March 21, 2012

At the Movies: Looking for Alibrandi

Josie Alibrandi is an scholarship student at a prestigious All-Girls catholic school where she's finishing Year 12 (a.k.a. Senior Year). An excellent student, she hopes to go to university and study law. Her life is defined in a lot of ways by the two women in her life: her Nonna Katia and her single mom Christina. Her father has never been in the picture, though Josie knows who he is and in which part of Australia he lives. 

Josie is used to being a team with her mother, even though they don't see eye to eye in some regards, but with her Nonna Katia, Josie clashes constantly. An Italian immigrant, Nonna Katia has pretty outdated ideas about the mixing of "Italian" and "Australian" and has a very Us versus Them mentality. Katia's relationship with Christina is also a bit strained, mostly because Katia showed little support to Christina when she got pregnant at sixteen.

And things are about to be shaken up in the Alibrandi household. First, when Josie meets Jacob Coote, who goes to a public school, can make up a speech at the drop of the hat, and is the resident bad-boy of Josie's life. And then, Michael Andretti, Josie's faceless father moves back from Adelaide to Sydney... and lets just say that their first meeting is everything but ideal. There is also John Barton a sensible, nice, smart and rich guy in whom Josie finds something of a kindred spirit. 

Surrounded by her friends, her family and even her school nemesis, Josie is set out to live the year that might very well change and define the rest of her life. 

Looking for Alibrandi is based on the novel by the same name by Melina Marchetta, and though it follows the book pretty closely, it has some deliberate differences that keep it from being exactly alike. However, I'm happy to say that all my favorite parts of the book made it to the movie. 

Alibrandi is a movie that feels very Australian and its a lot of fun. Though nothing can ever compete with one's own imagination, it was easy to see the actors as the characters. I particularly liked Anthony LaPaglia as Michael Andretti. 

I do have to say that sometimes it was hard to understand what Nonna Katia was saying, like at all. And that I found her a bit more likable in the book.

All in all, Looking for Alibrandi is a must see for any Marchetta fan, and a very nice teen movie even if you haven't read the book. I give it a B+

This review is part of Marchetta Madness, hosted by Chachic's Book Nook 

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