I’m guilty of assuming that life ends at 60, with reduced opportunities to try something new or recapturing a love of something you haven’t done in years. And most films rarely feature people, especially women, above 60 years old. But the new Australian film, A Stitch In Time, is a reminder that this isn’t always the case.
Written and directed by Sasha Hadden in her first project, A Stitch In Time centres on Liebe (Maggie Blinco), a Jewish woman in her older years of life in a disappointing long term relationship with failed musician Duncan (Glen Shorrock, from the Little River Band). While he still hopes to become the rockstar he has always wanted to be, brutish and mean, Liebe is his positive and loving wife despite his disdain for her. Things take a turn for the worst and she decides to try and make a living for them both.
But a chance encounter with Chinese Australian fashion designer Hamish (Hoa Xuande) inspires her to return to her love of dressmaking and he helps her set up and sell her clothes at a local Sydney market. As Liebe finds her stride again and changes her circumstances, this heartwarming story is a reminder that there’s always time to change the trajectory of your life.
The film is strong in concept but fails in its execution at times; the dialogue could be sharpened, the direction feels stilted at times, pacing can be a bit all over the place. A sharper polish could have made the film a first-class adventure, yet the story at the centre of the film is what allows it to succeed at every level.
There are plenty of comedic scenes and dramatic parts, but Hadden struggles to balance the two in a way that connects the film together. Fights are high energy and bombastic, followed by slower and more lacking scenes of introspection or development that can feel disconnected. A better balance of these two diverging emotions could have allowed for a more enjoyable experience.
Blinco carries the film with a soft and relatable performance, making her sympathetic despite some questionable decisions, and slowly revealing how her own self-esteem has been ruined by Duncan. She’s a marvel to watch and without her, the film wouldn’t work.
With a few changes, the film’s exploration of the story and message could have resonated with audiences a bit better, but for a first time venture, Hadden presents a strong debut with this feature.