Flirti is not nearly as intolerable as one'd expect. For one thing, [a very young] Kidman's the unsympathetic character (inasmuch and insofar as she can't possibly help it ; and not a darned iota more!!!) -- a very welcome and certainly refreshing break from her usual Mary Sue tedium. Such a sad thing, this deeply, womanly pleaser stuck with no real male structure among which to find something to please herself pleasing.
For another thing, the black girl, the butt of the "animalistic sexuality" fetishistic expectations of the social milieu, the "sophisticated" teenager who "met Sartre -- in Paris" and "told him about marriage" is perhaps a difficult role, in the abstract ; but it's written remarkably tightly and overall workably here. What's more that little squirt carries it through quite excellently. To make it all stick quite as sweet a smile, quite as languid a certain regard were required, though I have little faith I'd have known before seeing it done.
In the end, a film called Flirt's seductive in chief because the particular interplay of well remembered, anthropologically sound, fairly if ideally universal human youth stretched out, displayed, deconstructed and dissolved against the second order effects of its self-same itself : human "society", what the recently departed adolescents of yesteryear construct for "the benefit" of today's ex-children, now teen-aged, future ex-adolescents, "as best they can". Everyone there was the same thing at some point, and will be the same thing at some future point, and so on. Difference's entirely imagined, insubstantial, mere happenstance, coincidence of timing ; beyond it only ritual, remembered form self-recomposing itself out of the ebb and flow remains, and it is why the lined-up girls whinning like mares facing the lined-up boys, teetering like colts, carries such immense power : it's purely imaginary, ecco la sua forza.
Not a film to miss.———
- 1991, by by John Duigan, with Noah Taylor, Thandie Newton. [↩]