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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Rain

Starring: Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki, Aaron Murphy
Director: Christine Jeffs
Rated: NR
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: April 2002
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Marton Csokas, Sarah Peirse, Alistair Browning

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Christine Jeffs's hauntingly sad RAIN tells the coming-of-age story of a 14-year-old girl named Janey. Janey, who is played with touching innocence by Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki, is conflicted and confused, pulled between childhood and womanhood. She loves frolicking in the ocean with her much younger brother, Jim (Aaron Murphy), but she also feels compelled to mimic her mom's behaviors, which are mainly bad. Will these opposing forces in her life get her into trouble? Of course, but not necessarily in way that you might expect.

In addition to its honest -- but never graphic or overly explicit -- depiction of the problems of raging hormones, the movie does a masterful job of showing us alcoholism as grungy and despicable. Too often films subtly glamorize drunks even while supposedly preaching against them. Janey's parents, Kate (Sarah Peirse, HEAVENLY CREATURES) and Ed (Alistair Browning, THE LORD OF THE RINGS), are competing alcoholics with Kate clearly in the lead. Drinking from dawn to dusk, Kate sets one bad example after another for her impressionable daughter.

Recently Kate began flirting with an itinerate photographer, Cady (Marton Csokas, THE LORD OF THE RINGS), when they both got soused at one of the many drunken parties that Kate and Ed throw at their small house. Extramarital affairs are made particularly loathsome in the film. After kissing Cady in the bathroom, Kate ends up barfing her guts out. (If you look closely, you'll see that the film is filled with small messages. Observe, for example, the priorities of Janey's parents. They have unlimited funds for booze, but Janey is forced to share her small bedroom with her brother -- something not particularly appropriate given her age.)

"You get everything so wrong!" Janey yells at her mother. Truer words were never spoken, and yet Janey finds herself constantly compelled to imitate her mother, whom she despises. Janey keeps trying to drink, smoke, etc. The "etc." turns out to be the most troublesome.

RAIN is a gripping movie, played with performances that are all understated and touching. It's a sad tale but a moving one.

RAIN runs 1:32. It is not rated but would be R for brief nudity, sexuality and underage drinking and smoking. It would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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