Bruce Beresford’s charming look at Sydney in the late fifties strikes a warm nostalgic tone. One that follows a number of women of various age who work at a posh department store called Goodes. It’s a time when the sexes had their roles very much defined by their gender.
It was a straight jacketed life for the women who had to follow their man’s lead even if it meant a life spent in the kitchen while the man of the house runs down to the local pub. In the context of the slowly emerging freedom that women would have to work so hard to achieve, the main players here are forbearers of a better time.
Foreigner Julia Ormond as Magda is married to Stefan (Vincent Perez) and together they form an unusually equal union. Lisa (Angourie Rice) is just discovering herself as she strives to free herself from the life her mother (Susie Porter) has of servitude to an unappreciative husband played by Shane Jacobson. Rachael Taylor as Fay is distancing herself from Australian men and their boorish behaviour by dating Rudi (Ryan Corr) an immigrant with old world charm.
These women and their life stories are told with little judgement but as a direct sign of the times. In some ways it shows how far things have come but in others how little has actually changed.