Review / ‘That’s Not Me’ (MA) *** and a half

AFTER careers involving short films, this observation of a choice group of human behaviours is the first foray into the scary, big world of feature films for director Gregory Erdstein and co-writer and principal actor Alice Foulcher.

Stylistically, it’s a conflict between ideas, ambitions, loyalties and love. The identical twin daughters of Stephen and Diane (Andrew Gilbert and Catherine Hill) are in their mid-twenties. Amy (Alice Foulcher) is getting roles in stage productions, movies and TV ads. Polly (Foulcher again) also works in cinema – selling tickets and choc-tops and feeding the popcorn machine.

Polly resents the hand that life has dealt her. She thinks that she is a better actress than Amy. But she’s less aggressive in pursuing her goals. And, sadly, more of a ditz.

Polly figures that the place to get recognised is Hollywood. She blows her savings and maxes out her credit card to make the trip, leaving behind a young bloke ambitious for recognition as a director but perhaps without the creative chops to succeed and, as it turns out, not that good in bed. In LA, Polly lands unannounced on the doorstep of a Melbourne girlfriend who’s not troubled about exploiting the guest to re-stock her pantry.

The film is well supplied with clichés about the acting trade, ideas, goals and situations that anybody who has observed them from the sidelines of real life will recognise. So will the film’s audience. When it comes down to getting work, a TV commercial is as good as it’s going to get for so many aspirants whose grit and talents don’t always match.

The story of Polly and Amy comes to an uncomfortable end, with expectations dashed and sisterhood cruelly abused. For filmgoers, it can be a rewarding experience delivered with interesting dramatic values and perhaps a wish to see more from its creative pair.

At Palace Electric

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