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Tough but tender, Somersault trails 16-year-old runaway Heidi (Abbie Cornish) as she pitches up in the snowy resort town of Lake Jindabyne, New South Wales, Australia. Finding work in a gas station and seeking companionship in shabby bars, Heidi soon sparks up a relationship with Joe (Sam Worthington), an emotionally choked farmer's son.

Shot on wintry location with hand-held cameras for $4 million, Cate Shortland's debut is fresh and alive, a coming-of-age drama that wrestles with complex, tangled emotions. At its wildly beating heart is a knockout performance from Cornish, the 21-year-old Aussie portraying the tormented, damaged Heidi as a buoyant survivor who uses her sexuality to get noticed, touched, fucked - - anything that could pass for being loved.

Like Boys Don't Cry, Somersault captures the numb horror of small-town life, turning circles in the dirt. It's bruised, beautiful and unflinchingly honest.

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