Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Australian Reviews: Seriously good fun!

Julie Rigg at ABC National conducted an extensive interview with director Stephan Elliott and co-writer Sheridan Jobbins. In the 'e-mail' section, she sums up the film by saying: "The most surprising entertainment of the week - a remake of Noel Coward's 1924 play Easy Virtue. It's delightful entertainment - and it's directed, of all people, by Stephan Elliott. What?"

Margaret Pomeranz At The Movies conducted an extensive interview with director Stephan Elliott It is plain from their conversation that she thoroughly enjoyed the film.

Fiona Sewell, reviewing 'Easy Virtue' for ABC Radio said: "It's no Priscilla but there are plenty of drama queens! There's also lots of witty dialogue, good performances and sumptuous costumes. This is good fun, with some serious moments thrown in. The soundtrack is terrific, with plenty of Noel Coward and Cole Porter, and a wonderful version of Sex Bomb."

Giles Hardie at the Sydney Morning Herald's on-line website said that "With a combination of Noel Coward's witty one-liners; great performances from a terrific ensemble; and inspired directing by Australian Stephan Elliott - this is a thoroughly enjoyable comedic and fun film. What's more - with genuine conflict between strong characters in a lavish setting there is both humour and drama to spare."

'Easy Virtue' was the closing night film at The Adelaide Film Festival. In reviewing the festival, several journalists also swept 'Easy Virtue' into their net of praise:

Michael Body writing for The Australian: "It's an adaptation of Noel Coward's Easy Virtue, that has Elliott back in the main game. It's a breezy and well-received film starring Kristin Scott-Thomas and the unlikely Jessica Biel."

Andrew Fenton at The Adelaide Advertiser: "Elliott's adaptation retains some of the tone and themes from the original play but it's considerably lighter and funnier, with a triumphant ending that transforms quite a dark scene into an audience pleasing, feel-good moment. "

And The Age's Paul Kalina wrote in a lengthy summary: "The star-studded Noel Coward adaptation Easy Virtue was the perfect choice for closing the festival on Sunday night. For starters, it brought the house down at its two concurrent, capacity screenings. Secondly, it is co-written and directed by Stephan Elliott, one of Australian cinema's most successful talents, despite not having even worked here for 12 years since Welcome to Woop-Woop.

Elliott, who adapted the Coward play with Sheridan Jobbins, takes a screwball approach to the material, a raucous period-set comedy in which the son (played by Ben Barnes) of a fading aristocratic family brings his new wife home to meet the mostly mortified family. She is, after all, older than him, a racing-car driver, an American and a divorcee whose name has appeared in the scandal sheets.

Kristin Scott Thomas, Jessica Biel and Colin Firth are pitch perfect in their respective roles, while the script deftly draws out the stinging attacks on upper-class values and marital codes. If anything, Elliott's perspectives as an outsider serve him well here. It's blisteringly funny at times, even when it resorts to a semi-slapstick routine involving an unfortunate Chihuahua."