By Chris dos Santos
14th August 2019

Musicals are hands-down my favourite genre, and even though there aren’t that many these days, I still get excited every time I hear of the possibility of a new one. So when I heard about a one from New Zealand, I jumped at the chance to check it out.

On his death bed, Eric’s (George Mason) youngest daughter, Maisie (Kimbra) leaves him to go perform at a gig. There, she recounts her mother and father’s relationship through the music of The Lips, following their relationship from meeting in Hamilton in 1966 through the 80s.

This isn’t your typical musical - there are no dance numbers, and the musical element is very subtle. We, of course, see Maisie singing the songs on stage, but her parents are also singing in the flashbacks. While characters are singing, we cut back and forth between the scene playing out without them singing to a version of where they are now. I understand why it was done, to some extent, but if you’re going to show people singing just let them sing - don’t cut away to what would it looks like in normal life; we've already seen them belt a tune don’t go back on your musical theme. Musicals are a tough sell for a lot of audiences, so trying to slowly get you into that world is fine, but after a while, the audience is on board so just let the numbers happen.


The film is based on a true story, and that kind of hinders the film. The way things play out could have been resolved better if characters just talked to each other. When the big reveal of the film happens, we have one character yelling at the other while they just stand there (in one of those half-musical moments), and this changes all the relationships in the film. Because it’s such a big shift, it’s strange that no one ever talks about it.

Even Kimbra, who's just singing on stage, does a really good job of conveying emotions and portraying how she feels about her parents' relationship.

The acting is quite good - even Kimbra, who's just singing on stage, does a really good job of conveying emotions and portraying how she feels about her parents' relationship. Rose Mclver, playing Rose the mother, is also another standout; you really feel everything she is going through and understand her actions at the end.

‘Daffodils’ is a film worth investing your time in, with strong performances and high emotions, but it suffers from being afraid to commit to the musical genre and a story that needed another revision to make the third act shift stronger.

Looking for more Melbourne International Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
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