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Monday, February 15, 2016

Careful He Might Hear You (1983)

In 1930s Australia, a young orphan (Nicholas Gledhill) lives with his aunt (Robyn Nevin) and uncle (Peter Whitford), a working class family. But when another aunt (Wendy Hughes), who has money and social position, decides the boy would be better off living with her, the child's life becomes a battlefield. Based on the award winning semi-autobiographical novel by Sumner Locke Elliott, this is a beautifully made film. Without any condescension, the director Carl Schultz (THE SEVENTH SIGN) lets us see through a child's eyes how the a family's complicated history threatens to destroy his childhood years. All of the adult characters are flawed to some degree but even at their worst, there's a compassion to them that prevents us from judging them too harshly. The acting is uniformly excellent with the 8 year old Gledhill giving a nuanced performance, Hughes turning our dislike into sympathy and a marvelous turn by John Hargreaves as the boy's absent father. There's also an old fashioned non stop score by Ray Cook that's gorgeous. 

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