Is This the Real World

DRAMA; 1hr 30min

STARRING: Sean Keenan, Greg Stone, Charlotte Best, Susie Porter

Water babies: Best and Keenan

With his bolshie attitude (and photoshoot-ready looks), Mark Blazey (Keenan) is an immediate outsider at his new high school. An unspecified screw-up has resulted in the squandering of Mark's private-school scholarship, and self-righteous principal Rickard (Stone) is determined that his watch will remain incident-free. "You have to choose what actions you take," he informs Mark at the outset.


That might sound like the sort of lofty bilge that teachers have been spouting since the Dawn of Time, but just as Mark is the proverbial rebel sans cause and doesn't care who knows it, Rickard is a pitch-dark horse and not afraid to show it — and he's the father of the girl (Best) to whom Mark is drawn. Nothing comes easy at home, either, where already tenuous boundaries are dissolving for Mark's overwhelmed, vino-juiced mother (Porter) and her fractured brood.


First-time director Martin McKenna's prescient screenplay taps deep into the teenage free fall of not fitting in that only crystallises once in anybody's life. Mark's refusal to bow down is a defining moment in time, as messy and risky with its sharp-edged parameters as kicking against the pricks for real.