Radiance - rated - Tepid

This is the review I wrote when I saw Radiance at the 1998 Sydney Film Festival in June....

"This film is anchored by three brilliant performances: Rachael Maza, Trisha Morton Thomas and Deborah Mailman give us excellent portraits of three Aboriginal women, and with not a stereotype in sight. Deborah Mailman's Nona is exuberant and fresh, and I nominate hers for the best smile on current film - overtaking the last title-holder, Toni Colette. Rachael Maza is elegant and cool as Cressy, but finally it is Trisha Morton Thomas' performance which astonishes.

The film is well-directed, looks great, and is a great advance in Aboriginal cinema. But I do have a major problem with the script. I think it has too many gimmicks (Radiance nougat for heavens sake? That black hat!). And I think is has a big sag in the middle of Act 2. The form itself is a bit of a cliché: the idea of 3 siblings returning for a parent's death or illness and confronting each other, themselves and their pasts is an idea we have seen done many times before. But this time the fact that the 3 are modern Aboriginal women does give the idea some pep and a few new angles.

The director changed the ending of Louis Nowra's play for the film, and I agree with her decision. Rachel Perkins knows what she is doing, and she does it very well. The ending is delicious, and just right for now. We need that kind of an ending right now."

I still have the same view now.