SIFF MOVIE: Jucy (2010)

Australians Lucy and Jackie (code name “Jucy”) are best friends and have been for years.  Both in their early 20s, they work at a local video store together, act in a local theater group, and share as much of every waking moment with each other they possibly can.  They’re so close, in fact, that rumors abound regarding their sexual preferences.  But no, they’re straight.  Guys have “bromances;” Jucy’s having a “womance.”

When their local theater group decides to put on an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, starring the object of Jackie’s desire as Rochester (Alex), both girls try out for the play.  They’ve made a pact, you see, that by the next cast party (usually a somewhat depressing affair for the girls, who feel like they’re making less of their lives than they ought to be), Lucy will have her dream job (acting full-time) and Jackie will have a dreamy boyfriend (Alex, or anybody else she can find).  The play seems like the perfect chance to fulfill them both.

Problems strike, though, when Lucy, not Jackie, ends up cast as Jane opposite Alex, leaving Jackie to play Rochester’s crazy wife Bertha — just as Jackie had decided to quit taking her medication for depression.  Pretty soon, Jackie’s so deep in despair she can barely function, and when the girls have a terrible fight — a fight featuring the kind of spot-on cruelty only best friends or siblings can wield — Lucy decides she’s had enough of Jackie, quits the play, and takes a corporate job in marketing alongside her snooty, more traditionally successful younger sister.

What happens next — in the play, with Alex, with Jucy’s relationship, and more — is a brilliant, wild ride.  This film is an absolute delight, with the perfect balance of hilarious comedy and heart-breaking emotion  This smart, witty, and affectionate film won me over almost instantly, in large part because of Francesca Gasteen and Cindy Nelson’s perfect take on their characters.  Not only did Jackie and Lucy seem completely authentic to me, but they charmed the hoo-hah out of me to boot.  I left the film feeling like I really knew them — and what’s more, that I really loved them too.

As I’ve said before, one of the things I love most about going to see movies at the Seattle International Film Festival is the audience experience.  When it comes to “regular” movies these days, I often find myself in an audience of fewer than ten — nobody’s going to theaters any more, it seems.  Or, at least, they aren’t going at 5pm on a weeknight.  But SIFF movies are generally pretty full of people, and they’re all people who LOVE WATCHING FILMS.  They don’t talk.  They don’t text.  They really, really get into good movies, and they have a great time razzing bad ones.

The audience for Jucy was one of the best I’ve sat amidst so far this year.   We were all, men and women alike, so thoroughly engaged and charmed by this film that the energy in the room left me buoyant for hours.  People laughed at the funny parts with abandon, they let out a hushed sound of sympathy when the origin of Jackie’s tattoos became clear, and I could tell the entire room was having an absolutely marvelous experience.

Definitely keep an eye out for this one.  You can already reserve it for your queue at Netflix (see link below), and if you can catch it at a film festival, I highly recommend you do.  A true gem.

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Comedy, Foreign (Australia)
Cast: Francesca Gasteen, Cindy Nelson, Andrew Ryan, Ryan Johnson, Charlotte Gregg, Christopher Sommers, Sally McKenzie

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2 Responses to “SIFF MOVIE: Jucy (2010)”

  1. megwood Says:

    (And no subtitles, Liz! Just Australian slang I have no clue about!)

  2. Liz Says:

    Yay for the lack of subtitles! I know a LITTLE bit of Aussie slang. It does sound like a good movie, and the other one you wrote about, concerning newspapers, also sounded interesting. I didn’t chime in there, because it seemed you and “RogerBW” were getting into a rather heated discussion. But it did occur to me that you were “preaching to the choir” on your blog, as well!

    One question: was it at SIFF that you saw that trailer for “Devil,” and everybody groaned at M. Night’s name? Because I read a review of the movie (and saw it – I thought it was pretty okay), which described the exact same audience reaction!

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