Saturday 22 June 2024

Movie Review: Ladies In Black (2018)

Genre: Dramedy  
Director: Bruce Beresford  
Starring: Julia Ormond, Angourie Rice, Rachael Taylor, Alison McGirr  
Running Time: 109 minutes  

Synopsis: Sydney, Australia, 1959. The sparkling Goode's department store is ready for the Christmas shopping rush. Having just finished her schooling, 16 year-old Lisa (Angourie Rice) joins the team of sales ladies in the women's fashion department as a temporary apprentice. She meets saleswomen Patty (Alison McGirr), who is having marriage problems; Fay (Rachael Taylor) who is disillusioned with Australian men; and Magda (Julia Ormond), an immigrant from Europe who runs the luxury dress department. As the summer progresses, Lisa is influenced by her new surroundings and starts her transition to adulthood.

What Works Well: The adaptation of Madeleine St. John's book is a charming coming-of-age story, free of villains, full of good intentions and humorous commentary, and enriched with societal shifts occurring within a time-and-place context. Lisa is looking to the future just as young women's opportunities are expanding, but she has to navigate her parents' entrenched attitudes. The locals treat immigrants like Magda as exotic outsiders, but the newcomers are anyway eager to nudge their way towards integration and participate in nation building, as Fay finds out when her search for a man takes an unexpected turn. Director Bruce Beresford demonstrates genuine care for each of his characters, and starting from Lisa dropping into the Goode's puddle, expands the storytelling rings with practiced grace.

What Does Not Work As Well: Sweetness and light dominate, sometimes to excess. 

Conclusion: The outfit may be black, but the attitude is optimistically bright.

All Ace Black Movie Blog Reviews are here.

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