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This film is a smart, rueful and dead-on portrait of life's unending quest to fit in; and the girl who solves it by completely breaking out - introduces a feisty outsider hero unlike any other seen on screen. Esther Blueburger's quest begins when she escapes from her Bat Mitzvah party and is befriended by Sunni.., the effortlessly cool girl who is everything Esther thinks she wants to be. With the help of Sunni, Esther goes away from her ordinary life and leaves behind her malfunctioning Jewish family to hang out with Sunni's far breezier and super-hip single mom Mary and attend Sunni's forbidden public school as a Swedish exchange student.Written by
Once writer-director Cathy Randall began to envision Esther Blueburger as a female heroine twist on the Holden Caulfield tradition, there was little doubt in Randall's mind what age she needed to be. "I think thirteen is such a fascinating age; it is a time of heightened emotion when adulthood and childhood collide. I am sure there is not any other time in life when everything feels so complicated", she said. "So, I wanted to explore this crazy time, but in a light-hearted way, taking some of the awkwardness out of teenage angst and most importantly creating a character that people, old and young, could relate to." See more »
When Jacob and Esther are pretending to be their parents at the dining table and Jacob slides the salt and pepper towards Esther, in the next shot the salt and pepper are seen passing each other going in different directions. See more »
Classic coming of age film that everyone can relate to
Hey Hey it's Esther Blueburger is a cool flick telling the story of a young teenage girl's attempts to fit in. Esther, played wonderfully by the pixie like Danielle Cantanzariti, is trapped in a life of non-recognition by an idiosyncratic family and the lonely side of classic school yard tribal exclusion that everyone has experienced.
After befriending local girl Sunni, (Keisha Castle Hughes of Whale Rider fame), Blueburger begins a double life that is both laugh out loud funny and touching as she looks for her place in the world.
I saw Danielle & Keisha at the Sydney premiere and they are even cuter in person than on film. Danielle, although diminutive in size, projects large on screen & Keisha has a certain star power, especially on camera, which is undeniable. It's amazing that both Keisha (in Whale Rider) and Danielle in 'Esther' have been plucked from obscurity to give such fantastic debut performances especially seeing as both were in their early teens at the time. They are supported ably by their on screen parents (Essie Davis & Russell Dykstra) and Sunni's mum, Toni Colette who plays a character which is the anti-thesis of Esther's 'normal' parents, a source of fascination & enchantment for Esther.
There's something about wanting to be in with the cool kids and the lengths we go to to do that that we all recognise. It's part of growing up and becoming the person you are. That's what makes this film funny, beautiful, and sad at the same time.
This is an excellent film by first time writer & director Cathy Randall & I loved it. It's great to see talented writers and film-makers in Australia being given a chance & supported in an industry where much talent goes unnoticed and is usually substituted for 'celebrity'. It's definitely one of the better films to come out of Australia in recent years. Do yourself a favour and see this film. It's definitely not 'normal'!
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