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Love and Other Catastrophes (1996, 76 minutes)

September 20, 2010

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Summary:

Female roommates struggle to find love and keep love through the course of one day. One searches for the perfect man, while the other, Mia (Frances O’Connor II) tries to keep her girlfriend, Dani (Radha Mitchell) without offering commitment.


The Review:

As you have probably already noticed, films involving queer women are often low budget independent films. This little Australian movie is no exception to the rule. Filmed for $50,000 in two weeks, the budget’s limitations are quite apparent; especially during the introduction and the closing sequence. Those scenes are shot on video and mostly serve as filler to make the movie seem longer. Nevertheless, even those scenes have some charm and do provide a little more insight to the lesbian aspect, which is after all what this reviewer is here to do. It seems very autobiographical as the lead character is a film student and the movie does spend some time discussing the merits of certain directors. The rest of the movie concentrates on one day in the life of five college students. Of course, their lives revolve mostly around their love lives. I remember the college days well, so I can attest to the obsession with romantic entanglements.


Mia’s love life is complicated by her fear of commitment or more precisely by her need to forsake everything in the name of her own progress. This includes her own girlfriend’s feelings and taking advantage of all her friends. Mia’s plight for the day is to get into a class taught by a particular professor. I recognize and feel the frustration that Mia goes through as she struggles with the bureaucracy of a University. However, Mia’s single mindedness blinds her to the alienation her girlfriend is feeling. Mia and Dani break up in the middle of the film, as Dani turns to a willing girl. The reason I like the film is that through the course of the day and the eventual failure of her quest, Mia realizes what is ultimately important to her. Her growing depression, in spite of her apparent success, is a clue to the inevitable happy ending. The two actresses have good chemistry together and they do share a few sweet kisses. No love scene to speak of here, but I found it plenty romantic.

The movie is also about Mia’s roommate’s quest for love, although her love  seems targeted towards the wrong man. The unlikely ideal guy is played by Matt Day, who appeared in a short film (This Marching Girl Thing) starring Toni Collette as a young lesbian.

Rhada Mitchell also became a lesbian favorite due to her involvement in this movie and later in High Art.


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