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Australia 1981
Directed by
Bruce Beresford
87 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Puberty Blues

This iconic film based on an iconic novel by 'The Salami Sisters', Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey, is a coming-of-age movie about a pair of teenage friends, Debbie (Nell Schofield) and Sue (Jad Capelja), growing up in Sydney's northern beach suburb of Cronulla in the 1970s.

Although youth styles have changed and probably the mind-numbing sexism is less entrenched there is no doubt in the tentativeness and tribalism much that is still relevant to growing up today. In this respect, however the film is less effective, tending to stay locked in its sociological and temporal specifics. No doubt director Beresford is here following the authors' approach, which was more to tell it like it was (including extensive showcasing of contemporary Aussie vernacularisms like 'rooting machine' and 'crack a mental', than to pursue psychological depth (Michael Pattinson's Moving Out, which deals with the male equivalent is more effective in this respect).

Nevertheless with its mullet-headed males, panel vans, butt-clenching shorts and general dagsville, retro and nostalgia buffs will find much to enjoy a Tim Finn penned soundtrack adding to the time capsule fun.

DVD Extras: There's a rather light 2002 interview with Beresford and Nell Scholfield, biographies, the theatrical trailer and an assortment of trivia to do with the film.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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