In the beginning Billie narrates, ‘We were just kids’. It’s as though she’s using this to justify her misbehaviours like so many of us have done when remembering our past. Setting horse paddocks on fire, touching each other up at skate parks or sleeping with a friend’s lover is forgiven because we were just kids. There are so many nostalgic moments in Rhys Graham’s feature film debut Galore that will resonate with audiences of all ages, and that’s what makes this film so bloody good.
This coming-of-age tale could be set during any decade in any small town around the country but Galore is very much set in Billie’s world. Together for almost every moment Billy and her best friend, Laura (Lily Sullivan), spend their school holidays getting wasted, swimming in the dam and partying. Occasionally Billie sneaks off with Laura’s boyfriend, Danny (Toby Wallace) for quickies in the bush – they’re falling in love while Laura is developing a crush on Isaac (Aliki Matangi).
As a looming bushfire burns in the distance the burden of secrets begins to weigh on the group. When the bushfire begins to close in their behaviour becomes more erratic, secrets begin to unravel and their lives are put in danger one risky caper at a time.
“Not since Larry Clark’s Kids has a film about adolescence been this frenetic and raw.”
Rhys Graham’s poetic script translates beautifully into impressive, captivating cinema. His background in documentary filmmaking helps give Galore an authentic realism unmatched by many other releases this year. It makes for a refreshing change. His natural flowing style is paired perfectly with Stefan Duscio’s gorgeous cinematography.
The heart of Galore lies within its talented young cast. Mental’s Lily Sullivan is a standout as a fragile Laura, while Neighbours’ Toby Wallace and Jonah from Tonga’s Aliki Matangi are both convincing in their respective roles. But it’s lead actress Ashleigh Cummings who steals this show. While Billie’s life begins to abruptly derail, any stereotypes Cummings’ career has attracted will be quickly dismantled. Listen out for her name come next years AACTA awards.
Not since Larry Clark’s Kids has a film about adolescence been this frenetic and raw – not as gritty or depraved but Galore is as equally confronting.
Directed by: Rhys Graham
Satrring: Ashleigh Cummings, Lily Sullivan, Toby Wallace and Aliki Matangi
Review by: Matthew Eeles