Do you want a romantic drama that’ll leave you teary-eyed in all the right ways? Then look no further than Gregor Jordan’s latest, Dirt Music. It’s a heartwrenching story of love, loss, and redemption in several beautiful Australian locations. Starring Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald and American actor Garrett Hedlund giving us their best Aussie accents and two incredible performances.
Kelly Macdonald plays Georgie, a 40-year-old former nurse who now lives with her boyfriend, Jim Buckridge (David Wenham), a very important fisherman in their small fishing community. At first, Georgie meets a dog on the beach when she goes skinny dipping in the dark early morning hours. The next day, she meets the same dog, but then also meets his owner, Lu (Garrett Hedlund). It doesn’t happen immediately, but soon enough, the two start a passionate love affair. Of course, Jim eventually finds out, and Lu disappears into the Australian Outback.
There’s much more to the story than this, including Lu’s former career as a musician with his brother and sister-in-law, and his grand love for their daughter, Bird (Ava Caryofyllis), who he tragically lost before the outset of the film. As a result, Lu vowed never to play music again. Georgie is a lost person, trying to find her way to her own identity outside of Jim. Jim actually may not be as much of a jerk as he appears to be at first glance.
“It doesn’t happen immediately, but soon enough, the two start a passionate love affair.”
With breathtakingly beautiful views of the Australian coast throughout, Dirt Music transports the viewer into Georgie and Lu’s idyllic world. There is so much against the two ill-fated lovers from the outset, but both are determined to get back to each other. This results in a gut-wrenching search for Lu in Western Australia that puts one on the edge of their seat.
The cinematography by Sam Chiplin and water cinematographer Rick Rifici is outstandingly gorgeous, lending a nature-documentary quality to a heartfelt romance. Kelly Macdonald is terrific as she always is, and Garrett Hedlund does a great job as a romantic lead. I also enjoy the fact that the film features a relationship between an older woman and a younger man, which isn’t explored too often in cinema. It’s also not used as a plot device; it’s literally never mentioned. It’s treated the same way a relationship between an older man and a younger woman always is, as almost usually never worth mentioning.
We also get to see desire through the female gaze, which is another thing that is rare to see in film, even in 2020. There’s also some great music by Craig Armstrong, and the musical performances with Lu and his family in the past are beautiful. There’s a wonderful cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren” that weaves throughout the film.
As previously mentioned, if you’re in the market for a heartwrenching, beautiful, romantic drama, please take the time to check out Dirt Music. It scratches the same itch as The Notebook without ever being too unbearably melodramatic. It is absolutely worth seeing when you want a love story that makes you cry but still has a satisfying ending.
"…desire through the female gaze...is another thing that is rare..."