Locally made indie film That’s Not Me is a well observed comedy that often hits the right notes without ever testing the boundaries of its modest ambitions. It’s a good-natured charmer that will have its work cut out finding a broad audience.
27-year old Polly (Alice Foulcher) is an aspiring actor still looking for her big break. She’s an actor with principles, refusing to accept such lowbrow gigs as commercials or soapies. A role in one particular soapie, which has more than a passing resemblance to Home and Away, gets the flick from her because the character has albinism. Accepting the role, in her view, would be some kind of inverted whitewashing, and should go to someone who really has albinism.
Instead Polly is holding out for a much alluded-to part in an HBO project starring Jared Leto. The problem is she has a twin sister, Amy (Fulcher again), who’s also an actor. Polly is more talented than Amy, according to Polly, but Amy is more pragmatic about her career decisions and quite happily takes the albino part, which then leads to that HBO gig that Polly was holding out for.
Amy’s star had already been on the rise, which had been causing a rift between the sisters, but her escalating fame makes life even harder for Polly, who annoyingly keeps getting mistaken for her suddenly ubiquitous sister. It also makes it impossible to get any acting work, being the identical twin of a succesful actor. And she certainly doesn’t want to be part of a twin act. When she proclaims she doesn’t want to be one half of something, another character cuttingly replies, “you’re not even that”.
Polly makes ends meet working as a cinema cashier (in scenes filmed at Melbourne’s iconic Astor theatre) where her withering tolerance of the same questions and remarks from cinema goers will cause pangs of recognition from anyone who’s ever been a ticket seller.
Fulcher is very good as the twins – not that we see that much of Amy, whose achievements and high profile fling with Jared Leto happen completely off-screen. The comedy reaches its high point when Polly decides to drop her principles and starts impersonating her famous sister.
The film however never really gets into top gear, and remains a fairly modest endeavour, despite its charms. It’s more of a promising calling card for all concerned than a truly satisfying cinema experience.
Shot on a pretty tight budget, director Gregory Erdstein has done a good job of making the film look as smart as it does. His script, co-written with the film’s star, Fulcher, is amusing, in a light and breezy kind of way.
That’s Not Me is a sweet but slight film which will likely find a larger audience on the small screen.
That’s Not Me is currently in limited theatrical release
Richard Leathem @dickiegee