Samson and Delilah (2010)
Critic Consensus: Alternately beautiful and heartrending, Samson and Delilah is terrifically acted and shot, and presents a complex portrait of what it means to be Australian.
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Critic Reviews for Samson and Delilah
This lovely, aching film opts for romance in the face of modern ruin.
This sterling 2009 debut by Warwick Thornton is harrowing and tragic but has a stoic, stately realism that elevates the material way above victim politics.
The film may be hard as hell to watch, but it's even harder to look away from.
How do you know you're looking at a pretty good piece of filmmaking? When the director and actors can make you care about the central characters even though they exchange almost no dialogue.
Pitched somewhere between City Of God and the Dardenne brothers, Samson And Delilah is unsparing in its brutal vision of the world.
Audience Reviews for Samson and Delilah
A beautiful and delicate portrait of a brutal 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.
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.
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.
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