“Juniper” (M) 3 and a half stars
IN writer/director Matthew J Saville’s gentle, observant, affectionate small movie, English actress Charlotte Rampling plays Ruth, retired from photographing the world’s wars.
Ruth now lies a cripple in the NZ farm house belonging to her recently widowed son Robert (Marton Csokas), who is going away on business leaving his late-adolescent son Sam to care for Ruth.
It’s Sam’s first meeting with his grandmother, who at this point in her life has only one comfort – equal volumes of gin and water flavoured with a slice of lemon in a large jug.
In this 95-minute film, we’re going to find confirmation of what we suspected from the first meeting between age and youth – her demand that he carry her from her chair to the bathroom.
“Juniper” doesn’t radiate power around moments of the human condition. Which is not to say that it doesn’t deliver satisfaction and comfort from watching two wildly disparate human beings resolving an improbable gap using understanding of the actor’s craft accompanied by a skill at being somebody else.
Playing Sam, George Ferrier does very well, opposite one of the great names in British acting. I first became aware of Charlotte Rampling In those wonderful years when I was spending a fortnight at the Sydney Film Festival. Her filmography begins with uncredited roles in “A Hard Day’s Night” when she was 18 and “The Knack – And How To Get It”. I was hooked. Still am 133 roles later.
At Dendy, Palace Electric
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