Starring: Charles Tingwell, Julia Blake
Director: Paul Cox
Innocence has won audience awards at the Toronto, Montreal, Taormina, Sydney and Las Vegas film festivals. Julia Blake and Terry Norris were nominated at the AFI awards, but missed out. I went to this film expecting it to be good. I came away very disappointed.
Andreas (Charles Tingwell) and Claire (Julia Blake) fell in love as teenagers during the war in Belgium. At the end of the war they were parted. Over 50 years later, now both living in Australia, they meet again and though Julia is married to John (Terry Norris) and Andreas is widowed with a 20-something daughter, they fall in love all over again. The new affair causes their worlds to be turned upside down until it becomes clear that the relationship will not last a lifetime.
Writer/director Paul Cox explores some interesting issues in this film. The reality of mature love, compromises made along the way, being torn between commitment and passion, life and mortality.
The characters are fairly simple too. It’s hard to believe that Andreas would be so unmindful of what John is going through as his marriage looks to be disintegrating and I hope priests are not as dopey as Chris Haywood’s hospital chaplain. It is all too contrived.
For these reasons I’m afraid I agree with Julia Blake. I wonder why this little film has gone down so well with audiences. Maybe I’m missing the necessary innocence to enjoy it.