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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Flirting
Directed by John Duigan
MGM Home Entertainment 10/92 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - scenes of teen sexuality

Flirting is the second in a planned trilogy of semi-autobiographical films written and directed by Australian John Duigan. Danny (Noah Taylor), who struggled with adolescent friendship in The Year My Voice Broke (1987), is now enrolled in an all boys' school. The year is 1965. His stutter and his interest in French existentialism give him an outsider status.

During a debate, Thandiwe (Thandie Newton), the daughter of an African university professor, realizes that Danny is a kindred spirit. He pokes fun at rugby, and she ridicules popular music. They become friends. Thandiwe expands his horizons and gives him hope that he won't have to give up his soul to win the admiration of a woman.

Duigan, as in the first film, has a knack for conveying the universal anguish of adolescence without sacrificing the sharp particularities of the Australian setting. There are several humorous incidents as boys and girls from both schools wrestle with the confusions of sexuality, peer pressures, and adult authority figures. Because of her adventures with Danny, Thandiwe is befriended by the school's most popular girl (Nicole Kidman) who has some secrets of her own.

In Flirting, Danny and Thandiwe become not only friends and lovers but also soul mates. They awaken and acknowledge each other's wildness, creativity, and rebelliousness. During their brief time together, they spur each other on to new fields of wonder. This unique alliance gives them both the strength to move on to the next stage of their lives with self-confidence.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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