Introducing the Dwights

If Little Miss Sunshine grew up and moved to Australia, the result will probably be quite close to Introducing the Dwights. This Australian dramedy tells the story of a charming family whose members are odd not because they are dysfunctional, but precisely because they are functional despite having every reason not to be. Jean (Brenda Blethyn) is a stand-up comedian whose career once showed great promise, but hasn’t really gone places. Her life revolves around her day job at a fast food joint, her late night gigs at a local casino, and her two sons. Mark (Richard Wilson in an endearing and credible turn out) is mentally challenged. But it is her other son, Tim (Khan Chittenden) who is Jean’s biggest concern. For unlike his brother, Tim is growing up, adding further cracks to Jean’s already imperfect world.

Tim’s gorgeous sex-pot of a girlfriend, Jill (Emma Booth) forces his family to confront several issues that are long over due, and over the course of the movie they do so, with considerable drama, but also with great grace. The best things about this movie are Blethyn, at her best in this role that was written for her, and Keith Thompson’s writing. Thompson, whose mother used to be a club singer, draws on personal experience to create something that is as honest as it is warm and funny.

The pity is that as fine a performance as Blethyn creates, we’ve already attended the dress rehearsals. One has seen glimpses of this character all the way from Secrets and Lies, and Little Voice, to Pride and Prejudice. Like Infamous, another fine movie damned only by its timing, one hopes that all those other fine performances don’t take anything away from Blethyn’s latest.


1 comment so far

  1. joy kennelly on

    What a great review! I wrote one too on my site if you want to check it out – I focused more on the actors than the plot. Gotta run! Thanks!

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