Opal Dream (2005)

PETER CATTANEO

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.

Australia/United Kingdom, 2005.  Academy Features, BBC Films, Sherman Pictures, The South Australian Film Corporation, UK Film Council.  Screenplay by Peter Cattaneo, , , based on the novella Pobby And Dingan by Ben Rice.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

If one sequence in The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert wasn’t enough to convince you that Coober Pedy is a tough town for a sensitive soul, this film will seal the deal. While dad spends his days blowing up the earth in search of an opal deposit which will make the family rich, his daughter Kellyanne plays with her imaginary friends. Her devotion to these unseen companions is so strong, in fact, that when Kellyanne believes they’ve gone missing she begs her father to take her out to the opal mines in the middle of the night to find them. Instead they find trouble as they wander onto a neighbouring dig and are mistaken for “ratters” (thieves, basically) and begin a process of ostracism from the rest of the town that is not helped by the little girl’s insistence on finding her disappeared loved ones. This is a sweet outsider’s tale that is blessed with excellent performances, especially from  as the girl in question, and  as her brother, sensitive turns by the all the adults, and strong direction by Academy Award nominee Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty). Australia looks gorgeous in every shot, even the most desolate landscapes of dusty opal fields, and the ending is wonderfully moving. It’s a good one for the whole family to enjoy.

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