Review by Andrew L. Urban:
"With all the idiosyncratic, painful, funny and recognisable revelations about
derailed family life and the cinematic inventiveness of a Sweetie in combo with Radiance,
Soft Fruit is a unique and uniquely entertaining film of serious passion, compassion - and
death defying feats of humanistic humour.
Director Andreef and her cinematographer
Baranyai have distilled Australian cinematic style and made it their own with some simple
yet powerful ideas that serve the film’s main purpose – the exposition of a
family through its relationships to each other. Each element, from the superb, careful
casting to the spirited and wonderful soundtrack (music & sound) is crafted excellence
adding - sometimes subliminally – to the film’s impact.
Defying all categories,
Soft Fruit is a ripe, appetising movie. Performances are all outstanding and will probably
earn (certainly deserve) accolades, come awards night. Jeanie Drynan’s central
character as mum is palpably real, complex, lovable and so finely crafted as to make it
seem effortless; character acting at its most sublime. But mum’s daughters are equal
to the challenge, as is the extraordinary son. Soft Fruit is a perfect example of showing
universal truths through the particular, and don’t believe anyone who tells you
it’s a woman’s film. It’s a film for all of us – at least for those
who have a mother or a father. Or both. Or siblings. Or feelings…."
Review by Louise Keller:
"Poignant, funny, offbeat and very moving, Soft Fruit is a delectable gem,
eminently worthy of consumption. Christina Andreef's observant, cutting script and assured
direction is complemented by superb performances, showcased by tight editing and a rich
soundtrack, which like the whole film, is not always what you expect.
This is a story
about family members who love and hate each other. They share obsessions such as weight
loss, bear grudges and harbour grievances from baggage never discarded. They display
intimate eccentricities that are not only overtly very funny, but honest, and very raw in
their emotions. The central character Patsy - Jeanie Drynan is extraordinary in her best
role ever - is the catalyst for bringing the family together. There are elements
reminiscent of Radiance, yet Soft Fruit glows with the confidence of a unique and special
film. Its humour is infectious, often off the wall and never in bad taste. The beach
outing, when the wheelchair is liberated, and the morphine shared, is a special moment not
to be forgotten.
But under the laughs, the jocular fights and bitterness, lies a deep
profound love and need for each other. This is not the kind of love and need that is
expressed in eloquent phrases or sonnets, but by things that are not said within the angst
of day to day living. All the performances are excellent, with Russell Dykstra outstanding
as Bo, and exuberant Sacha Horler, a real scene stealer. The use of music and expressive
sounds (there is a whole scene that features the entire family snoring) is both surprising
Bitter-sweet, provocative and thoroughly entertaining, Soft Fruit is a
delight, a marvellous new Australian film that breaks boundaries."