Cate Shortland's Somersault is a film that has the same affect on me every time I view it. I'm amazed that the intensity of this affect has not waned or decreased from numerous viewings. When you think about it, there is nothing particularly unique about the storyline of the film, which draws together various well-worn coming-of-age themes such as the need for acceptance, belonging and love, the discovery of desire, and the complexity of adult relationships. It's not so much the story itself which haunts me, but the manner in which it is told.
This film is best appreciated when it is picked apart and examined as a series of tender, vulnerable and simple images: a page from Heidi's childish diary, a paper snowflake ripped from a pastry packaging, locked fingers, a bare back, an exposed thigh. These images accumulate in meaning and you get the sense that there is a whole other world of consciousness to which you, as the audience, are not privy to, but which remains locked in Heidi's mind and gestures. One of my favourite scenes comes halfway through the film when Heidi plays with Joe's fingers. It's so simple really, and in any other film such play would be cliche, but here it isn't. I guess that's why I find Somersault touching.
This a brilliant Australian film, it makes me proud of our film industry and I think I'm starting to develop a real appreciation of Abbie Cornish as an actress. She manages to convince me every time.