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"Wish You Were Here": Australians Are Xenophobic Too! 

Wednesday, Jun 5 2013
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Wish You Were Here If Kieran Darcy-Smith's Wish You Were Here is any indication, the fear of the dark-skinned Other taking advantage of innocent white tourists overseas is not a strictly American anxiety. Told partially in flashback, not-quite-happily married Australian couple Alice (Felicity Price) and Dave (Joel Edgerton) join Alice's sister Teresa (Steph McKinney) on an impromptu Cambodian pleasure trip with the mysterious Jeremy (Antony Starr), who disappears after a night of Ecstasy-fueled pandemonium. Their lives continue to fall apart back home in what feels like a season's worth of soap opera plots crammed into a lean 89 minutes, though the fact that Price and Edgerton live in a beautiful house overlooking the ocean can't help but distract from the gnashing of their teeth, making it a little harder to care about their troubles. For all the melodrama it piles on, Wish You Were Here might have been better served by going the L'avventura or Picnic at Hanging Rock route and leaving the mystery of Starr's disappearance unsolved, but instead opts for the What Really Happened reveal at the end, at which point the film descends into utter xenophobic hysteria. But it's not unentertaining xenophobic hysteria, and the film's overall message seems to be this: If you must take Ecstasy, don't do it in Cambodia. Noted and logged!

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Sherilyn Connelly

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