Never resorts to melodrama; doesn't contrive to tie all the sub-plots together in one shocking, "revelatory", hyperbolic impression point; doesn't contrive to resolve all sub-plots happily or to bring them to a definite end: rather, they all remain very true to life, some unresolved, some sad, some enviably well, and some ambigious, tortured, but hopeful, as with the cop and his wife. Complex, subtle, and well-drawn.
Takes a while to get going as it weaves all of its various strands of characters. But once it does get going, it really packs a powerful punch. It delves into the emotions of love, trust, betrayal and also into marriage, fidelity and family. Not perfect (the characters seem TOO tied together at times and the aforementioned slow start), but still, it does rise above its imperfections and delivers an emotional wallop.
People just need to learn to love and trust. Heartful acting from Anthony LaPaglia, Kerry Armstrong, weirdo Rachael Blake, American treasure Barbara Hershey, and an elusive Geoffrey Rush. The lantana is a gorgeous weed. I like the man who cried. (You see the boom in a shot!)
Far better than expected. Strong performances all around. Real people with real problems with real flaws trying to find love rejecting love realizing it was never there and picking up the pieces or trying to at any rate. You hope for the best but expect the worst as the screen fades to black.
"The problem with many movie mysteries is that they inspire you to think more than to feel. Lantana, in contrast, is more intent on engaging the heart as it explores the mysteries contained within -- mysteries that, as Lawrence and his spot-on cast demonstrate, are far more compelling than simple murder." - Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune