Judy & Punch Image

Judy & Punch

By Anthony Ray Bench | April 24, 2020

Mia Wasikowska plays Just as a warm and loving wife who has a sense of rare reason in Seaside, but her character arc forces her on a quest for revenge and Wasikowska transitions into that mindset well. The two of them have tremendous chemistry, and it’s compelling to watch their onscreen relationship fall apart.

Benedict Hardie plays Constable Derrick, the newly hired lawman of Seaside who has an obvious crush on Judy. Despite having an eye-rolling comedy bit where he keeps drawing attention to Judy’s breasts.  He does a great job playing basically the town’s sheriff trying to find reason in an unreasonable town of idiots. There’s a ton of small parts, and all of them have a purpose and are expertly acted, there’s just too many to make note of in this review, but all in all, there are no weak standouts, everything is snug and well performed.

“…probably the most twisted and delightful fairytale film I’ve seen…”

The film has a fairytale-like quality to it, both in dialogue and look. The set pieces are gorgeous, the costumes are fantastic, and the scenery is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. If I had to mark the film down over anything, it’d be the uneven tone. Sometimes it feels like the moments should be serious when they end up comical, and vice versa. There’s a sense of macabre and devilish delight that comes with some of the film’s violent acts, but one instance in particular plays for shock value and it’d be more effective if it was played straight. Another standout with this film is its excellent music score, it doesn’t fit with the time period the film is set in, but the contrast somehow works incredibly well.

I had a blast with Judy and Punch, and I think it’s probably the most twisted and delightful fairytale film I’ve seen in quite some time. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it has a pro-feminine message that’s powerfully threaded throughout the film, and yet it never feels preachy or too self-important. Judy and Punch is at times gut-bustingly hilarious, brutally uncomfortable, and joyously irreverent. If you get a chance, definitely go out of your way to give this a watch.

Judy and Punch screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Judy and Punch (2019)

Directed and Written: Mirrah Foulkes

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Damon Herriman, Benedict Hardie, Gillian Jones, Tom Budge, Lachlan Martin, Virginia Gay, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

Judy and Punch Image

"…a story involving alcohol and puppets."

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  1. I was one of the many extras on this movie and i must say for the three days I was there I had a blast filming in the Dandenong ranges in Victoria on the cold and wet days.

    The actors and crew were outstanding and great effort was made to get each scene just right. Mirrah Foulkes is a demanding and professional director and has turned out a remarkably entertaining movie with a message.

    Well worth seeing when it arrives in Australia.

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