A beautifully filmed story about a family and its path through this world. How their past became the present. Shot in the areas of Spain and Australia the scenery is beautiful but the story is not always so bright. Family histories are complicated, especially those of people who emigrate from their home land. They leave the place they know in the search for something better. Some find exactly that while others continue to search.
At his birthday young Savino (Micahel Crisafulli – first feature film) gets a telescope along with some words of wisdom from his grandfather (Edward James Olmos – Blade Runner, Stand and Deliver). Life is not always so beautiful for the family. There is plenty of tension. Savino’s father and his grandfather do not get along. Not all is good in this winemaking family.
As he gets older and now lives in Australia, Savino wants to know more about who he is and where he comes from. His and his family’s origin story. He follows his grandfather’s advice and goes on an epic adventure of discovery.
Filmed over five years, this film has the look and feel of a labour of love by director Paul Meins (first film). It might be due to all that passion that it does not result in what it could have been. It is a story, written by Judy Morris (Happy Feet, Babe: Pig in the City), which goes for the gusto, though in a rather understated way. It aims for the heart, but unfortunately it misses the target.
Much of that is due to the lack of pace of the film. It is so slow in patches that your attention wanders leaving you not really invested in what is happening. That leaves them all rather boxed in at the end. An ending which feels totally unrealistic. Maybe this mess is due to the original director Jim Loach leaving during post-production. Inexperienced Meins was left to make the best of a bad situation.
What is not to blame is the acting. The whole cast does a solid job here. Especially the actor playing Savino. Because of the five years it took to make the film he is able to play the young and teenage version of the character. Lends a sense of continuity and realism to the whole affair.