It’s surprising when you realise that Palm Beach was written and directed by women (in this case director/writer Rachel Ward and writer Joanna Murray-Smith) because the women in the film play such a secondary and subservient role. The main focus is squarely on the men and their giant and misguided egos.
This is somewhat off-putting because almost every male in the movie is a jerk. It makes it difficult to connect with any of the players. This is exaggerated by the main character Frank (Bryan Brown) being rich and having a hard to relate to life of privilege. His very posh house high on a hill over looking the water actually plays a more important role than some of the women.
Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters gather together at the house to celebrate Frank’s birthday and the years have not been kind to all of them. There is also a secret held amongst some of them that is used as a plot device but is resolved so simply that its presence is hardly felt.
The final resolve feels underdeveloped and the last scene when everyone’s problems have been addressed is saccharine and inconsequential. The large ensemble cast of some of our favourite Australian and New Zealand based actors deserved better.