In keeping with our current affinity for single-word movie titles we offer a longtime favorite – with a bit of a tease. The tease is that it’s difficult to find “Flirting” streaming anywhere, though not impossible.
We were lucky enough to find it on YouTube about six months ago, instantly reminded of how sharp the dialogue is and our fondness for Australian humor.
Set in 1965 and drawing from the rosters of two neighboring schools for boys and girls, the camera settles on a stuttering rebel (Noah Taylor), as he develops a fondness for the brains and beauty of a just-arrived Ugandan student (Thandie Newton in her screen debut) – navigating the bigoted halls of her school and dominance of a cooly simmering, upper-class Nicole Kidman. A scene at an inter-school dance takes on all the symbolism and advance maneuvering of the opening posturing at Agincourt.
Flirting has been called a hidden, offbeat masterpiece featuring many future A List stars in breakout roles. Naomi Watts is seen, along with others perhaps better known in Australia. The movie has been digitally restored by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) as part of its NFSA Restores program.
NOTE: In the intervening years since the film was released actor Newton has accused director John Duigan of sexual misconduct while she was 16.
Why We Liked It: Flirting has a great “heartbeat,” a pace that moves it along at a satisfying rate – but not so fast that you miss lines or demonstrations of a character’s charm or relatable imperfections. Great use of “Big Bad John” lyrics. Closeups of school Egg In The Hole.
Quotable Quote: “It’s not worth risking brain damage. Just kick him in the collards. Honor will be satisfied.”
Australian. Listen closely for subtle expressions of Australian humo(u)r on the soundtrack. Available on YouTube.