Matching Jack

DRAMA; 1hr 43min

STARRING: James Nesbitt, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Roxburgh

Life-saver: Nesbitt and Barrett

Worst-case scenario number one: your mealy-mouthed husband has been sleeping around. Worst-case scenario number two: your nine-year-old son has leukaemia. That’s the lose–lose situation that Marisa Hagen (Barrett) faces when she inadvertently listens to a snippet of her husband David’s (Roxburgh) phone conversation with his mistress (Yvonne Strahovski), the latest in a line so long it’s amazing he was ever home. (I mean, come on, guys!)


A bone-marrow transplant from a sibling would greatly help the Hagens’ son Jack (Tom Russell). Maybe David has fathered one? As Marisa juggles the badgering of David’s past lovers with hospital time, her unexpected lifeline is the Irish father (the consistently terrific Nesbitt) of a sick boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) in the next bed.


Desperately ill children are no seaside stroll and coming on too strong is an obvious risk with such a highly charged topic. Director Nadia Tass (Amy) ensures that none of her great cast overplays their moments. But that’s not to say Lynne Renew and David Parker’s screenplay doesn’t set out to milk and milk them.