We’ll be adding reviews of the film here. Probably just the good ones, if we’re being completely open about it. Here are some to begin with.
What the media are saying:
Rolling Stone (Ed Gibbs)
Four Stars ****
[Shai] Pittman boasts an undeniable screen presence, with her co-stars uniformly excellent … Some of the scenes in the women’s house are great fun, plus there’s an imaginative, edgy soundtrack … Smart, subtle and engaging.
Sydney Morning Herald (Paul Byrnes)
There are some strikingly beautiful, poetic moments here … Pittman gives the film a strong emotional centre. Karen’s attempts to get her life back together become quietly moving.
Screen International (Frank Hatherley)
Cole’s mainly non-professional supporting cast are delightfully quirky and brash. Pittman, as the smouldering Karen, forces you to participate in her swirling thoughts. It’s a deeply felt first feature from both actor and director.
[Cole] describes it as her “tribute to women”, and men are certainly on the periphery of a story packed with loud and memorable women, mostly Aboriginal, mostly smoking like chimneys.
The Age (Philippa Hawker)
Pittman has a wonderfully eloquent presence, particularly when the camera contemplates her in close-up. Karen is a solitary, often introspective figure, but she’s embedded in a clearly defined context, visually and emotionally. There’s a solid, beguiling sense of place in the film: of the streets and urban landscapes of Port Adelaide, and of the atmosphere of Temple House, a women’s shelter, where Karen goes to live after her jail term. There’s a lovely comic energy to these scenes: Pauline Whyman, in particular, embodies, every moment she’s on screen, an enveloping, effortless warmth.
ABC Radio National (Julie Rigg)
But the warmth, the humour and heart of the film is there in Temple House. And there is a scene, when the women are partying, and one begins singing, which lifted the hairs on the back of my neck, and cut through to the soul.
The Reel Bits (Richard Gray)
Shai Pittman is a real find in a lead role unlike many other in contemporary Australian cinema … The film is filled with warmth, humour, engaging photography and the kind of strong women that have been noticeably absent from Australian cinema of late.
Filmink (Cara Nash)
Balancing the film’s darker moments and more serious themes is a surprising strain of humour. The film is laced with warm, laugh-out-loud moments, many of which derive from the colourful personalities of the women at the shelter.
Real Time (Keith Gallasch)
Pittman plays her role with a quiet directness and an affecting watchfulness, as if slowly waking up to the real world … With its tight focus on an imperiled woman in a transient community bounded by a less welcoming if stable world, Here I Am is an assured, finely crafted film, with some of its greatest rewards to be found in the realism of its unaffected ensemble acting.
Inside Story (Louisa Lawson)
Here I Am got a standing ovation in Adelaide, and deserved it.
Melbourne Leader (Annika Priest)
One of the film’s strongest draw-cards and a grandmother several times over herself, [Marcia] Langton is amazing as Lois …
Scene Magazine (Ben Edwards)
It is this combination of low budget, truthful, and intimate doco-style filmmaking, fused together with the freedom of drama screenwriting, that inevitably leaves you immersed in the film’s warming story of self-discovery.
Eureka Street (Tim Kroenert)
Here I Am, then, is a hopeful story, in which forgiveness and redemption are attainable goals.
What the punters are saying:
A labourer from Canberra: My wife makes me come to these things all the time and I usually fall asleep. But I really enjoyed this one. I had a good laugh and even a tear, so thank you.
Matthew from Tempe: … warm-hearted, funny, moving and gorgeous to look at.
Brendan from Sydney: And the beautiful scene in the backyard with the singing and the lovely interplay between the girls and the guys. I just felt like I was in that backyard and I loved being there.
Christina from Potts Point: It got under my skin and into my heart.
Annette from Melbourne: Everyone will love it … you can’t help getting drawn in, so beautifully done. Drama … laughs … and just a few tears … Perfect!