After his sister is injured in an accident, Jack Flange (Alex O'Lachlan) must leave Sydney for the small town of Brooklyn, New South Wales, to care for her. Here, on the winding Hawkesbury River, a population of fishermen and eccentrics live a simple life. Though he finds work with Brownie (David Field), an oyster farmer with a failing marriage, Jack robs a fish market and mails himself the money to help with his sister's medical expenses--but in a freak accident, the money falls into the river. Instead of thinking the money is simply lost, he theorizes that it has gone to support the expensive shoe habit of sexy local cleaning woman, Pearl (Diana Glenn)--but as he attempts to find out the truth, he begins to fall in love with her.
 

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Oyster Farmer is a pearl. If only all of our locally made movies were this satisfying.

Oyster Farmer is the first feature by New Zealand-born writer/director and AFTRS graduate Anna Reeves. It stars a raft of familiar local acting faces including Jack Thompson (The Assassination Of Richard Nixon), David Field (Silent Partner) and Kerry Armstrong (Lantana), and two confident newcomers.

O
yster Farmer is a pearl. If only all of our locally made movies were this satisfying. The Hawkesbury is a fantastic place to set a movie, not just because of the cinematic possibilities at hand, which are well exploited by cinematographer Alun Bollinger (Perfect Stranger), but for the quiet Australian characters and stories that have survived there for generations. The characters are well drawn and authentic, and Reeves clearly had a ball fashioning the language of this film, and the dialogue. Some of the scenes work just because they sound so right.

The obvious comparison for Oyster Farmer is Peaches, another recent Australian film set in a regional work/family environment. Whereas Peaches tried so hard be, all that, - a portentous political film about a dying work place, it wound up over-stating the obvious, ultimately a failed attempt. Operating at the other end of the spectrum Oyster Farmer doesn\'t make huge statements about the state of things. The good oil lies in this film\'s authentic detail, humour and silently observed moments. Making it more of a quiet achiever.