DIRECTOR: david stubbs (Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses)
STARRING: rose mciver, george mason, mark mitchinson, and kimbra
REVIEWER: emily carter
A bittersweet love story told with beautiful re-imaginings of the most iconic New Zealand pop songs from artists including Crowded House and Bic Runga.
Daffodils is just, well, bloomin' lovely on all counts. Being New Zealand's first foray into movie musicals, I think we can all understand my nervous scepticism. At a time when movie musicals are absolute hits in Hollywood (Star is Born, Greatest Showman, Bohemian Rhapsody), Daffodils has some stiff and quality competition. But I shouldn't have feared for a moment - Kiwis prove yet again that we can punch well above our weight.
While its release coincides with big movie musicals, Daffodils was first being developed as a film back in 2016 (originally a NZ stage show), so this is just a happy coincidence that it can ride the musical wave! And so it should - featuring Kiwi classics by Bic Runga, Crowded House, Dave Dobbyn, The Exponents and many more.
Showcasing Hamilton through the 60s and 70s, it stars Rose McIver (of recent Christmas Prince fame), George Mason (from Home and Away) and Kimbra, Daffodils is a love story being told by a father to his daughter. Pieces of well-known songs are woven throughout and it's achieved without an ounce of cringe - in fact it's tear-inducing (in a good way). It's not about impressive vocal talent and big ballads, it's music-as-narrative in one of the most natural ways I've seen it. I adored it. It's so refreshing to watch a film so nostalgic and so relatable - whether you were born in 1965 or 1995.
McIver and Mason are captivating as a couple and Kimbra is a delight as a narrator and as a performer.
I hope Daffodils marks another new age in NZ film making and I hope Kiwis give it a chance against the blockbusters - because it truly can hold its own.