DRAMA; 1hr 32min
STARRING: Jared Daperis, Jodie Rimmer
Field of dreams: Daperis
Sixteen-year-old Tony Hobbs (Daperis) is a good kid and his mum, Paula (Rimmer), is lucky to have him. Gratitude is hard to come by, though: with Tony’s father having died the previous year, money is tight and Paula, who has MS, works double night-time shifts in the thankless field of telephone sales. This leaves Tony trapped in their Melbourne home with his baby brother, Charlie, who is adorable in the spacey, chipmunk-cheeked way of babies but who also cries a lot. Tony’s glimmer of hope is a shot at playing high-school state rugby but it’s a perilously long shot without contact lenses and cash.
Like the plucky, struggling Hobbs family, Playing for Charlie is an evocative, hard-working little number with director Pene Patrick packing a ton of feeling into a slender frame. It’s about blurring moral lines to get what you need, and how the best intentions can run off the rails. As Tony, Daperis bears the lion’s share of the load. No wonder he sometimes seems so old, like a drowning man trapped inside the boy he wants to be.