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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - Stephen Romei David Strat­ton

Midnight Oil: 1984 (M) Ray Ar­gall’s ab­sorb­ing doc­u­men­tary Midnight Oil: 1984 fo­cuses on the year when the Oils did a na­tional tour with their new al­bum, Red Sails in the Sun­set, and lead singer Peter Gar­rett ran for the fed­eral Se­nate on be­half of the new­born (and now dead) Nu­clear Dis­ar­ma­ment Party. When the band em­barked on the 1984 tour, Ar­gall tagged along with the idea of turn­ing the road trip into a doc­u­men­tary. Three decades later, that has hap­pened and the re­sult is re­mark­able. The sec­ond half of the movie fo­cuses on Gar­rett’s Se­nate bid and how he tried to jug­gle pol­i­tics and rock ’n’ roll. He grows into the new role. The fo­cus on one year, 1984, is a pow­er­ful re­minder that his­tory isn’t just what I learned (and liked) at school: the Ro­mans and Greeks, the First Fleet, the wars and so on. It is also what hap­pened last week, last month, last year, last decade. This is first and fore­most a doc­u­men­tary about a rock band. Oils fans will not be dis­ap­pointed. The footage of them pre­par­ing and then per­form­ing their hits is ar­rest­ing. Ar­gall does take events past 1984 as well, so that by the end we know how every­thing turned out. For now, that is, as there could be more to come. Tully (M) Marlo is about to give birth for the third time, and she isn’t cop­ing very well. She lives in the outer sub­urbs of New York with her hus­band, Drew, who is al­ways busy and not much help, and she al­ready has her hands full with Sarah, who has reached that awk­ward age, and Jonah, who is prob­a­bly autis­tic (the word isn’t used). Few films have de­picted the chal­lenges of moth­er­hood quite so un­com­pro­mis­ingly. Drew isn’t mak­ing that much money, yet Marlo, a cynic and re­al­ist at heart, is loath to ac­cept an offer of fi­nan­cial help from her much more pros­per­ous brother Craig. Ul­ti­mately, though, the offer of a “night nanny” proves too en­tic­ing to knock back, and so en­ter Tully, a hy­per-ef­fi­cient 20-some­thing who is there to help. Tully moves in and sets about car­ing for both the in­fant and Marlo. She cleans up the place, bakes cakes, dis­penses youth­ful wis­dom; noth­ing is a bother for her. To Marlo she’s a marvel, al­most too good to be true. And as writ­ten by Di­ablo Cody and played by Macken­zie Davis, she’s a breath of fresh air be­cause, un­like Marlo, she can cope with any­thing and every­thing. This is a dra­matic com­edy in which the hu­mour emerges from the sit­u­a­tions in which the char­ac­ters find them­selves. All this is very el­e­gantly pack­aged, and di­rec­tor Ja­son Reit­man con­firms his ex­per­tise at bring­ing to the screen sto­ries about hus­bands and wives, par­ents and chil­dren, and free spir­its such as Tully.

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