INTRODUCING THE DWIGHTS
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
directors and movie studios. For instance, if you
want the quintessential 1950s homemaker, your
first choice will be Julianne Moore (a role she's
played to perfection but with variation in such
diverse films as
FAR FROM HEAVEN, THE
HOURS
, and THE PRIZEWINNER OF
DEFIANCE, OHIO
). If you want a blowsy,
overprotective British mother, the choice would
be Brenda Blethyn, who garnered an Oscar
nomination for such a role in
LITTLE VOICE and
has tackled some variant on the role in movies
like
MUSIC FROM ANOTHER ROOM and the
2005 remake of
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. In the
Australian feature
INTRODUCING THE
DWIGHTS
(which previously was screened at
Sundance under the title
CLUBLAND), Blethyn
gets to tear into another such part.

Here she's portraying Jean Dwight, a divorced
woman on the other side of fifty who is bitter
over the way her life turned out. Jean works
various local nightclubs performing a stand-up
act that isn't all that amusing. It seems that
when she was younger, Jean was an up and
coming talent in London and had she not
married an Australian singer who enjoyed a brief
career with a song on the charts, she might
have ended up as a successful TV star. At least,
that's her version of events. (Her home is
festooned with photos of comics like Benny Hill
and other notables.) Adding to her resentment
is the fact that said husband left her saddled
with two boys, mentally-challenged Mark
(Richard Wilson, light years away from his work
in 2006's
THE PROPOSITION) and shy Tim
(Khan Chittenden) who serves as mom's
chauffeur and de facto companion.

Mother and son, of course, are heading for a
showdown and it comes in the form of Jill
(Emma Booth), a young woman Tim meets in
the course of his job as a mover. They begin a
tentative romance that Jean takes every chance
to sabotage. She is nasty to Jill, calls her by
another name and generally dismisses her. Tim,
however, is undeterred and makes his intentions
of leaving home known. That leads to a showy
confrontation which allows Blethyn to feast on
the scenery and whatever else gets in her way.

Written by Keith Thompson (most of whose
credits are for Australian television) and
directed by Cherie Nowlan, whose first film
THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE won awards for
actress Cate Blanchett but was relegated to
direct to DVD release in the US (under the title
THE WEDDING PARTY), INTRODUCING THE
DWIGHTS
is at its best when it concentrates on
the young lovers. Chittenden and Booth have a
pleasant chemistry and make for a believable
couple.

There's adequate support from Russell Dykstra
as Jean's fey manager, Philip Quast as her
quasi-lover, and Frankie J. Holden as her
ex-husband.

Blethyn gets to tear up the screen as the
self-centered force of nature that Jean is and
she relishes the opportunity. Despite playing
such a harridan, there's something inherently
nice about the actress that shines through and
while Jean is hardly sympathetic, the actress
attempts to make the audience understand her
and her lost dreams. For the most part, she is
successful, although personally I wouldn't want
to be around Jean Dwight.


Rating:                C
MPAA Rating:        R for sexual content
                          and language
Running time:      105 mins.

 Viewed at Magno Review One
L to R: Emma Booth as Jill, Khan Chittenden as Tim and
Brenda Blethyn as Jean in director Cherie Nowlan’s
INTRODUCING THE DWIGHTS,
a Warner Independent Pictures release.
Photo credit: Daniel Smith
© 2007 Goalpost Film Ltd.
R for sexual
content and
language.