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48 Shades

Directed by Daniel Lapaine
Buena Vista International
Rated M

Fastest selling film at the 15th International Film Festival in Brisbane in August, 48 Shades has since received neither critical acclaim nor box office success. I struggled to find a showing and was pleased to see it.

The film is a faithful rendition of Brisbane author Nick Earls’ award winning coming-of-age novel 48 Shades of Brown about 16-year-old Dan who moves into a share-house with his young aunt Jacq and her housemate Naomi.

Shot over four weeks in Brisbane in 2005, this film is a light and uneventful offering with occasional comic moments to spice a gentle account of the highs and lows of adolescent life and unreciprocated infatuation.

Perhaps the strongest character in 48 Shades is the setting, which displays the beauty of Brisbane at its best with familiar scenes of the river, the city skyline, Rosalie shops and the Story Bridge.

The Uniting Church’s Brisbane Boys College is a significant feature but its location at Toowong is linked by a geographically confusing ferry trip to the inner northern suburbs.

The familiarity of the landscape and settings somehow made the characters seem more real than expected and a pleasant counterpoint to the stereotypical Hollywood puberty flick.

The film moves at a relaxed Queensland pace and concludes with an ironic Aussie twist that is a gutsy alternative to the standard boy-gets-girl happy ending.

48 Shades won’t be around long and you’ll be lucky to catch it at the cinemas now but look for it on DVD. It’s a home-town production and better than ordinary.

48 Shades is rated M for moderate sexual references and themes and infrequent moderate coarse language.