Contemporary World Cinema

A Month of Sundays

Matthew Saville

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A wrong number leads to an unlikely friendship between a middle-aged Adelaide realtor (Anthony LaPaglia) and an elderly woman (Julia Blake), in this quirky comedy-drama from Australian writer-director Matthew Saville.

Striking an exquisite balance between the sombre and the comic, the strange and the familiar, Australian writer-director Matthew Saville's third feature concerns a curiously unambitious Adelaide real-estate agent adrift in the terra incognita of middle age.

As a realtor, Frank Mollard (Anthony LaPaglia) is oddly passive. As a recent divorcé, he is curiously companionable with his ex-wife, Wendy (Justine Clarke). Not exactly impenetrable, but certainly not demonstrative either, Frank seems chronically distracted by life's little details. But things begin to change for him when he receives a phone call from his dead mother.

Actually, it turns out to have been just a wrong number, and Frank winds up befriending the caller, Sarah (Julia Blake). But to Sarah's son, Damien (Donal Forde), an HR-department IT manager, something about this realtor does not compute. Is Frank a shark scoping out a potential property? Is he a lonely man looking to replace his dearly departed mother? It's possible that not even Frank himself knows for sure.

Throughout A Month of Sundays, Saville keeps the proceedings divertingly quirky, while fostering the sense that feelings long held in check are now welling up, and are about to demand reckoning. Frank's job as a seller of houses takes on significance as we are gently led to consider how our homes and our psyches alike are affected by the lingering aura of absent people and things. This rich subtext is elegantly alluded to in the charismatic performances of Blake — whom connoisseurs of Australian cinema will remember from her stunning work in Paul Cox's Innocence — and LaPaglia, an always-delightful actor who is given a chance here to fully shine.

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