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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Sirens

Starring: Hugh Grant, Tara Fitzgerald
Director: John Duigan
Rated: R
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: March 1994
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Sam Neill, Elle MacPherson, Portia De Rossi, Kate Fischer, Pamela Rabe, Ben Mendelsohn, John Polson, Mark Gerber, Julia Stone

Review by Brian Koller
2½ stars out of 4

"Sirens" is a drama set in circa 1930 Australia. Hugh Grant plays a minister given the task of stopping an eccentric painter (Sam Neill) from showing a blasphemous painting. Along with his beautiful but inhibited wife Tara Fitzgerald, he visits Neill's estate. While Grant argues for the painting's removal, Fitzgerald becomes involved with Neill's stable of models, which include smug Elle MacPherson, wicked Kate Fischer, waifish Portia De Rossi and blind mute Adonis Merk Gerber.

Neill is asexual in all areas except painting. But all his paintings feature nudes, especially nude women. "Sirens" has a great deal of frontal nudity. (If you have always wanted to see MacPherson's body beyond what the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue shows, this is your opportunity.) The models are not content merely to bare all for Neill, and their eroticism leads to lesbian imagery, and (especially) fantasies with buff Gerber. Predictably, the reserved Fitzgerald becomes caught up in their sensual world. Surprisingly, Grant isn't too disturbed by this, perhaps because he consideres himself a progressive.

Assumedly, Neill's character has inherited a large fortune. Otherwise, it is difficult to believe he can afford his lifestyle. He lives in a fantastic estate with woods, cliffs, and lakes, and has at least eight dependents including himself.

The liberal attitude of the estate extends to the raising of Neill's twin toddler daughters. They have the run of the house, and no notice is taken of their perpetually rude comments.

"Sirens" manages to be a marginally good film despite its many problems. The story lags at times, De Rossi's innocent character isn't completely credible, and plot turns are both predictable and unlikely (a train derailment strands Grant and Fitzgerald at the Neill estate, and prim Fitzgerald becomes involved with the decadent models). Still, production values and casting helps, and there's plenty of eroticism served up to maintain interest.

Copyright 1994 Brian Koller

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