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A young Priest (Hugh Grant) and his wife Estella move to an Australian parish. Before they arrive the bishop asks them to visit an eccentric artist prone to sexual depictions and requests that he voluntarily withdraw a controversial work called 'Crucified Venus', which depicts a naked female from his show.
Upon their arrival at the studios the young couple become drawn into the seductive world of the Lindsay family and their provocative models.The sensuous models Sheela (Elle Macpherson), Giddy (Portia De Rossi), and Pru (Kate Fischer) captivate the very proper Estella and lead her on a journey of sexual awakening amidst the erotically charged, guilt-free environment.
The longer the couple stay, the more they find themselves drawn into the sensuous pleasures of the world and begin to question their own beliefs and values.
Sirens is an affectionate, semi-fictional comedy of manners set in 1930s Australia. In an audacious stroke of casting Hugh Grant plays a stereotypically awkward and diffident Englishman, in this case a Church of England priest. The priest is despatched into the Blue Mountains west of Sydney in an effort to press the Good Word upon Norman Lindsay, an artist whose lurid works are scandalising the upright citizenry. Lindsay--capably played here by Sam Neill--really existed and though he fancied himself as a dashing Bohemian artist, his paintings were dreadful.
Sirens sees Grant's rigidly decent young priest and his equally prim wife (Tara Fitzgerald) gradually tempted further and further into the rustic bacchanalia that Lindsay has founded up in the bush. This sensual world is represented by Lindsay's young muses, played by supermodel Elle MacPherson, a pre-Ally McBeal Portia De Rossi and Kate Fischer. The three are more or less unclothed for most of the film, and spend what seems an unnecessary amount of time washing each other in rock-pools. This may or may not reflect awareness on the part of the producers that the film's predictable plot and overwrought dialogue weren't going to fill a lot of seats without some help.
On the DVD: Sirens is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, but there are no extra features.--Andrew Mueller --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.See all Product Description
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Anthony and his young spouse Estella, played by Tara Fitzgerald, arrive at Lindsay's estate to find the artist, portrayed by Sam Neill, busily painting away. Norman's earthy wife and three resident female models serve as his inspiration, and clothing on the four is, more oft than not, unabashedly optional. This in-your-face display of live, nubile flesh leaves the Reverend rather tongue-tied and confused (as only Grant can play it). At first, wife Estella shares her husband's righteous indignation. Then, the lush, humid, tropical surroundings and free-spirited lifestyle of the Lindsay estate, along with the presence of a hunky handyman, begin to work their liberating magic on her repressed desires. (A very nice touch is the representation of Temptation as a large serpent that slithers through occasional scenes unnoticed by anyone but the viewer.)
It all sounds potentially raunchy, but never is. Rather than being a manipulative, licentious debauchee, Neill's on-screen persona is one of an amused, live and let live observer of human nature - a sort of detached Hugh Hefner. There's an abundance of casual nudity, but it's almost artistically presented. The sexual nature of a couple scenes is more sensuous than bawdy. And, one of this film's undeniable attractions is real-life model Elle MacPherson, who plays the role of one of the uninhibited SIRENS, and who shows an eyeful. Boy, does she ever. It's an amusing and well-done adult, fairy tale.
Sirens is about the debate of human sexuality, and the two extreme opinions: Grant's Catholic priest and the tight-laced conservatives who denounce sexuality as sinful and guilty, and Neill's bohemian artist, his family, and his live-in models, who celebrate it as healthy and wholesome. It's obvious from the start which side writer/director John Duigan supports, but he gives both sides their due. The principals and the minor characters are all entertaining and well-acted, even if only Tara Fitzgarald's Estella and Portia DiRossi's Giddy get any real development through the story.
Credit is also due to the production side, especially to cinematographer Geoff Burton, who provides lush and beautiful visuals throughout, and composer Rachel Portman, who skillfully interweaves the mystical and the mirthful.
If you're looking for a romantic comedy or a chance to see Elle MacPherson prance around in the alltogether, leave this alone. But if you're interested in a sumptuous, non-exploitive, and thought-provoking discourse on our sexuality and how it makes us human, Sirens is a movie to treasure.
Provincial vicar, Anthony Campion (Hugh Grant) - accompanied by his wife Estella, (Tara Fitzgerald) - is sent by his Bishop from England to persuade the nonconformist Lindsay (Sam Neil) to withdraw a controversial painting from a forthcoming exhibition.
Hugh Grant plays his usual affable rather bumbling middle class Englishman to perfection. One could imagine his idea of naughtiness being an additional scone with afternoon tea! So it is with increasing disconcertment that he and his sexually repressed wife are exposed to the alternative bohemian lifestyle of Lindsay and his outrageous entourage!
However this film is not about Lindsay per se, but the gradual sensual enlightenment of Estella.
There is fairly prolific nudity, which is tasteful and whereas it might raise the eyebrows of a maiden aunt, it's unlikely to cause a frown. The naked magnificence of Lindsay's voluptuous free thinking models, including Elle Macpherson, project naïve innocence, rather than raunchy exhibitionism.
The unfolding sensual awakening of Estella is handled with earthy humorous sensitivity, as she is gradually immersed into the erotic guilt-free surroundings. Ultimately she begins to question her own unbending beliefs and moral constrictions.
There was some poetic licence as, the film was supposedly set in May / June, and the Blue Mountains would not have been nearly as warm and sultry as depicted!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
boring unless male, don,t find looking at nude women touching eachother interesting, its more a film for men and what they hope women might do,
so it a no from me, as simon... Read more