Rain review

There's a lot to like about director Christine Jeffs' debut, a family drama set in her native New Zealand. There's a lot to lament, too...

The rippling emotions of a mother and daughter fuel Rain's subtle heartbeat. Teenager Janey (Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki) is old beyond her years, budding into confident sexuality yet restless with frustration, while her boozy mother (Sarah Peirse) gropes for fulfilment in an affair with local loner Cady (Marton Csokas).

Imbued with an eerie tone, Rain soaks its spare narrative with evocative cinematography and releases a performance of striking assurance from the young Fulford-Wierzbicki. But as moments of delicate eloquence begin to glimmer, Jeffs often lets them slip through her fingers. Parched by some clunky dialogue and a wishy-washy soundtrack, the drama finally crumples to a terribly obvious climax. Not the film it might have been, then, but an intelligent, alluring debut all the same.

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