“Here’s to risks”
Director: John Duigan
Cast: Noah Taylor, Thandie Newton, Nicole Kidman
Synopsis: Danny has been sent to boarding school, in this sequel to The Year My Voice Broke. Against a backdrop of bullying and sadistic teachers Danny strikes up an affair with an African girl
If the trailer is anything to go by, FLirting was marketed squarely at teens, which is a shame because it is really aimed at anyone who has ever been a teenager. It’s essentially a movie about juvenile intolerance – of those of a different hue, and those who are just different – and the inner strength required to overcome it.
It’s probably fair to say that Flirting concentrates more on social outcast Noah Taylor (Danny Embling), disliked by his peers for being intelligent (and a little geeky-looking), and subjected to the mundane put-downs of his peers on a daily basis. The racism against Thandie Newton’s character is handled more directly, but is more understated after the initial half-hour, until it virtually isn’t an issue at all.
The performances are excellent throughout though, and all the teenage characters are remarkably real, managing never to descend into cliche or parody. Only the adult characters are poorly drawn; one schoolmaster is a sadistic bully, the other a vague and insipid man obsessed with model aeroplanes; the headmistress of the girl’s school is a cold and proper ma’am, the form teacher an excitable middle-aged woman, etc.
Outstanding sequence of the movie, however, is the boxing match between Taylor and a much beefier classmate. The fight becomes more surreal with each punch to the head Taylor receives, and the POV shot as Taylor crashes to the ring for the final time is superb.
(Reviewed 16th March 2002)