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      Strange Fits of Passion
    Life's the "Fits"

    "Strange Fits of Passion," a good-natured Australian movie about a young misfit's desperation to lose her virginity to some minimally acceptable partner, is a familiar kind of story that never gets old in the retelling.


    The woman's sexy roommate is busy taking her pick of eager men in a Melbourne bar, so how hard can it be? Why here's a nice-looking if nerdy boy now, the young woman notices in the thick of the crowd. The boy's walking toward her, and the voice in her head says urgently, "Say something! Something nice!"

    Written and directed by: Elise McCredie.
    Cast: Michela Noonan, Mitchell Butel, Sam Johnson, Steve Adams, Anni Finsterer.

    Related links: Official site
    "Fuck off?" she says before he can blurt out his opening line.

    "Uh, right," he says, disappearing back into the crowd, as if it's exactly the answer he was expecting.

    This is not the way to lose your virginity, which the young Australian woman — after meeting a worldly Bukowski-loving hunk at the bookstore where she works — is becoming quite desperate to do.

    So where do you go from here, if you're the late-teens / early-20s heroine of "Strange Fits of Passion," but directly to your best gay friend's bed, which you proceed to get into and talk about how impossible men are until the wee hours of the morning.

      Strange Fits of Passion
    From here, the woman tries almost anything to unload the oppressive weight of late virginity and unlock the elusive mystery of sex, from tracking down the fellow in the bar — a would-be poet who can prattle all night about Freud and capitalism and Wordsworth and Byron — to seducing a big, strong, passionate female acquaintance just in case she's a lesbian. Even if one of her clumsy attempts happens to succeed, of course, what she discovers is going to be far from what she imagines.

    "Strange Fits of Passion" (the title is from Wordsworth) may not strike some as entirely fresh and original, but a smart, funny, poignant and slightly tragic coming-of-age story like this is kind of like adolescence itself — it feels urgent and new at the time, even though many have been over the same ground before.

    The charming Michela Noonan (as the protagonist, who's never named) is very pretty in a very regular kind of way, and she strikes the perfect balance of confusion and carnal yearning in a role that should resonate with everyone who wasn't one of the popular, well adjusted kids. And writer-director Elise McCredie has done a fine job of making a mostly lighthearted exploration of early adulthood without being maudlin or condescending. It's just naughty enough, just clever enough and just real enough to be a fun ride through the worst time of our lives.

    MAY 13, 2001

    Reader comments on Strange Fits of Passion:

  • Strange fits of passion   from Kat, Jan 24, 2006
  • My new favourite movie   from Emily, Feb 25, 2006

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