Movie Review: Blueback

Movie Review: Blueback

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With the Perth Festival movie season starting on November 21, it’s time to dust of the picnic basket and head to the cinemas for a range of diverse and unique movies. First up is the Australia premiere of Robert Connolly’s latest movie, Blueback.

When you see the names Robert Connolly, Eric Bana, Erik Thomson and Mia Wasikowska it’s hard not be interested. Add in the name Tim Winton, along with a Bremer Bay setting and you’ll think you’ve stumbled across the quintessential Australian movie.

Blueback the movie sees Connolly team up with Tim Winton again. Some of you may remember their collaboration The Turning. Maybe you recall Connolly’s work with Bana in The Dry or Romulus, My Father. Or maybe some of his other works like Paper Planes or The Slap. If not, you’re in for a real treat when you find them, if yes then no doubt like me you’re excited about this latest work.

Based on Winton’s 1997 novel of the same name, Blueback centres on a young girl Abby (Ilsa Fogg, Mia Wasikowska). Abby is living an idyllic life with her activist mother Dora (Radha Mitchell), plus close friends Briggs (Pedrea Jackson, Clarence Ryan) and Mad Mack (Eric Bana). Life looks carefree.

While diving in the pristine ocean one day Abby and her mother encounter a magnificent wild blue groper, who Abby quickly names Blueback.


As Abby grows, so too does her mothers activism as she challenges developers intent on carving up their beachside homeland. The bulldozers are drawing closer.

At the same time Blueback’s’ home is also under threat through poachers and a dying coral reef. With time running out Abby takes inspiration from her activist mother to save Blueback.

Like other Connolly outings Blueback is visually stunning. This time a love letter to the ocean. The thoughtful pace makes the movie an effective meditation. Blueback’s balletic moves definitely help slow a busy days heart rate. The story focuses on climate change, development, ageing, mental health and cross culture relationships. It’s a shame that at times you feel like you’re being hit over the head by the environmental messages and sadly the switching between time periods can be distracting for a weary end-of-day brain.

For more information about this and other movies in the Festival go to the Perth Festival, Sommerville Theatre, Palace Theatre and Luna Cinemas.

Rating 6/10