Dirt Music Parent Guide
A gloomy, flat love story that doesn't measure up to its cast or its setting.
Parent Movie Review
Wondrous scenery – white sand beaches, soaring red cliffs, turquoise bays – fills Dirt Music, a dispiriting romantic drama from Down Under. When the love story falters, Australia’s stunning Western coastline does its best to make up for the lack of chemistry in the rest of the film. And, boy, does it ever need to try hard…
The movie opens with Georgie Jutland (Kelly MacDonald), an ex-nurse frustrated by an emotionally arid relationship with her boyfriend and local fishing magnate, Jim Buckridge (David Wenham). Chance meetings with Lu Fox (Garrett Hedlund) as she skinny dips in the ocean and later when her vehicle breaks down, bring Georgie and Lu together, most dramatically in a fully clothed sexual encounter before she even knows his name.
The relationship between Georgie and Lu is the heart of the film, but it often feels desultory. It’s difficult to tell if passion is pulling the couple together, or if they’re simply two lost souls drifting together on the tides of circumstance. To be fair, Georgie is less a lost soul than an aimless one, not sure what she wants from life. Lu, on the other hand, is indeed lost, reeling and scarred by a devastating family tragedy. “I’m a burning, screaming wreck and I’ll always be one,” he tells Georgie. And he isn’t kidding. When his inner demons send him hitchhiking the northern road to Australia’s remote islands, he comes disturbingly close to suicide-by-nature.
This productionisn’t rated but it has enough content issues to push it easily into Restricted territory. Thirty-three sexual expletives are only the beginning of the problematic content, as is the film’s sexual material. Most violence takes place off screen but the alcohol consumption does not. Main characters drink beer, wine, and whiskey frequently and are shown intoxicated. There is also a discussion of drunk driving but that behavior is not excused and its consequences are made clear. Dirt Music does not glamorize impaired driving: in fact, its treatment of the issue could work as a public service announcement for MADD. This film is a great way to scare anyone out of driving under the influence, which might be its most constructive contribution.
It’s tough to determine the audience for Dirt Music. While there is demand for romantic dramas that aren’t saccharine, those viewers tend to be more demanding in terms of plot and ambience. Sadly, this film’s lackluster romance, protracted final act, and dreary emotional background fail to match either viewer expectations or the splendor of the scenery in which the story is set.Directed by Gregor Jordan. Starring Garrett Hedlund, Kelly Macdonald, and David Wenham. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release July 17, 2020. Updated July 17, 2020
Watch the trailer for Dirt Music
Rating & Content Info
Why is Dirt Music rated Not Rated? Dirt Music is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: A man mentions being threatened with a knife. A main character has a badly injured foot: blood is seen. Men have a fistfight with shoving and punching. There is mention of a child being kept alive on machines. A boat is vandalized by a group of men. A man’s dog is killed and the windshield on his truck is shattered. A man shoves his girlfriend and she hits him in return. A main character is injured and is shown with blood on his arm and leg.
Sexual Content: A woman strips to go swimming at night: her breasts are briefly visible. A side view of her breasts is also seen in bed after implied sexual activity. A man and woman kiss passionately on several occasions. A man and woman are seen having sex: they are fully clothed but the actions are unmistakable. A man and woman are shown in implied post-coital situations in bed on a few occasions. A man is frequently shirtless.
Profanity: There are approximately 42 swear words in the movie, including 33 sexual expletives (and one sexual hand gesture), seven scatological curses, and two terms of deity. A crude term for female genitals is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man is briefly seen smoking a cigarette. A man takes unknown pills. People are frequently shown drinking alcohol, to the point of becoming intoxicated. There is mention of drunk driving. Children are seen with what is apparently beer. A woman finds a plastic bag containing what looks like marijuana. A couple drinks moonshine.
Page last updated July 17, 2020
Dirt Music Parents' Guide
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This film is based on Dirt Music, a novel by Tim Winton which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2002.
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David Wenham is best known for his portrayal of Faramir in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. He also appeared as Scarfield in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.