A crazy little thing called Mental . . .
Not everyone will go crazy for they should, writes but
OU don’t have to be crazy to relax and reap the rewards of PJ Hogan’s fact-inspired, madcap comedy drama Mental – but it helps.
Like his first unlikely Aussie boxoffice hit Muriel’s Wedding, the locally filmed Mental is a naughty but nice suburban story based on writer/director Hogan’s fascinating family life.
Unable to cope with five demanding teenage daughters – lead by local newcomer Lily Sullivan in her first acting venture as Coral – and her philandering politician husband Barry (Anthony LaPaglia), Shirley Moochmore (Rebecca Gibney) is sent to a mental institution to recover from a nervous breakdown.
The drama snowballs when Barry picks up hitchhiker Shaz (Toni Collette) to look after the dysfunctional girls.
Not everyone will be comfortable with many of the issues raised by Mental. Some will find it skates too close to the bone, making light of a serious subject. But that’s exactly the point of it.
For as long as people find the subject of mental illness a tricky one to discuss, the world will need films like Mental to help stimulate the kind of debate required to help society deal and heal.
If, as Sir Peter Ustinov once said, comedy is simply a funny way of being serious, Mental is a timely triumph.
Some audiences will find Mental’s brand of humour distasteful; others will think you’re a fruitcake if you don’t find it funny. But as Mental reassures us, at the end of the day, we’re all fruitcakes.
Admit it. You’re mental. I’m mental. We’re all just a bit mental. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
opens on October 4, with advance screenings from tomorrow until Sunday at The Arts Centre Gold Coast, Harbour Town, Robina, Australia Fair.
Deborah Mailman (second from left) and Toni Collette (arms raised) lead a wonderful cast of newcomers who play the Moochmore girls in director PJ Hogan’s locally filmed comedy/drama