The Caterpillar Wish

 
Directed by: Sandra Sciberras
Written by:Sandra Sciberras
Starring: Susie Porter, Victoria Thaine, Wendy Hughes, Philip Quast, Robert Mammone, Khan Chittenden
Released: June 8, 2006
Grade: A-

17-year-old Emily Woodbridge (Thaine) lives with her mother, Susan (Porter), in a small township outside of Adelaide.  For years, Emily has been quietly obsessed with finding her father.  The story from her mother is that her dad was a stranger who once came through town.  By the time she was pregnant, the man had long gone and so there was no way of getting letting him know.

Emily is a budding photographer and during her spare time, is somewhat of a voyeur.  She innocently hides at service stations and restaurants and takes photographs of male tourists.  The photos are kept in a scrapbook under the distorted illusion that perhaps one of the photos is that of her father.

Susan and Emily are a close as a mother and daughter could be but Emily’s increasing curiosity threatens to divide them.  Susan does not want to reflect on the past and keeps many secrets to herself.  When Emily tracks down her grandparents (who she has never met before), she learns that her mother has not been entirely truthful about her father and other important details.  Emily’s journey of self discovery will affect not only herself but others in the town.

The Caterpillar Wish is a terrific film where all of its elements have come together nicely.  In the leading role, newcomer Victoria Thaine is beautiful to watch on screen.  Her character has an endearing sweetness that helps generate an emotional connection with the audience.  This breakout performance should see many opportunities open up for Thaine.  Susie Porter (Better Than Sex, Bootmen) is a great casting choice as the mother.  She has a warm, down-to-earth look and this is as good as we’ve seen her in a long while.

Sandra Sciberras has been a crew member on several Australian films and whilst this is her first big feature in the director's seat, her experience shows.  She has crafted a film which draws you in.  The film is more a drama than a thriller but its intriguing story will keep you thinking to its conclusion.  Also enhancing the experience is a gentle film score from Burkhard Dallwitz (The Truman Show).  It’s one of my favourite film scores of the year and I’m hoping to purchase the soundtrack if it is released.

American blockbusters are dominating Australian cinemas at present but if you’re looking for a top film and you’re looking to support Aussie cinema then you can look no further.