DIRECTOR: rachel ward (martha's new coat)
starring: bryan brown, sam neill, richard e. grant, and jacqueline mckenzie
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
Lifelong friends reunite for a party at Sydney's Palm Beach.
In Palm Beach, directed by Rachel Ward, a group of lifelong friends get together for an extended birthday celebration at beautiful Palm Beach in Sydney, Australia. Bonded together by their long history and a briefly successful stint as a band in the distant past, which gave rise to one hit song, the friends and their families celebrate birthday of Frank, the band’s former manager. As the friends settle in, old secrets and resentments threaten to bubble to the surface and disrupt the celebrations in this idyllic setting.
Palm Beach shows us things we have seen many times before: old friends with unspoken resentments, family secrets, relationship issues - and in the hands of lesser actors this would be plain to see, but instead of portraying affluent baby boomers arguing about their grievances, this excellent group and make this familiar premise work and the relationships feel human.
Celebrations are hard, dirty laundry is aired and character growth is achieved - all culminating in a lovely and good natured film about a group of people whose friendships, despite the problems it has brought them, have made their lives better.
A good-hearted exploration of lifetime friendship, Palm Beach is a lovely take on what it means and what it takes to have such a bond between old friends.