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Two Friends

Overview

Jane Campion's directorial debut feature, the made-for-TV drama Two Friends, is the story of two 14-year-old girls drifting apart in working-class Australia. Told with an inverted narrative, the friendship is dissolved at the beginning and then moves toward its highest point. As the film opens, high school student Louise Emma Coles gets a letter from Kelly Kris Bedenko, who writes about trying to live on her own after dropping out of school and moving away from home. Louise is disinterested in her former friend, ...
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Overview

Jane Campion's directorial debut feature, the made-for-TV drama Two Friends, is the story of two 14-year-old girls drifting apart in working-class Australia. Told with an inverted narrative, the friendship is dissolved at the beginning and then moves toward its highest point. As the film opens, high school student Louise Emma Coles gets a letter from Kelly Kris Bedenko, who writes about trying to live on her own after dropping out of school and moving away from home. Louise is disinterested in her former friend, preferring to practice the piano. In episodic segments titled by the change of seasons, the story captures the memorable and distressing moments between the two girls. Both children of divorces, Kelly finds no support from either her lenient father or her demanding stepfather, who refuses to let her attend the same high school as Louise, because he feels it is too elitist. Kelly finds some comfort in Louise's mom, a kindhearted and helpful single parent who lets the girls throw a Christmas party. Two Friends received a theatrical release in the U.S. after the success of Campion's The Piano 1993.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
A realistic, unsentimental portrait of the closeness of adolescent friendship, Two Friends was the film debut of director Jane Campion. It received a theatrical release in the U.S. ten years after being made for TV in Australia. The narrative structure is told backwards, telling the story of the disintegrated friendship back in time toward its highest peak, but is nowhere near as demanding as the reverse action in Christopher Nolan's Memento (2001). Nothing in the story really warrants the use of such a device, anyway; it is a simple, sad, and rarely seen drama of being a 15-year-old girl. The strong-headed Louise (Emma Coles) and the restless Kelly (Kris Bidenko) give nuanced performances as the troubled teenagers trying to forge a connection amidst the typical problems with boys, school, and, significantly, parents. The deceptively common subject matter is treated with significant care and tenderness. Almost cinéma vérité, Campion captures everyday activities like grocery shopping, talking on the phone, and watching late night movies on TV with a meaningful respect and grace. Other sparkling moments involve Louise's well-meaning mother, Janet (Kris McQuade); the relationship between the mother and daughter rings true of simultaneous closeness and reluctance. Though technically crude at times -- the poor sound recording coupled with the Australian accents makes some of the dialogue difficult to understand for the U.S. audience -- Two Friends nevertheless scores as an honest look at a deteriorating friendship and the impacts of parental involvement in shaping identity. Jane Campion would return to some of these themes in her successful black comedy Sweetie.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/17/2001
  • UPC: 784148004044
  • Original Release: 1986
  • Source: Milestone Video
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 80,156

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Emma Coles Louise
Kris Bidenko Kelly
Kris McQuade Louise's Mother Janet
Stephen Leeder Jim
Debra May Kelly's Mother Chris
Peter Hehir Kelly's Stepfather Malcolm
Tony Barry Kelly's Father Charlie
Steve Bisley Kevin
Sean Travers Matthews
Kerry Dwyer Alison
Giovanni Marangoni Renato
Paul Mason Father at Funeral
Lisa Rogers Little Helen
Amanda Frederickson Kate
Rory Delaney Wally
Emily Stocker Soula
Martin Armiger Philip
Technical Credits
Jane Campion Director
Jan Chapman Producer
Helen Garner Screenwriter
Janet Patterson Production Designer
Julian Penney Cinematographer
Bill Russo Editor
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