(M) A film from Malta is pretty rare, so this very well made and upto-the-minute drama — which deals in part with the flood of North African refugees making their way to the island nation — is particularly welcome. Firsttime director Rebecca Cremona confidently unfolds a story based on real events, and the film combines suspense with a humanistic view of a very real social problem.
Miss You Already (M) Catherine Hardwicke’s Londonset Miss You Already is a rather grim film focused on serious illness and the strains it places on relationships. Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore) have been best friends since girlhood. Milly, who is now about 40 and with two young children, is told she has breast cancer. The next near two hours relentlessly follows her treatment and the stress it places on her marriage, family and friendships. Collette is never not worth watching and there are a few memorable scenes, but the overall result leaves one caring less than expected, notwithstanding how serious it all is.
Learning to Drive (M) An unremarkable feel-good movie from Catalan director Isabel Coixet about an abandoned wife (Patricia Clarkson) and an Sikh driving instructor (Ben Kingsley). The performances of these two fine actors give the small-scale film almost all of its resonance.
Desdemona “Shakespeare was a futurist. To take a black man and make him a main character was very courageous.” Malian singer Rokia Traore is talking about Desdemona, a concert cum multimedia event created by Nobel prize-winning American novelist Toni Morrison and experimental theatre and opera director Peter Sellars. American actress Tina Benko will resume the role of the Bard’s doomed heroine, in a conversation from beyond the grave with her nurse, Barbary (Traore), switching voices to channel other (dead) characters including Othello and their mothers. Roslyn Packer Theatre, 22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. Opens Friday, 8pm. Tickets: $77$129. Bookings: 1300 723 038 or online. Until October 25. Suzy Menkes in Conversation with Collette Dinnigan To discuss the recently opened retrospective exhibition of her designs and signature pieces, Collette Dinnigan will be in conversation with Vogue international editor Suzy Menkes. The exhibition contains objects from Dinnegan’s personal archives and unseen material, as well as garments worn by Nicole Kidman, Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie and Naomi Watts. Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo. Thursday, 4.30pm. Tickets: $52-$65. Bookings: (02) 9217 0111 or online.