Back in his stomping ground, Without A Trace actor Anthony LaPaglia returns to the Australian screen in the dramedy, A Month of Sundays.
Real-estate agent Frank Mollard (Anthony LaPaglia) is stuck in an endless, tiresome rut after his wife Wendy (Justine Clarke) divorces him just as her as acting career skyrockets, his mother passes away and he is unable to connect with his teenage son, Frank Junior (Indiana Crowther). His tedious life is then disrupted after he receives a call from him mother, who strangely enough passed away the year before. In a case of misidentity, the caller turns out to be an elderly widower, Sarah (Julia Blake), who accidentally thinks that Frank is her own son. An endearing friendship begins between the two and as a result, Frank’s life is forever changed.
A Month of Sundays sees the return of LaPaglia on the Australian screen, returning to his hometown Adelaide for the feature film after more than 40 years of being based in New York City. Written and directed by Matthew Saville, LaPaglia brings to life Frank’s dull existence, a life that is later reinvigorated by a strange phone call from an elderly woman. From this, Frank begins to change his life; he establishes a relationship with his estranged son and develops a subpar partnership with his boos, Philip (John Clarke). LaPaglia carries this dramedy with his tender-hearted and intense performance, balancing the character from his inability to express his feelings and his deep-seated longing to establish meaningful relationships. As Frank, LaPaglia demonstrates his ability to traverse the lines between comedy and drama, a rare instance from his typical action and procedural roles. Here, LaPaglia dishes out dry, witty one-liners with quietness and ease.
Notwithstanding LaPaglia’s leading performance, the film creates an authentic and suburban Australian atmosphere with the vast, green landscape and the quite existence. Saville portrays real familial issues and touches on the deep and emotional problems of middle-age crises. A Month of Sundays explore how relationships are tested over time and connections are formed within the bonds of family, revealed through a leading character that uses his wry humour as a form of deflection. However, A Month of Sundays makes it feel like each plot line takes a month to reveal, developing the story slowly for hopeful emotional effect. Instead, the film felt dreary at times and the only reached its full potential towards the end. Nonetheless, Saville directs with genuine ease, displaying a rare combination of great performances, location and drama.