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Praise (John Curran, 1998) wr. Andrew McGahan based on his novel, prod. Martha Coleman, dp Dion Beebe; Peter Fenton, Sacha Horler, Tex Perkins, Marta Dusseldorp, Joel Edgerton; AFI Nomination 1999; 98 min./100 min.
I first saw Horler, as I suppose most people did, in this horrible film ... which, however, contains - from her - one of the most courageous performances I've ever seen. She followed it up, ten years later, in My Year Without Sex - again allowing her body to go through things that no Hollywood star would allow to happen for any number of Oscars. In the later film Horler's character has had an aneurysm (which is why she can't risk having an orgasm - whence the title) whereas in this one she 'only' has psioriasis (or eczema), plus nudity and drug use (parental warnings :)
Here's half of Andrew Urban's review for Urbancinefile, in which he suggests that Peter Fenton had acting ability which he clearly did not have: look at the rest of his career.
Working from a novel, where the reader provides much of the fill, Praise is almost claustrophobic in the isolation in which it presents the story and its characters. The outside world hardly intrudes. It hopes for post modernist praise with its exploration of a weird affair between two unfortunates, the film’s relevance is restricted to lost souls, I suspect. That leaves many of us out of contact, and not only on the basis of age. However, while I find the film’s ambiance [sic] singularly unappealing, I do recognise that it boasts two brilliant screen performances. Sacha Horler’s desperate and unappealing character (physically as well as temperamentally) is fully, openly and bravely realised; this is not acting, it is being. Fenton, too, gives Gordon dimension and substance, sometimes reminiscent of Peter Coyote’s complex, vulnerable early work.
Garry Gillard | New: 26 September, 2018 | Now: 27 June, 2020