MOVIE REVIEW: Three Summers full of quirky characters

Michael Caton in a scene from Three Summers.
Michael Caton in a scene from Three Summers. David Dare Parker

THE Castle was one of those movies that we loved for the sole reason that we could see a bit of ourselves in every character.

Now all these years later, Ben Elton, the writer of TV classics like The Young Ones and Blackadder, has shared his love for his adopted Australia in the quirky romantic comedy Three Summers.

Elton shot to fame in the 1980s as a stand-up comic and writer, and has a huge catalogue of work behind him including the musical We Will Rock You, and 15 best-selling novels.

For many years Elton has lived with his family in Fremantle, and he has a great affection for Western Australia.

Three Summers is his second movie as writer-director and is set at a summer music festival in WA, where the feisty lead singer of an Irish folk band (former Home & Away star Rebecca Breeds) meets a folk music-hating Theremin player (Irish actor Robert Sheehan from Misfits) and sparks start to fly.

Coming back to the festival year after year is a swag of characters including the fiercely Aussie Morris Dancer (Michael Caton), an indigenous dance troupe, a group of wine-loving empty nesters, a power tripping security guard, a wannabe girl rock band and some musical asylum seekers.

Magda Szubanski and Kelton Pell in Three Summers.
Magda Szubanski and Kelton Pell in Three Summers. David Dare Parker

All manner of stories take place as friendships old and new take place each year at the at the festival under the eye of community radio star Queenie (Magda Szubanski), who welcomes the campers back three summers in a row for a 'folking good time'.

Three Summers wastes no time setting up all the characters you'll get to know over the next two hours, and if you've ever been to a music festival, camping ground or pub, you're sure to find someone who you can relate to.

Deborah Mailman and John Waters  are reunited in Ben Elton's new comedy Three Summers.
Deborah Mailman and John Waters are reunited in Ben Elton's new comedy Three Summers. David Dare Parker

With a great cast spread throughout the movie, it's a who's who of Australian acting talent including Deborah Mailman, John Waters, Kelton Pell, Jacqueline McKenzie, Peter Rowsthorn and The Bondi Hipsters' Christiaan Van Vuuren and Nick Boshier in excellent cameos.

Three Summers highlights who we are in 2017 as it blends together a heap of opinions and issues in a light-hearted way, while keeping the audience entertained.

Rebecca Breeds and Robert Sheehan are very likeable leads, and their chemistry on screen is excellent, plus its always good to see the likes of John Waters with a guitar, Magda Szubanski being Magda Szubanski, and Michael Caton as a Morris Dancing grumpy Aussie grandad.

As an added bonus, there's also Peter Rowsthorn (from Kath & Kim) who doesn't have much to do, yet somehow manages to get you giggling each time he's on screen.

Ben Elton's movie is an Aussie romantic comedy that reminds us all what a beautiful country we live in, full of quirky people with a sense of humour so down to earth you could turn it into a vegie patch. It's clear he has a great love not only for how we do things, but what makes us laugh as a nation, and that's the long-forgotten adage of laughing at yourself.

Michael Caton and Magda Szubanski in Three Summers.
Michael Caton and Magda Szubanski in Three Summers. David Dare Parker

While it's a not a laugh-a-minute rollercoaster ride, thanks to a great cast, Three Summers delivers on entertainment like a good meal out. It leaves you feeling pleasantly satisfied for the drive home with a smile on yer dial, knowing that our adopted son Ben Elton has given you a fair shake of his rather plentiful comedic sauce bottle.

His movie is a pleasant refreshment in a year that has given us one action blockbuster bore after another. Yes, I'm pointing the finger at you Transformers.

Three Summers is a breath of fresh air, so fill your lungs and just enjoy yourself.


Stars: Robert Sheehan, Jacqueline McKenzie, Rebecca Breeds, Michael Caton, Deborah Mailman, John Waters, Kelton Pell

Director: Ben Elton

Rating: M

Verdict: 3.5/5 Stars

Topics:  australian film deborah mailman john waters michael caton movie review peter rowsthorn

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