Goddess is a sweet mood-lifter

Carol Bowditch wandered the red carpet and rubbed shoulders with Ronan Keating and Magda Szubanski at the World Premiere of Goddess. Here’s what she thought of the movie:

The first scene of this film sets up the character of Elspeth Dickens (Laura Michelle Kelly) perfectly. The protagonist twirls on a grassy mountain range, a la The Sound of Music, until she spots her twin boys eating cow-shit nearby, and her illusion of being a carefree Maria, lost in music, is wiped. She is a lonely housewife and the sole caretaker of the little terrors while her husband James (Ronan Keating. Yes, Ronan Keating) sails the seas around Tasmania in an effort to save the whales. She is helpless and bored, with nothing to keep her (marginally) sane but singing along to an old piano.

To lessen her loneliness while hubby is absent, he sets up a webcam to help them communicate. Due to tough seas or something, it seldom works for this purpose, so Elspeth puts it to use by streaming live videos of her performing songs (mostly about sinks and washing up) to the online world. She is a modern-day singing and dancing suffragette and soon becomes an overnight internet sensation. This is where Cassandra Wolfe (Magda Szubanski) comes in. She plays a high-profile, fabulously over-the-top marketing diva trying to promote a computer called “The Goddess”, which is marketed at modern, techno-savvy ladies. After a few phone calls and trips back-and-forth to a remarkably sparkly Sydney, Elspeth becomes the spokesperson of “The Goddess”. The climax revolves around her choosing between following her dreams and pursuing a life of fame, or to live simply with her family and piano in the farmhouse down south.

goddess2 It really is the characters that prevent this from being simply another rom-com with dance numbers. Cassandra Wolfe has a pretty impressive cabaret style dance routine which sees her get up close and personal with male dancers, who rub themselves all over her. It was a funny set-piece, and had the preview audience applauding at the end of the number. Her character is charming and strong, and we love her, of course, because she is Magda-bloody-Szubanski.

Dustin Clare, who acts as Cassandra’s clumsy sidekick, Rory, nudges Elspeth into the limelight, and acts as a buffer to Cassandra’s hard edge. He throws in some funny one-liners but I think the half of his appeal lies within his perfectly aligned pearly white teeth. And of course Elspeth, who dons some crazy costumes (and then bravely nothing at all when she recreates Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, stretchmarks and all), sings and dances throughout the film. She is cringeworthy in her attempt to make friends and there is a weird tangent storyline about a romance with a surfy dude with a guitar, but, she is lovely and funny when she performs her musical numbers. I especially liked the one about being a sexy, bitchy, business woman.

I liked this film, even if it piled on the cheese and cheeky one-liners. I’m pretty sure that I have never been called a “goddess,” I’m more of a lady who hasn’t brushed her hair in a week and whose sink houses exotic bacteria, but I thought that Goddess was a sweet mood-lifter that was able to bring a few laughs to this stinky tomboy.

carol bowditch
Words by Carol Bowditch