Alice, abruptly discovering that her life savings were depleted by her husband’s use of escort services, turns to the industry to reclaim her property and support her child.

A strong premise from Writer/Director Josephine Mackerras that mightn’t seem the conduit for comedy and drama in equal measures, Alice strikes a rare balance in no small part given the quality of its lead.

Unendingly convincing in the transformation her character undergoes, there’s bare a moment where Emilie Piponnier is not on screen and she is not a presence of which we tire. The insight (albeit limited) into this world, too new for our eponymous figure, is both enlightening while in the depiction of varied episodes and encounters none too repetitive and increasingly engaging.

Drawing drama from seemingly lighter moments and upending apparently dramatic sequences with hitherto unseen humour, Alice takes the considered step of neither judging it’s lead’s profession nor (save to an extent one exception) those who would routinely seek out the industry. Importantly, the humour isn’t mean, and as much as there are characters who could be seen as pathetic the situations which transpire, rather than those she encounters, are played for light comedy.  

The film’s approach to Alice’s husband, here delving into a subtly cyclical narrative style, if not unpredictable still bears it’s impact. And then there’s the matter of Alice’s new bestie.     

The at least at the outset necessary platform for expounding much of this world’s odds and ends, for Alice’s purposes and our own, soon the figure is left rendered as a much more traditional sounding board vis-a-vis Alice’s clear arc. Her mate serving as the basis for a twist very obvious from the get-go, it’s treatment herein as a major revelation is not near the levels of storytelling otherwise evinced by a very good picture.

Alice screened as part of the Sydney Underground Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival and screens as part of the Byron Bay Film Festival on Saturday October 19, Wednesday October 23 & Sunday October 27 and Screenwave on January 18 and 21, 2020

on Falkenscreen