THAT'S NOT ME
Director: Gregory Erdstein
Screenwriters: Gregory Erdstein and Alice Foulcher
Runtime: 85 mins.
Australian release date: 7 September 2017
Previewed at: Chauvel Cinema, Paddington, Sydney, on 29 August 2017.
Where have the husband and wife team of Gregory Erdstein and Alice Foulcher been all our lives? We’ve missed them, even if we didn’t know them, because they’ve created one of the best Aussie comedies of recent years. Based on their first feature That’s Not Me, we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the future. Their humour is as dry as a summer’s day in the bush, although the setting is mostly inner-city Melbourne. Both graduated from the VCA a decade or so ago and both are multi-talented - they co-wrote the film’s terrific script, Gregory directed it and Alice plays the role of twin sisters. Oh, and they managed to bring it all in for only 60 grand. Now that’s real talent!
Polly Cuthbert and her identical sister Amy are aspiring actors until the day that Polly, for ethical reasons, turns down a role in a soap and Amy makes it a success. Before you can say ‘star’ Amy’s dating Jared Leto while Polly is left to complain to her not entirely sympathetic flat-mates. That, in a nutshell, is the storyline but the screenplay has great fun in creating Polly’s world and the people who inhabit it. There’s some sparkling dialogue between some very identifiable stereotypes as they riff on the fickleness of fame and begin to treat the sisters differently because one of them is suddenly a celebrity. Even the twins’ parents (Andrew S. Gilbert and Catherine Hill) are seduced by it all.
Apparently the writers spent years fine-tuning their characters and their words and deeds and it shows. That’s Not Me works so well because of the time devoted to it. Despite the technical strengths of Australian film-making crews, many locally-made movies are let down by second-rate scripts. For whatever reason, they don’t get the ninth, tenth and eleventh rewrite that US screenplays are subjected to but Erdstein and Foulcher have avoided this trap. That, and Foulcher’s exquisite sense of comic timing, make That’s Not Me a delight. It’s on limited release so you might have to seek it out but it’s well worth the effort.