After making a misjudged advance towards her mother’s boyfriend, sixteen year old Heidi runs away from home and ends up at a ski-resort, where everyone comes on to her—and where she learns about the true meaning of love and innocence.
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"I don't think you know what you want." This is a breathtaking film. Simple yet profoundly complex. Patient yet urgent. What makes it so powerful is how well Shortland integrates the narrative tools at cinema's disposal. Nothing is wasted here. Her visuals are lush but never gratuitous: she has a marvelous command of the craft. Her film doesn't tell us, it doesn't dictate. It shows us.
This is why I love cinema.
Feature debut from director Cate Shortland concerns the sexual maturing of a young girl who in escaping a perceived unforgivable transgression finds herself in a remote resort town on a downward spiral. Serves as a remarkable calling card for Abbie Cornish who is spellbinding throughout and for Sam Worthington who of course went on to far grander enterprises. Also of note is the turn by Lynette Curran.
"Somersault" is a gorgeous little incursion into the life of a teenage girl struggling with sexuality and identity. Beautifully photographed and perfectly executed. The camera movement and genuine characters really sold the realist aesthetic. And on top of it all there is Abbie Cornish's heartbreaking performance.
This touches the heart without sinking to sentiment, perfectly capturing that moment when the shining solipsism of youth comes apart. A young girl negotiating the irrational connections between sex and love, within herself, between her and others less innocent, and showing that innocence lives in the heart, not the hymen. Also, literally a touching film, so many hands, so many surfaces, such detail, such tactility.
Cate Shortland is an extraordinary talent, judging from this sensitive, thoughtful film. It deals beautifully with that knife edge where we spill from child to adult and try to work out who we are while our hormones are going wild. Lovely performances, beautifully paced, and really rich with humanity.