SIFF Sighting: Summer Coda (Romance; Australia)
Heidi (Rachael Taylor) is like many other American girls—raised by a single mother with only a handful of memories from the days her father was still around.
Michael (Alex Dimitriades) is the operator of an Australian orange grove, who is trying to heal from his painful past.
Their meet-cute happens as Heidi is on her way to Australia to attend the funeral of her absent father and she hitchhikes into town. Michael, worried for her safety, picks her up and the two develop something that resembles friendship.
When Heidi is met with a less-than-pleasant reception from her stepmother, she leaves the family home and seek's refuge at Michael's house, becoming one of his orange pickers.
Feelings soon develop between the two, but they don't act on them because of the secrets they have yet to share with one another.
This all plays out with a quiet tension that's painfully real and also hopelessly romantic.
The actors and their situations are all believable, and the slow pace of the film can be easily forgiven since most of what we see throughout the narrative are beautiful places and beautiful people.
For a first feature film, director Richard Gray has done quite well.
I'm anxious to see his next project, which he is coincidentally filming in Washington state.
Summer Coda screened at The 37th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.