And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: H is for Happiness

Some weeks are more crowded than others with viewing options so H is for Happiness almost escaped my radar. Don’t let that happen to you! The synopsis – and my craving for a feel-good film – reeled me in: “Set in the colourful Australian coastal town of Albany, H IS FOR HAPPINESS is a classic feel-good film for all ages that will make you laugh, cry, and cheer with delight. Based on the award-winning book ‘My Life as an Alphabet’ by Barry Jonsberg, it is the genuinely heart-warming and unflinchingly honest story of one twelve-year-old’s determination to bring her family back from the brink and spark happiness in their lives.”

That pretty much sums it up. H is for Happiness is a delightful movie, starring two kids with extremely bright futures in the acting biz.

The Sapphires

In a nutshell, The Sapphires is like an indie version of Sparkle meets Dreamgirls. It’s based on the true story of an aboriginal singing group that was basically Australia’s answer to The Supremes during the late 1960s. And while the story itself is interesting, the performances solid, and the music engaging, the film suffers from an extremely muddy narrative. It’s all over the place. That said, if you’re a fan of soul music and Motown, it’s definitely worth checking out – if not immediately, then down the road as a rental. Here’s the gist:


I kind of wanted to see it when it was in the theaters, but it didn’t stay around that long and I missed it. Glad I saved the 9 bucks. Australia is a mess. There are four writers credited and I suspect there were lots more. And Good God, it is long! And what is it really about? Who’s story is it? Is it the beautiful boy’s? He is the best part, but even there the story is a muddle. As for genres, it’s western/romance/war epic/political drama with a dash of the Wizard of Oz for good measure. And it is one layer of cliches on top of another. Oh, and about that romance — the chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman is not even remotely there. The politically correct thread about the treatment of the Aborigines is just not that affecting. In fact, none of the epic qualities that they tried for really work. They have so many elements here to work with– the vast otherness of Australia, the archetypal evil rival cattlemen, the dark coming of the war, the upper crust English lady cum fish out of water meets outback Drover romance, the wickedly misguided white people stealing the Aborigine children — and yet there is no focus. They are trying to tell too many stories at once and end up seeming to say nothing.