Lantana

 

Don’t ask me what the title means, I have no idea.  This is a character study dressed up in a murder mystery set in Australia  which came out in 2001. 

 

Anthony Lapaglia plays a police detective burning out, having an affair.

 

Barbara Hershey plays a psychiatrist who has a gay client having an affair with a married man---who just might be her husband.

 

Geoffrey Rush is her husband---their marriage is falling apart in large part because their daughter was murdered. 

 

The lives of all of these people come together when Hershey disappears in what looks like a murder.  One night when driving home she has a slight accident which disables her car on a lonely stretch of road.  She accepts a ride from a passing car and disappears.  As it turns out, she is not a murder victim.  After getting in the car she thinks the driver is up to something and jumps out of the moving car, runs off into the woods, and falls into a ravine and dies.  You see, she had lost her ability to trust in the goodness of humans as the driver was only trying to be helpful.

 

This award winning film was called “One of the Year’s 10 Best!  A great cast!” by Richard Schickel of Time Magazine.  Ebert and Roeper gave it “Two Big Thumbs Up.”

 

The film is about honesty, marital fidelity, forgiveness…and most of all about trust.  It is about how we do and don’t effectively communicate in our most important relationships because we fear to trust.

 

In addition it helps us understand that, although people from different cultures are different…(perhaps for Australians the title has some meaning that eludes me)…we are all the same.  Watch the Apu trilogy from India, immerse yourself in Chinese films, and you will soon see that once we cut through the skin, we all bleed alike.  All humans, regardless of culture, are trying to trust, to get close to significant others, all of us dealing with the numerous fears that plague humans, fears that are fundamentally the same regardless of culture.