man's father, and Zoe Carides, a veteran of stage and screen as his mostly even tempered wife.
My only criticisms are located in the teaching sequences and some of the dialogue and direction of the young cast playing the students. It defied plausibility for me, but there was so much else to embrace in this movie that it didn't detract too much. It is heartening to see so many movies and TV shows now dealing with multi cultural communities and in particular here, romance and love between people from different backgrounds. I enjoyed 'Alex & Eve' more than 'Unindian' (Brett Lee's leading role) as it felt weightier and with more comedic touches that hit the mark. I hope it finds an audience, and I know that for Andrea Demetriades it will be the first of many leading roles on screen. This is a well made, thoughtful and enjoyable movie.
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