Antonia and Jane

(Beeban Kidron, UK, 1991)


It is hard for me to comprehend the Australian arthouse success of Antonia and Jane. This BBC telemovie, rather scrappily directed by Beeban Kidron (Used People, 1992), explores the parallel lives of two friends who meet once a year. Both narrate their stories from the same analyst’s couch.

Jane (Imelda Staunton) is large and obsessive, while Antonia (Saskia Reeves) is conventionally good-looking, married and successful. The twist in this premise is that each woman silently envies the other – and this envy implies both resentment and affection.

The script by Marcy Kahan is a purely brittle comedy of manners, in which all men are little boys, most sex is a disappointment, and women’s daily lives are ruled over by empty fads and fashions.

Kidron’s occasional attempts to infuse some authentic, upbeat feeling into this tawdry tale are dismal indeed.

MORE Kidron: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar

© Adrian Martin August 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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