Clubland (3 stars)

(15) 107min


Brenda Blethyn is on Little Voice form in this touching, bittersweet Australian comedy. She plays Jean, an ageing stand-up comedienne whose best days are behind her. She’s also a control freak who refuses to accept that her shy son Tim (Khan Chittenden) is at that age where abandoning his mother for girls seems like a sensible option. His new girlfriend, Jill (Emma Booth), ensures there’s much drinking, sarcastic comments and rage in the household.

Blethyn deserves all the plaudits for a performance that demands she be both a battle-axe and endearing enough to make you believe that Tim wouldn’t just walk out the door. The friendly fire aimed at Tim results in quite a bit of collateral damage, and over the course of the film, Jill, her disabled son, ex-husband and neighbour all face the wrath of Jean as she struggles through life’s changes.

Director Cherie Nowlan and writer Keith Thompson create a good balance between comedy and melodrama, ensuring that the movie doesn’t fall into the trap of being over-sentimental.

General release from Fri 21 Sep.


  • 3 stars
  • 2007
  • Australia
  • 1h 47min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Cherie Nowlan
  • Written by: Keith Thompson
  • Cast: Khan Chittenden, Emma Booth, Richard Wilson, Brenda Blethyn

Touching bittersweet comedy about an ageing stand-up comedienne (Blethyn) who is struggling to accept that her son (Chittenden) has reached the age where girls are far more interesting than his mother. Blethyn treads a skilful line in portraying a character who is genuinely sympathetic between her moments of battleaxe…