Director JJ Winlove’s debut Australian feature sensitively explores how our identity is tied up with memory and how much our memory defines us in a moving story about the importance of family, fate and lost love. June Again is a heart-warming, relevant, beautifully told story with authentic characters we want to get to know who reminded us of ourselves.
June (Noni Hazlehurst) is living with dementia after having suffered a stroke five years ago and sadly has no idea who she is or who her family are. Out of the blue she has a lucid spell unexpectedly reviving her back to her full self, where she breaks out of the nursing home to track down her family.
To her disappointment she finds that her children’s relationships and careers have derailed to a dysfunctional degre and that the siblings aren’t exactly on speaking terms. As the powerful no-nonsense matriarch who was the glue holding the family together, June’s feisty hold-no-prisoners approach intervenes like a sledgehammer, to fix the problems before her time runs out and she loses her memory once again.
Her shortlived reprieve takes June, Ginny (fantastic Claudia Karvan) and Devon (lovable Stephen Curry) on a family adventure that tries the siblings’ patience, defying their mother’s meddling. However when her plan backfires, it becomes apparent that it is June who needs rescuing and together they endeavour to find her lost love, forging new-life long bonds between the children.
A scene stealer is when Devon finally gives in to June’s motherly advice, which helps him face a past trauma. This beautiful moment rang so true tugging at the heart strings, lost in the nostalgic feeling, the lingering loving hug between a mother and son that makes you want to hug your own mum and not let go.
I loved this little gem of an Australian film with a gold star cast of favourites that blended convincingly together; great to see their return to the big screen. I only disliked one character, a two-dimensional stereotypical villain who didn’t fit in with the other complex characters.
Nonetheless, the narrative resolve is so satisfying and credible, leaving you feeling fulfilled and enriched from the viewing experience.
Do yourself a favour if you haven’t been to see a film at the cinema in a while, take a loved one and enjoy Aussie royalty. The dynamic between Hazlehurst and Karvan alone is worth watching, knowing that you are supporting the Australian film industry. Do you really need another reason?
‘June Again’ is currently in cinemas Australia-wide.