Adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s The wild duck, Australian melodrama The daughter‘s beginning shows all the signs of a class warfare film. It soon becomes clear that this is not director/writer Simon Stone’s plan. Set in a small town where the wealthy Henry Neilson (Geoffrey Rush), announces that he is forced to close down the timber mill that, until now, has been the town’s main employer. Henry seems unfazed by that as he soon will marry Anna (Anna Torv), his former housekeeper. Coming for the wedding is Henry’s son Christian (Paul Schneider). Christian is not happy with his father’s choice a bride. While in town, Christian visits his old friend, Oliver (Ewen Leslie), who works at the mill and will be soon jobless. Oliver is also invited to the wedding because his father, Walter (Sam Neill), was Henry’s closest friend. When he meets Oliver’s wife, Charlotte (Miranda Otto), Christian recognizes her as another of his father’s housekeeper, and, of course, Henry’s mistress. In case you want to know, the daughter of the title is Hedwig, Oliver and Charlotte’s teenage daughter played by Odessa Young. This is the type of thing that passes for good drama these days. There is enough plot to last a year on Eastenders. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating: 6 months! Christian is a robot who acts the way he does to advance the plot. And The daughter becomes an overdone film with loads of bad acting. Paul Schneider cannot be credible as Christian. Who could? Sam Neill gives the best performance of the film, but he can’t save it. There ain’t nothing like a good melodrama. Unfortunately, this ain’t it.
Inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s play The wild duck