Charming, light-hearted and fun, Love and Other Catastrophes is the type of film that actually makes university look like time well-spent. This mix of comedy, romance, and a pretty-near spot-on look at uni life powers along at a steady pace thanks to a likeable cast and some lively direction from first-timer 23-year old Emma Kate-Croghan, and while this may not be the deepest film around, when something's as enjoyable as this you'll be willing to forgive it a lot - even if the two old ladies who walked out of a recent screening at the first lesbian kiss weren't.
Mia (Frances O'Connor) and Alice (Alice Garner) are two film school students on the lookout for a third to share in their new flat. Mia's girlfriend Danni (Radha Mitchell) is less than impressed that she hasn't been asked to move in by the commitment-phobic Mia, and while the two of them are drifting apart, Alice is developing a major crush on campus heart-throb Ari (Matthew Dyktynski), a classic major and male hooker with a heart of gold. Michael (Matt Day) is a med student looking for love - and somewhere else to stay after his flatmates lifestyle of wake-up bongs and early morning vomit gets to be too much for him, and over the course of twenty-four hours they all come together in a pile of love, death, and overdue library fines.
This is more charming than laugh-a-minute funny, though there's plenty of humor throughout, but for all the jokes and the engaging (if nothing special) story of crossed lovers, the real appeal here is the energy that keeps this constantly on the move. Much of that comes from the classy and confident cast, who (apart from the wooden Dyktynski) easily bring their characters to life in a way that draws you into their lives. Sure, some parts grate - especially the self-reflexive film-school sequences - but if you haven't seen this already, don't miss out.
Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte#125)