Samson and Delilah Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 30, 2010
A beautiful, wrenching portrait of a reality that is so little known to non-Australians, reaching us through an Aboriginal love story that relies on two amazing performances, and smoothly moving from tender to heartbreaking moments.
deano
Super Reviewer
½ May 10, 2010
Warwick Thornton's astounding, gruelling and rewarding movie - which he shot, as well as wrote and directed - puts us in the place of Australia's most dispossessed and forgotten people.
Samson and Delilah is hard viewing and unsparing almost to the last. Even then the redemption it offers is perhaps ephemeral. But this wrenching film is also a tender, realistic love story and a lyrical piece of visual art. It unfolds mostly without dialogue, depending on the remarkable natural expressiveness of its untrained leads Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson, whose relationship play out as childish love-hate flirtation before they cling together in desperation and finally sink into the miasma of fumes that seems to offer escape from violence, homelessness and the sheer loneliness of being two lost kids on the face of a parched, uncaring planet.
Super Reviewer
½ June 7, 2009
Probably one of the best Australian film ever, certainly one of its most powerful, dealing with the nation's elephant in the room, the indigenous Australians. A harrowingly confronting film about youth, indigenous culture, disadvantage and poverty ultimately turns into a subtle but extremely moving love story. A quietly beautiful film that gets under your skin and shakes you too your core. Particularly powerful from an Australian perspective the film looks hard at a shameful fact of Australian society, without moralizing or pointing blame, the film transcends the subject matter and creates a powerful love story. But be prepared for its slow style and its ability to emotionally drain you.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2012
There is little for Samson(Rowan McNamara) to do during the day, except listen to his brother's band practice. One day, he catches sight of Delilah(Marissa Gibson) who spends her days working on native artwork with her grandmother(Mitjili Gibson) that they sell and taking her to the local clinic for regular visits. She takes pity on him and buys him a snack at the store. In return, he kills a kangaroo and brings it back to her place to eat for dinner.(Oh, but it's so cute!) He then brings his bedroll over to stay. All of which the old woman finds amusing.

Even with mild reservations about the ending, "Samson and Delilah" is a well-filmed and heartbreaking love story that also has much to say about the tragic state of the Aboriginal population in Australia, living lives of frustration with little opportunity at a better life.(To make matters worse, the only radio station they can get in their outback village is country western.) Thankfully, none of this is presented in a strident manner, as the arguments are presented subtly with little dialogue, almost as if their language, along with their culture, had been appropriated by the Europeans which finds them largely invisible.
lesleyanorton
Super Reviewer
August 10, 2010
Drama by Warwick Thornton, Aboriginal writer and director about two Aboriginal teenagers trying to find a life amidst limited options, prejudice, brutality and misfortune.
An unsentimental love story that's not at all dull and worthy like it sounds, largely due to the thin thread of optimism running through it and the lively, realistic acting of the two leads. Even if some of the plot and symbolism are a little heavy handed, it still feels you've been shown the truth.

Recommended.
merlynsprankling
Super Reviewer
May 20, 2009
This is a highly realistic story of two Australian Aboriginal teen-agers, Samson and Delilah.

Filmed in Alice Springs, Warwick Thornton has drawn on personal experiences to create what is essentially a love story. Picturesque sunsets across wild plains and deserts are contrasted with the ugly reality that is true for so many indigenous communities across Australia. Through Thornton's film, the audience is brought to a sympathetic view of the problems of physical abuse, substance abuse and poverty that attack the indigenous way of life by trying to modernise it.

Adding to the film's authenticity, Thornton has developed the story using very little dialogue. Neither Samson and Delilah say one single word to each other throughout the 101 minutes of the film, and yet both Rowan Mcnamara (Samson) and Marissa Gibson (Delilah) show exceptional performances, given that they are untrained, raw talent.

Surprisingly, the story lies in its reference to the biblical tale of Samson and Delilah, connecting a loss of strength with loss of hair. Yes, this is not an easy film to watch, yet this truly memorable film is unexpectedly comical, dramatic, romantic, and most of all, hope-inspiring.
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2009
This astonishing, unworldly and brutally straightforward film has the capacity to challenge and change perceptions of what an Australian film can be.
½ January 18, 2011
I've never loved a movie so much that had so little dialog, yet the story told here is more moving than words could convey. Rowan McNamara as Samson and Marissa Gibson as Delilah have been thrown away by everyone, even their own society. And as European descendants everywhere are wont to do, the wealthier Australians shun them, avoiding eye contact and shooing them out of 'white only' places. Delilah attempts to sell an Aboriginal painting that she's learned from her grandmother, a woman whose work she has found at a local gallery selling for $22,000 Australian, but for which the dealer paid her a paltry $200. The dealer glanced at Delilah and declined to buy her painting, but you could see the reason writ clearly on his face - "I don't deal directly with the Untouchables".
This story could be our American own, swapping African Americans or Native Americans for Aborigines. You want to reach out to Samson and Delilah, to feed them, clothe them, help them, or just to hear them speak. Their silence poses more profundity than their plaints, and those are rare and few.
This is a heartbreaking tale because we know it too well, we Euro-trash progeny. We know it because we're guilty of it. We know it because we feel the guilt in our bones. We know it because the entire history of the supposition of "white supremacy" is right there in Samson and Delilah's eyes for all to see.
I'm 'lucky' to be white, and the shame of it consumes me.
May 7, 2014
The level of realism is amazing. Easily the best movie I've ever seen in a long time.
January 25, 2014
A confronting & beautifully shot love story
½ September 23, 2013
Very slow and uninspirational
June 9, 2012
The one thing I can really subtract from this movie is that 'when people don't take care of themselves or bother to make an effort, they end up in hell.' It's a fact of life.

I cared little for the cinematography despite how good it was and I cared little for the romance. I had to watch this slow one-hour fourty-one minutes of another two kids' gutwrenching life, all the while thinking to myself, 'what is the point of this?'

Normally I don't mind low-budget films, but nowadays I've been noticing a very distinctive trend with them: they are ALL dramas.

I can't stand dramas or dark themes in films like this. I'm very particular about my films. I use the cinema as a portal to escape from the grim aspects of everday life because, be honest, it's all around us. Civil disobedience, everday tragedies, deaths in the family, wars, everyday working life, people struggling to find work, drug addicts, homelessness... I don't need to have a spotlight shining on all of this crap.

Life is hard. Sure. The biggest problem was that this film pretty much shoved it down my throat.

People will enjoy it. People will find it compelling. People will be immersed in the story. But really, is a regular, movie-going audience really going to do something about the problem being shown in the flm? The society outside of Samson and Delilah couldn't give a damn about the situation in the movie, and I doubt that ordinary people watching this movie would do anything either when faced with a similar scene. It's just terrible awkwardness.

They're essentially street urchins, a part of a backwater society that refuses to develop, refuses to change, and are unable to or want to do anything to fix the problems in their society. Though the contrast between the two worlds is interesting, it's just another terrible truth I don't want to be a part of and want nothing to do with it.

I'll give it five stars for all the technical gimmicks, but as a well-rounded movie with a story I can get into, it's not enjoyable. They call it a comedy drama... it was just another drama for me.
June 1, 2012
A beautiful film that challenges traditional narrative conventions, and gives a voice to a group of people on the marginalized by society. I only wish it were easy to find in North America...
½ April 11, 2012
Movie of a few words
February 8, 2012
Poignant portrayal of life in modern Australia for two teenagers. One minor nit pick about studio quality sound coming out of a car stereo but does not detract from 5*
January 30, 2012
comedy? i don't think so.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2012
There is little for Samson(Rowan McNamara) to do during the day, except listen to his brother's band practice. One day, he catches sight of Delilah(Marissa Gibson) who spends her days working on native artwork with her grandmother(Mitjili Gibson) that they sell and taking her to the local clinic for regular visits. She takes pity on him and buys him a snack at the store. In return, he kills a kangaroo and brings it back to her place to eat for dinner.(Oh, but it's so cute!) He then brings his bedroll over to stay. All of which the old woman finds amusing.

Even with mild reservations about the ending, "Samson and Delilah" is a well-filmed and heartbreaking love story that also has much to say about the tragic state of the Aboriginal population in Australia, living lives of frustration with little opportunity at a better life.(To make matters worse, the only radio station they can get in their outback village is country western.) Thankfully, none of this is presented in a strident manner, as the arguments are presented subtly with little dialogue, almost as if their language, along with their culture, had been appropriated by the Europeans which finds them largely invisible.
½ August 4, 2011
Wow - hard to watch, fascinating to watch. Defies expectations.
½ May 17, 2011
Poetic and painful through beyond the canvas of cinematography art. Samson and Delilah is a detailed story that uses very little speech but still remains hurtful through actions.
May 5, 2011
The central device is ineffective, rather annoying, and a distraction. Parts are well done.
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