Abby Jackson (Mia Wasikowska) is a passionate marine biologist travelling in a large boat while conducting underwater research. She makes a horrific discovery about the health of the coral reef she is monitoring. While her work carries great importance, she soon receives word that her mother has become increasingly unwell and is now critically ill.
Dropping everything, she returns home to care for her mother, Dora (Radha Mitchell), who still lives in the same house Abby grew up in as a young child. Returning home forces Abby to go down memory lane and reflect on her past as a young girl and her life as a teenager. We see first-hand the relationship Abby had with her mum and how Dora’s passions influenced Abby in her current line of work. We get to see the constant battle Dora had to protect the environment, and more importantly, we learn that in her youth Abby developed a friendship with a large blue groper she named Blueback. An unlikely bond under the ocean moulds and shapes Abby’s heart forever.
For those unaware, Blueback is based on the best-selling novel by Tim Winton. Blueback is best described as a heart-warming drama focusing on the importance of the ocean, the relationship between a mother and a daughter and discovering how great impact can come from one person who chooses to make a stand. Blueback shines wonderfully in the visuals, particularly in any of the underwater shots. The various locations and fantastic sceneries featured throughout are rewarding, especially on the big screen.
Blueback does have moments in its pacing that feel slower than I preferred. However, because the story carries both importance and many moments are generally touching, I still found myself invested and engaged for the entire duration. The most exciting part of the film is when we see a teenage Abby (Ilsa Fogg), granting us a greater understanding of her relationship with her mother. Abby’s relationship with her mother had its challenges as well as its stunning moments. The finale is touching, beautiful and rewarding for viewers.
Ilsa Fogg’s performance as teenage Abby was tremendous, and her scenes heightened the film the most. Radha Mitchell, playing Abby’s mum, Dora, is generally pleasing here and shines well whenever conflict or disagreement arises between her and Abby. There are heart-warming moments between the mother and daughter, and audiences who can relate to having a close relationship will connect to the film even more. Actor Eric Bana is excellent, but sadly if you’re expecting the actor to hog the screen, you will be slightly disappointed by his lack of screen time. Sadly, I found Mia Wasikowska as adult Abby a weaker aspect, and at times her presence felt somewhat unfitting.
Overall, touching and dramatic, Blueback shines strongly in many vital areas, such as most of its performances and the multiple heartfelt stories and themes. Themes such as protecting the environment, the power of a mother and daughter relationship and the significant impact of a person’s passion shine well. The pacing, for the most part, is generally excellent. Still, I can’t deny that some moments are slower than I prefer, but thankfully, the finale is rewarding and truly beautiful; thanks again to Director Robert Connolly.