Twenty years may have passed since writer/director PJ Hogan’s iconic Muriel’s Wedding, but the wait has been worth it with the release of his outrageous new movie, Mental. Drawing on his own personal experiences growing up in an unconventional home, Hogan has bitten off a brilliant script that explores the reality that ultimately every family is a little bit mental.
After wayward husband and local politician Barry Moochmore (Anthony LaPaglia) commits his emotionally vulnerable wife (Rebecca Gibney) to a mental hospital, he puts his five adolescent girls under the watch of wayward hitchhiker nanny, Shaz (Toni Collette) who challenges their concepts of normality.
The result is a hilarious film about hope, that is refreshingly bold in tackling sensitive issues. Yet Hogan does so with a confidence of knowing his subject intimately. Destined to become as popular as his famous predecessor, this is an Australian classic in the making. (PB) ***1/2