Australia, 1984, 85 minutes, Colour.
Harold Hopkins, Jeanie Drynan, Kate Fitzpatrick, Kerry Mack.
Directed by John Meagher.
Fantasy Man is a minor Australian film - a misfire. While made for cinemas, it is better suited as a telemovie. Harold Hopkins does well in the central role of a man undergoing mid-life crisis. Unfortunately, Jeannie Drynan is not particularly effective as his wife. There is an interesting supporting cast including Kate Fitzpatrick, Kerry Mack. However, the treatment of the mid-life crisis is fairly obvious - the humour does not always work and some of the treatment is trite.
1. The intentions of the film and its effect? For cinema audiences? Television audiences?
2. Themes of reality and fantasy? Audiences identifying with Nick and his crisis? Imagination, responsibility, resolution? Mid-life crisis? The film as a story, a seriocomic fable?
3. The use of Sydney, the city. the opening and the cars. the buildings. the bridge. the harbour. ferries, office buildings, streets, art galleries. gymnasiums. flats etc.? An authentic feel of the city? Audiences identifying with Sydney?
4. The musical score, song? mood and atmosphere?
5. The focus on Nick: a man in his '40s. in the car and gazing into the distance, the marriage? Liz and tension? Silly aspects of his life and behaviour? Problems of home, money, meals? Paintings and mess? The exaggerated comic touches? His work, late, slack, friends covering up, exposing him? Neighbour? The encounter with Donna and the workmen at her stall? Reaction? His taking showers and locking himself in? His wife's reaction? What happens in his crisis? Was enough indicated by the screenplay? Dreams. Donna and cigarette commercials, the mock-chivalry, his losing - to the workman knight? Art class and self-image? Leaving Liz stranded? The office and Howie helping? Telling? Howie's phoning Liz? The reconciliation? The significance of the wallpaper etc.? His new job, joy, giving a raspberry? Enough indication that the crisis was over?
6. The contrast with Liz: 34, her age, look, stance, marriage. family? Puzzle? Her friendship with her neighbour and her support? Her reaction to Nick's showers and locking himself in? Painting. money? The date and the wallpaper? The possibilities, the gym? Exasperation? Help from Howle? The end - really the end?
7. Kate Fitzpatrick as the neighbour and best friend? Comic and ironic touches. being alone, helping, relating, interfering? The date with Liz - the card? The role of the best friend?
8. Howie and Nick at work. friendship. talk. homosexuality, the clash and the kiss. his help, telling his story?
9. The portrait of the Australian workplace. the satire on the office? The bosses and their nastiness. co-workers and their listening. the end and the promotion - and the significance of the raspberry?
10. Donna as ordinary young girl, nice, knowing the orders and what her customers liked, the men and their response to her, Nick and his fantasies, reality, the bow.
11. The art teacher and the carry-on - humour, satire?
12. The smooth wallpaper man and his style?
13. The effectiveness of the irony and the comic? Irony? The stilted aspects of the film, cliche? An attempt at treating the theme of Australian mid-life crisis?