Often dismissed in newspaper TV listings as a "May-December romance," the Australian Tim is much, much more than that. Based on a novel by Colleen McCullough (The Thorn Birds), the film stars Piper Laurie as Mary Horton, a lonely middle-aged American career woman who hires a handsome, mildly retarded young handyman named Tim, superbly played by 22-year-old Mel Gibson in his third screen role. At first keeping her distance, Mary is drawn closer to Tim as the days pass. When Tim's mother dies, Mary becomes his surrogate mother, a relationship that deepens into romantic love. Tim's older sister Dawn (Deborah Melville) resents Mary's "intrusion" into their lives, but Tim's dad Ron (Alwin Kurtz) blesses the relationship, realizing that it is beneficial to both parties. Eventually, Ron also dies, leaving Tim more reliant upon Mary than ever. At Ron's funeral, Dawn angrily lashes out at the grieving Mary, but Tim tries to patch things up. While the ending is ambiguous, we have hopes that Tim's innocent, unconditional love will help smooth out the rocky relationship between Dawn and Mary. Director Michael Pate deftly avoids all opportunities to cheapen or sensationalize the material; while Tim and Mary do end up in bed, it is a sweet moment, not a prurient one. Tim was produced for Australian television.