Intelligently adapted by screenwriter Beatrix Christian from Raymond Carver's short story "So Much Water So Close to Home," Jindabyne is about the things people do to remember that they're alive, and the things they want to forget that make them feel dead. Set in the titular small village (a sign on the road identifies it as "a tidy town") Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne play Claire and Stewart Kane, a couple with troubles surrounded by friends and coworkers with plenty of their own. Everyone works the small-time kind of jobs you can find in a town the size of Jindabyne, Claire clerking at a drugstore and Stewart (a former auto racing star) running a gas station. There's darkness in the Kanes' past, like the year and a half when Claire lived elsewhere after the birth of their son Tom (played with heartbreaking sincerity by Sean Rees-Wemyss), never explained. A couple they're friends with has troubles, too: a dead daughter and now the unexpected stewardship of their goddaughter, Caylin-Calandria (Eva Lazzaro), a haunted and troublemaking 10-year-old who seems to have a death wish.
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In the film, that younger girl (Claudia Karvan), Watts, and Alice Garner, play a trio of Aussies looking for love in all the wrong places, natch, and three guys who we know will eventually be the recipients of that love. The focus is on the ladies though, thanks to their extreme neuroses. Watts is still nursing a years-old breakup, Karvan is of course trapped in an unhealthy relationship with Agent Smith. The guys have problems of their own, and before the year which Strange Planet follows is up, well, they'll all be resolved.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.