Jacinda Barrett (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) gives a fearless performance as a mother ferociously protecting her son in this tender family drama directed by Nadia Tass. When Jack (om Russell) loses his puff at a soccer game, Marissa (Barrett) takes him for a check up, where her idyllic life crumbles into the stuff of nightmares. Not only is Jack racing the clock against cancer, her acclaimed architect husband David (Richard Roxburgh) is also a serial adulterer. Marissa’s search for a bone marrow donor then brings her face to face with all of David’s former flings, while in hospital Jack befriends his roommate Finn (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and his resolutely merry Irish father, Connor (James Nesbitt).
Matching Jack feels a little like Australia’s answer to last year's Hollywood-made My Sister’s Keeper. Tissues are most certainly required. Although the plot feels cluttered at times – Marissa’s quest has to compete with a romantic subplot, and Nesbitt’s whimsical Irishman borders on cliché – the brilliant casting across the board carries the audience through. Russell and Smit-McPhee confirm themselves as young Australian actors to watch, while ex-model Barrett proves she is profoundly more than a pretty face.
Published in The Big Issue (#361)
Australian release date: 19 August 2010