4 out of 5 stars
You never know what will trigger a memory or how it may become an objective of affection. In the latest Australian journey to the world of family relationships. June Again becomes a journey into the past spurred on by a set of dresser drawers. Even though the film is not about a piece of furniture, it is about the mending of familial ties and lost love. This story does provide an unexpected purpose to this endearing tale.
June Wilton (Noni Hazlehurst) has spent close to five years in a facility for those who experience dementia. Her family visits to ensure she is okay and hope to see a glimpse of her former self. She had been a dominating matriarch for her loved ones as well as a driven businesswoman who had become a hallmark of the handmade wallpaper community. After a devastating stroke, June had been left with few memories and without the ability to communicate with those involved in her day-to-day life.
Until one night of restless sleep, she awakens to complete lucidity and an underlying desire to make up for her lost five years. As the driven woman escapes the facility for a day, June seeks out her daughter, Ginny (Claudia Karvan) and son, Devon (Stephen Curry). Her goal is to see how they have been living and recover her beloved dresser drawers. All before she loses her recently acquired ability to live out her former life.
Writer and director JJ Winlove has managed to provide a glimpse into a world that many would wish would occur for them with their ailing relatives. Consider what it would be like if one was given a couple of days with their family members as they were before being swallowed by the unforgiving world of mental illness. Even though her children have to deal with the good and bad aspects of their personalities and opinions, how marvelous it would be to have one more day with them. To receive a hug, hearing their voice or merely holding their hand with purpose is conveyed in vivid detail in the charming film.
Noni Hazlehurst (Ladies in Black) proves that she is a national treasure and embodies June Wilton with convincing effectiveness. She manages to hold onto that middle ground between a domineering mother figure and the woman who her children will yearn to lovingly embrace. A performance that is supported brilliantly by Curry and Karvan as the children who cannot believe the brief gift they have been given by their mother’s mental state. Then to include the quaint and poignant love story that involves the hand-made piece of furniture, this becomes an unassumingly wonderful little film. This life journey involves real-life situations and language, but one that will make everyone want to pick up the phone afterward and call your mum and say, I love you.
REEL DIALOGUE: What is the value of parents?
There is nothing quite like the love of a parent. Even in the worst of experiences, the love, support and hug from your father or mother should have a soothing effect on your very existence. June Again beautifully provides a glimpse into the value of family and especially the need for a parent's love.
This relationship can come in the form of blood relations, a blended family or through adoption and shows that no price can be put on the importance of parents in the life of a child. Have you told your parents how much they mean to you today?
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12