I'll Make You Happy

A review by Andrew Bunney

I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more from the writer, director team of the Tsoulis sisters, born in Greece and raised in Adelaide. From its very opening sequences with its beaty independent music soundtrack, this is a hip little film with dash and flair and a lot of positive feminine energy. Obviously made to entertain, it still has a lot of soul and plenty to say. Although it was made in New Zealand, it was written with support from the SA Film Corporation by Anne Tsoulis mainly from her observations of life in Melbourne's St Kilda, so it feels local and relevant.

Siggy is a working-girl who shares her flat with an agoraphobic, Lester. She cares for him though she draws the line at bringing him the milk he craves. At work her pathetic pimp says he loves her but she fends him off and continues with the unsatisfying and degrading employment that she's so good at. There is a close friendship between all the women though, and when a chance comes their way to rip off the boss they all pitch in.

The lead roles are so well-performed that this low budget film rises high above expectations. Jodie Rimmer dominates the screen with a vivacious presence far from any stereotype. Her character, Siggy, is a powerful model of modern young womanhood, sexy, intelligent and streetwise. Carl Bland also stars as the fear-gripped Lester who doesn't open his mail and hasn't left the flat for months though he longs to go to Tibet. He looks like a loser but Siggy's energy and love easily extends to his character.

They are surrounded and well-supported by better-known actors like Michael Hurst, Rena Owen and Lucy Lawless who have small parts in this warm community of normal misfits. Careful costuming is used beautifully to establish the characters and it's all well-captured by cinematographer, Ruwe Harre.

It's a light and often hilarious story about unexpected events changing lives and bringing happiness. Edgy, modern and heartwarming it's neat and anarchic with lots of surprises and good social content and comment. Independently distributed, you'll have to catch it while you can. Review by ANDREW BUNNEY

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