It wasn’t that bad to be honest. I think part of me wants to root for this film since I love a good indy movie, and I especially love Toni Collete and whatever the guys name is who plays her counterpart the shark hunter. I have to admit, I’m not sure if it’s australian films in general or if the pacing was just a tad off, but for the beginning frames of this film, I was completely lost and unfortunately that’s what brings the rating down for me. But as a whole, I thought the film offered a good take away and a somewhat relatable message for the awkward in us all.
Jane Moochmore: That’s Michelle. She’s mental. We all are.
Shaz: I’ll be the judge of that.
The basic plot of the movie is that you have a family of girls with a mother who appears to be rather “mental” and is having a tough time of taking care of her family as her idiot of a politician husband continues to drag himself further and further away. It seems the mother’s best efforts in maintaining order are all derived from the Sound of Music, hence the opening scene that you’ll notice in the trailer. But when you take a deeper look, as Shaz a potentially deranged babysitter, does herself you can see that the entire neighborhood is crazy and it’s only the labels we place on ourselves that seem to inform our behaviors and confidence.
This film really reminded me of Angus, which you’ve either seen and loved or completely forgotten. The common theme there being, “Normal is just a setting on your washing machine,” which I think blends well with “Mental” and the themes they were hoping to portray. I think as a whole, the film finds its humor, or humour I should say, in attacking the status quo. While Shaz is an exaggerated version of what it looks like to go against the grain, when she does it right, it’s hard not to root for the underdog. There’s one particular scene in general that excites me when she finally confronts the seemingly “perfect” neighbor with the fact that she’s actually OCD and just as looney as the rest of them.
I think this movie really strikes home for punk rock kids in the suburbs. Granted, if you’re too punk rock you’re probably too cool to get it. But if you grew up rebelling against the suburbs or if a typical family vacation includes three families in cabin with one bathroom (my current situation) then this will probably be right up your alley. This movie won’t change your life, but if you’re looking for something a little left of center to pass the time, “Mental” won’t let you down. It was worth a laugh at the very least and considering your current choices at Red Box you could definitely do worse.