Although their high school days are long gone, nothing much has changed for Jackie (Cindy Nelson) and Lucy (Francesca Gasteen) - collectively known as the inseparable Jucy. Jackie's anxiety disorder is still not under control and she's incapable of having a mature relationship with a man. Lucy is overweight, still lives at home and hasn't finished either of the university degrees she started. When they are labeled co-dependent, weird and socially inept, the girls decide it's time to grow up and prove to themselves (as well as the world) they are normal adults. Jackie sets out to snag a boyfriend & Lucy goes after a job. But their friendship is shattered when they clash over the lead role in an amateur production of Jane Eyre.
Review by Louise Keller:
Exuding the same energy as her 2007 debut feature All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane, Louise Alston's bright and bubbly chick flick explores the upheavals and complications of two best friends. It's about friendship, ambition and relationships and how an amateur theatrical production of Jane Eyre nearly comes between them. It's colourful and fresh, funny and endearing as we see life through the eyes of Jackie (Cindy Nelson) - redhead, bi-polar and off her meds, and Lucy (Francesca Gasteen) - overweight, aspiring actress with a pretty face.
Jackie and Lucy are enjoying what one acquaintance calls a wo-mance - the female equivalent of a bro-mance. They work together in a video store but Lucy has pressure at home to finish her university degree and get a job in marketing, like her younger sister Fleur (Nelle Lee). When the film begins, they are hanging out at a cast party, where guests commonly shed their clothes over a beer. But that isn't what Jackie and Lucy are about. They like to hang out together and talk about meaningful things, like with whom would they rather sleep: Mr Darcy or Hamlet, Jesus or George Clooney? They vow that by the next cast party, things will have changed: Jackie will be in a hot relationship and Lucy will have a hot job.
Jackie likes Alex (Ryan Johnson), a self-important actor about to play the role of Mr Rochester in the new production of Jane Eyre, who invites both girls to audition. Meanwhile, there are complications with the dorky Brett (Andrew Ryan), who has a crush on Lucy and Trevor (Damien Freeleagus), the assistant director seems to have his eye on Jackie. The girls are both cast in the production - in the title role and that of the crazy Mrs Rochester, who only has to laugh hysterically and scream intermittently. Jealousies set in and their relationship explodes as Jackie becomes more and more hysterical, Lucy is put under pressure to get a real job, while of course the show must go on.
There's vibrancy about the two lead performances - both girls are exceptionally good, and we genuinely care about their characters. The film is short and sweet with a good heart, zipping along with oomph as the relationship between the two girls heats up, cools down and ends on a predictable high.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Proudly sporting what is emerging as director Louise Alston's cinematic signature of a bright and incisive outside with a painful inside, Jucy is a seductive comedy with dark edges about two young women whose long and powerful friendship goes through the wringer. The fact that it is inspired by (and largely based on) two real friends - the actresses playing the roles - gives the film its high level of authenticity.
Alston met the women making her previous feature, All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane, and she has also Ryan Johnson and Charlotte Gregg from the film in Jucy. Propelled by the characters, Jucy is about their relationship - but it's also primarily a character film. Their actions are what define them as the characters they play, both needy, both vulnerable, but both determined in the end not to be victims or invisible women.
The performances are a joy all round, keenly observed and deeply felt. Francesca Gasteen is luminous as Lucy, her sweet face a canvas for emotions. Cindy Nelson is dynamic as Jackie, whose medication keeps her in some sort of equilibrium - as long as she takes it.
Also excellent work from Ryan Johnson as Alex, one of the key members of the theatre troupe where they all congregate in hope, and from Damien Freeleagus as Trevor, the assistant director who gets briefly involved with Jackie.
Andrew Ryan makes an impact as Brett, the nerdy hanger on chasing Lucy - for a while - and Sally McKenzie is great as the determined theatre director, Roz.
From the opening credits with Lucy and Jackie dancing in sync to a bright French pop song, the film is carried along by a tone of grounded good humour and has something to say, especially to women like its two central characters. Uplifting and entertaining - and real.
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CAST: Cindy Nelson, Francesca Gasteen, Ryan Johnson, Damien Freeleagus, Andrew Ryan, Nelle Lee, Charlotte Gregg, Sally McKenzie, Christopher Sommers
PRODUCER: Kelly Chapman
DIRECTOR: Louise Alston
SCRIPT: Stephen Vagg (story by Louise Alston based on characters developed by Cindy Nelson and Francesca Gasteen
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jan Reichle
EDITOR: Andrew Soo
MUSIC: Caitlin Yeo
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Nick McCallum
RUNNING TIME: 81 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Odin's Eye
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 3, 2011 - Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Wagga, Orange; other locations to follow
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