Posted by Jenn Winterbine
15. Jun, 2011
Love and Other Catastrophes (1996) is a romantic comedy that captures the essence of student life, from thesis deadlines and library fees to share house tensions.
Arts student Mia (Frances O’Connor) is driven insane by a pedantic supervisor (Kim Gyngell) who refuses to let her transfer to a different faculty. Her life is further complicated by her clingy girlfriend, Danni (Radha Mitchell). Their friend Alice spends most of her time dodging her thesis supervisor and chasing Ari (Matthew Dyktynski), the love interest.
Love and Other Catastrophes has a fast-paced, airy feel that is very similar to television shows like Heartbreak High and Reality Bites. Croghan’s attempt to capture the trendy campus atmosphere, however, falls flat at times. The lesbian relationship between Danni and Mia is superficial and unconvincing. Similarly, scenes of trashy house parties seem out of place for a group of friends who are otherwise straight-laced.
Aside from these minor flaws, Love and Other Catastrophes offers a quirky, off-beat look at student life in Melbourne. The scenes shot at Melbourne University are filmed in a way that reflects the typical Australian university experience. You could easily mistake the location for Monash Clayton or La Trobe Bundoora: brown buildings, outdoor cafés and benches that punctuate a landscape of asphalt and trees.
For anyone who has freaked out about getting their thesis done (or any assignment, for that matter), gone to desperate measures to evade administration fees or had a coffee date at a campus café, Love and Other Catastrophes is sure to rouse memories of your time at uni.