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Sunday
New Zealand/Australia 2014
Directed by Michelle Lloyd
Running time 71 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


Set in the aftermath of the 2011Christchurch earthquake, Sunday is the story of Eve (Camille Keenan) and Charlie (Dustin Clare) who are about to have a baby although they are no longer together as a result of Charlie’s work-justified absenteeism. Charlie has come back to Christchurch from Melbourne to see if he can patch things up and has 24 hours to convince Eve that he’s the man for her.

Modest in scale and clocking in at a mere 71 minutes Sunday is all the better for that.  Co-written by first time director Michelle Lloyd with real life couple Clare and Keenan, the film shines in its unforced naturalism. The dialogue between the two leads who are, with the exception of a couple of scenes, the only characters on screen throughout, unfolds with a familiar mundanity that convincingly portrays the underlying dynamic between Eve and Charlie: awkwardly defensive, tentative and yet full of deeply invested emotion grounded in the carefree days of their relationship.  In fact it is only when the script steps beyond the banality of the  everyday into more obviously “artistic” territory (a child with a red balloon, an encouragement to “be brave”) that it feels slightly forced. 

No doubt it helped that Clare and Keenan are a real life couple. It is something which not only imbues their performances with a real sense of companionship but the mechanics of creating a convincing history to their reunion, deftly set against the resonant backdrop of earthquake-damaged Christchurch, would have been so much easier to achieve, particularly given the limited budgetary resources.

If the script, performances and direction are all first class, Ryan Alexander Lloyd’s photography is the fourth cornerstone that anchors the film in our sensibilities.  From a richly textured purely visual prologue which cuts immediately to the start of the principal narrative as Eve drives to the airport to pick up Charlie the unspoken  and spoken elements of the film  work together effortlessly to create a charming story of the everyday ardours and ordeals of human love.

 

 

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