Skip to main content
See if you can find the skateboarding santa.

Movie: Mental (2012)

I didn't know much about Mental, the new Australian movie by writer/director P. J. Hogan and staring Toni Collette (reunited for the first time since Toni starred in Muriel's Wedding). All it took to get me interested was that it was Toni Collette playing a borderline, obnoxious but somehow still like-able Aussie and Rebecca Gibney (who could pretty much be in anything and I'd watch).

Rather than re-write the plot outline, here's what the movie's website has to say:
The film follows the story of the Moochmore girls who are certain they all suffer from some kind of undiagnosed mental illness - because if they're not crazy then they're just unpopular. Their mother Shirley (Gibney), unable to cope with her demanding teenage daughters and philandering politician husband, Barry (LaPaglia), suffers a nervous breakdown. After Barry commits his wife to a mental hospital (telling his constituents that she's "on holiday") he finds himself alone with five teenage girls he barely knows. Desperate, he impulsively picks up a hitchhiker named Shaz (Collette) and installs her in his home as nanny to his daughters.
This film deserves to become a classic because it's one of the most original and least predictable movies you'll ever see. You know it's probably going to work out alright in the end but how it gets there is both hilarious, thoughtful and a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

A lot of the movie's humor plays out like an exaggerated cartoon or perhaps stylized reality but it works really well because it feels like there's an element of truth in the base of the jokes.

Toni Collette's character (Shaz) could easily become the focus of several movies given her back story of weaving her way into people's lives. For me it's just awesome to see Toni play not just an Aussie but a broad, stereotypical Aussie (dare I say 'bogan') with a few character traits that clearly show she's actually not that stereotypical really.

Shaz is actually highly intelligent and seems like the most sane person in the whole film to begin with. Partnered with a very formidable dog called 'Rippa' she could be the female Mad Max of Dolphin Heads (the town the film is set in). The woman with the answers and the plan.

It's difficult to say too much about the film without spoiling the unpredictable nature and surprises as everything unfolds. However I know I wasn't expecting giant shark stories, porcelain doll carnage, or even a couple of memorable cameos by Sophie Lee (Toni's arch nemesis in Muriel's Wedding).

As crazy as it all is the film has a lot to say about people, family and relationships that could make you reflect a little on at least having known people who are bit like many of these characters.

My only (very minor) irritation about this movie was that it references American culture in a few places where, it might have been more likely for an Australian equivalent reference. Particularly where Barry Moochmore relates the story of how his father thought he and his brothers would grow up to be like the Kennedeys. It's not out of place but it feels like the reference is made so international audiences can know who he's talking about rather than have him reference someone only Aussies may know.

The film does contain coarse language but don't let that put you off. Everyone turns in a solid performance in what is a laugh out loud comedy where everybody is just a little bit mental to varying degrees.

Go and see it.


Comments

  1. Do you think I'd like it? I know it said it had language in it, but I can get around that if it's genuinely funny.

    I've seen a preview on TV, but didn't know whether the story seemed too wild and crazy. I don't really like Toni Collette when she's being off-beat and crazy. I enjoyed her in Muriels's Wedding of which I have the DVD of, and can watch it many times, plus being a fan of the dark girl in it whose name espcapes me just now. Also like 'The Black Balloon.'

    Couldn't decide on this one, but as I say, if it's funny I'll probably like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is genuinely funny and even thoughtful and emotionally engaging in places too. It's not quite as family friendly as Muriel's Wedding because the language in places does get very strong, however it's not out of place (and not all the way through - the film is partly about five children after all).

      The 'dark' Girl is Deborah Mailman who gives a very different performance to what you're used to. Excellent though.

      I do think you'd enjoy it. All the characters are interesting and the story twists and turns all over the place.

      Delete
  2. theres nothing funny about laughing at mental illness. PJ Hogan should be ashamed of himself

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The film is a character study. It's not laughing at mental illness at all.

      Delete
  3. I meant the dark haired girl in 'Muriel's Wedding.' I've looked at my DVD now, and it's Rachel Griffiths, whose in an American series at the moment. Can't remember that now, but it's not something I'm watching.

    I forgot to say that I didn't like 'United States Of Tara' much on TV, though Toni Collette played the characters very well. I only liked a couple of the characters, especially the one who was like one of the housewives that was in that film with Nicole Kidman, 'Stepford Wives' I think it was. Didn't like the male one but it was done well. I only watched some of it. Might look at this film later.

    ReplyDelete
  4. She was good in 'About A Boy' as well, except for that silly hat she used to wear - the knitted one with a tassle etc! I'm always pleased to see her looking nice instead of nerdy, though she does it well.

    Didn't get to see that film she did which I think was in Japan.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments not directly related to the post will be deleted. This includes spammy generic comments with links to websites not related to the post.

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET.

Popular posts from this blog

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

Course Review: YouTube for Bosses - Sunny Lenarduzzi. How to grow your YouTube Channel into a Business

YouTube for Bosses Free Mug...  or the most expensive mug  you'll ever buy? I've been subscribed to  Sunny Lenarduzzi's YouTube channel for a few years, learning a lot on how to grow a following on sites like YouTube and Instagram. If you have any interest in growing your own YouTube channel I'd highly recommend watching some of Sunny's videos on the subject.  Definitely explore her 2019 back catalogue for the most useful information. This year she's been on a bit of a 'being authentic' pivot that, personally, doesn't resonate all that much with me (but probably speaks volumes to anyone with similar experience). I'm not saying she shouldn't or isn't being authentic, it's just I didn't subscribe to hear stories about her life journey. To get back on track, Sunny runs a successful online business with her flagship course, YouTube for Bosses , a stand alone paid course that does act as something of a gateway to further paid (but opt

Kids today are smarter than their parents?

Mother's Bed Art Board Print by TET. Available from RedBubble . How often have you heard it said that kids today are smarter than their parents? I’ve heard it quite frequently in the media – even Dr Phil has said it. I say speak for yourself. It’s not true and don’t let the media fool you. Today’s kids may have access to more information that may give them more choices but in my experience, they only take in what they want to hear and still make stupid, uninformed decisions. Just like we used to at their age. Like any cross section of people there will be exceptions. There are kids that are genuinely smarter, more mature and responsible for their age. However the vast majority know everything they need to know by the time they turn fourteen. They’re ‘adult’ enough to be responsible for all their own decision making so parents should just let them do what they please…right? Just like we thought at fourteen. Don’t be fooled. Just because your son knows how to download MP3’s onto an i

The Lego Man - He's got all that!

Who would have thought that owning one of the worlds largest, private Lego collections could take you so far. Tom Lucieer of Angaston, South Australia, not only has met the Queen (of England) but is a frequent guest of her majesty and family when they are in Australia. He's also met Prince Charles, Lady Diana and Camila Parker-Bowles. Not only that, he grew up with TV Vet, Dr Harry, and is a friend of the Irwin family (yes, that's Steve Irwin's family). Tom will happily tell you all this as part of the guided tour of his collection, which, aside from Lego, includes much railway memorabilia and colourful anecdotes about days gone by, his achievements and more. Frequently he will finish each particular monologue with the phrase, "Have you got that?", just to check that he hasn't confused you because, as he points out, his display and the stories behind it are a lot to take in at once. In the photo you can see Tom holding a special award, which I think is for b

How to Start From Nothing - a Video by Sorelle Amore Finance About Starting Any Kind of Business

Sorelle Amore. It's the million dollar question for many people wanting to start a business who feel they don't have the knowledge, money, skills, time, or all four, "How do I start from nothing?" If that's something you want to know too then the video below by  Sorelle Amore , an Australian photographer and social media entrepreneur success story, who is most known for literally writing the book on how to take an #AdvancedSelfie, has an answer well worth considering. Just in case you feel advice from a professional selfie photographer couldn't possibly be meaningful Sorelle's journey to financial freedom in just two years is well worth looking into. One takeaway for me is that at age 28 she was broke, but turned things around and was a millionaire by age 30. While that's an exceptional result of quite a lot of hard work, writing books, building courses, and more, what it says to me is, it's possible to be financially secure in less than two years

Boom Crash Opera Born Classic But Not Again

Boom Crash Opera are an Australian Band that reached the peak of their popularity in the mid to late nineteen eighties. They are a band that I knew about at that time but was never really excited by until they released their ill fated double album Born and Born Again in 1995 (Album cover pictured). At the time of its release I was very much into emerging Australian musical acts and was also looking out for new sounds that were different and had kind of a futuristic/electronic sound. Artists that I was buying at the time included; Swoop , Nine Inch Nails and Pop Will Eat Its Self . As well as a really interesting release by David Bowie, the concept album, Outside . Born was a fairly radical departure for Boom Crash Opera (BCO). The first single, Gimme , was often compared to the sounds of Gary Glitter, particularly his single, Rock n Roll part 2 , because of the pounding drum loops. Watch the video below. My favorite single from the album is dissemble which probably went now

Maggie Beer's Farm Shop - Nuriootpa, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Maggie Beer's Farm Shop Entrance. You may know South Australian icon Maggie Beer from her TV cooking show, The Cook and the Chef , or from her guest appearances on Australian Master Chef . Or perhaps you're a long time customer of her various products and produce. If you're in the Barossa Valley region then a trip to her farm/shop/eatery is a nice way to spend a morning or afternoon. Follow the link to book an 'experience' that will make your visit extra memorable. The Farm Walk, informational Plaques. There is a farm walk trail, that my partner, Enigma, and I, found a little hard to know for sure if we were going the right way, but we seemed to find the various informative plaques detailing the site's history. In any case we also had a nice walk around the main lake that the shop sits alongside where you can spot many turtles and other water going wildlife. The shop itself isn't particularly large but it does have the full range of Maggie's products.