Love Birds: Movie Review
Cast: Rhys Darby, Sally Hawkins, Emily Barclay, Bryan Brown,
Faye Smythe, Craig Hall, Pierre the duck
Director: Paul Murphy
From the director of the Kiwi smash hit Second Hand Wedding, comes this new
film aimed at showing us another side of Rhys Darby.
Darby stars as Doug, a council worker who's happy with his life, living at
his parents' place and cruising along. One day, though, his long term girlfriend
Susan (Smythe) decides enough is enough and takes flight.
Within moments of that, Doug suddenly finds an injured Paradise Shelduck
dumped on his roof.
With no-one to care for the duck, Doug takes on the job - and his adventure
brings him into contact with Sally Hawkins' zoo worker Holly.
Gradually, the injured animal learns to live and love again - and so does the
To be honest, Love Birds is your fairly conventional rom com fare - guy meets
girl, complications and problems follow.
But what sets this above from the rest is Rhys Darby.
This is a career redefining moment from the guy who's prone to playing (in
his words I might add) a bit of a dick.
In Love Birds, Darby is a revelation - he's a forlorn, lost, vulnerable and
romantic lead who proves to be very watchable in what is a traditional tale.
Darby has to straddle that line of acting with animals too - as the majority of
his scenes are with Pierre the duck. But with laughs thrown in and a generally
charming tone, he manages to more than adequately get by.
The unexpectedly humourous moments are underplayed as well - and are a lot
more enjoyable because of that.
Special mention needs to go to the cinematography as well - every shot of
Auckland (from the swooping harbour bridge shots through to the night time
street shots, once again, the City of Sails looks simply amazing.
A little disappointing is the underuse of the great Bryan Brown as a vet and
narratively, it has to be said, Craig Hall adds little to the proceedings.
In all honesty, Love Birds won't win for originality of script; it's sweet
and charming (but never overly so).
However, what it will win for is making you think twice about Rhys Darby.
He's an affable, believable and extremely convincing lead - and based on this
alone, he's destined for even greater things.