Vicki returns to her elder sister Beth's house in Australia after an affair in Italy. Beth, with a teenage daughter, has become involved in something of a marriage of convenience with Frenchman J.P., and her rather prickly houseproud ways are causing frictions counterpointed by Vicki's more laid-back and indolent air. When Beth goes off on vacation to the outback alone with her cantankerous father to see if they can finally get to know each other, relationships in the household start to shift.
Armstrong, Garner and their three wonderful actresses have created a trio of great women characters, giving Chez Nous its very strong center.
I wish we'd known a little more about JP, because despite the charming perfoormance of Bruno Gantz, the character is a bit sketchy. And the film, though dazzingly well made, isn't exactly earth-shattering. The story which unfolds is an all too familiar one really, but you don't mind because of the excellence of the writing, the direction and the performances, with Bill Hunter outstanding in support as Beth's father, a crusty old man whose bad habits have apparently been inherited by his elder daughter.
Margaret: I love it, I really like a lot about it, it's so insightful for our era I think, it's been beautifully done as you say, I love Helen Garner's elliptical writing, but I wish it had been kept in the house.
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