52 Tuesdays (2014)

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“Same time, every week, without fail.”

While I wish I had time to get thoughts down as soon as I watched it, at the same time I’m glad I didn’t because, as sad as it is, 52 Tuesdays hasn’t stuck with me as much as I had hoped.

There is much to applaud about Sophie Hyde’s narrative debut. It takes a potentially gimmicky, problematic concept and goes with it quite nicely, making the production of the film quite enthralling to read about. For non-actors, the performances are great, and there’s something uniquely moving (like will be found in Boyhood, I presume) about watching characters personalities, dress, and appearance change and develop over a year, in real time.

However, this is where the majority of the films’ issues lie, mostly through no fault of its own. When playing the same character once a week for a year, they tend to become ingrained in the actors’ psyche, which is not always best for the performance. It results in the feeling that the character has been overwritten, even when it hasn’t been, moving from being complex and layered to wafer-thin, where every beat of an action has been laid out bare.

This, added with the fact that the character of Billie is at timesincredibly infuriating makes for a film that is hard to feel emotionally attached to or find anything redeeming about.

(Preface: sorry if this paragraph makes me sound like an entitled idiot. I promise I’m not.)

Being a girl around Billie’s age, I expected to be able to empathise with her actions quite a bit, and I did to what she was going through at home, to quite an extent, but other times, I was just wishing that she could see that what she was doing is so wrong. This is not something that usually bothers me, but I just couldn’t push away the fact that she’s someone I would usually avoid with a ten-foot pole. In fact, 52 Tuesdays had me sometimes wishing that the focus was solely on James’ year instead.

52 Tuesdays, while the close proximity of the actors to the production doesn’t always work in its favour, is a fine film, and certainly a landmark in recent Australian cinema. An intriguing, assured take on a character study, Sophie Hyde is definitely one to watch in the future.

Side note: the final Tuesday is my birthday!

Rating: 3.5/5

-Ella

52 Tuesdays received a limited release on May 1.

MA (strong sex scenes), 109 mins.

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