It may be a cheesy, rom-com chick flick, but singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem’s first lead acting role in an original Australian production since 2005 is paying dividends … despite shocking reviews and a 29 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Netflix’s Love is in the Air, shot along the beaches of Far North Queensland and with a cyclone for added drama, has suddenly become the second-most-popular film on the streaming giant globally.
With it standing at No.3 in Australia, it has been viewed more than 11.7 million times since its release on September 28.
Great news for Netflix, for Goodrem’s film career prospects and for tourism promotion in FNQ, but somewhere in between audiences are clearly divided.
Goodrem plays Dana Randall, an ultra-committed pilot for a non-profit air service who works alongside her father (Roy Billing) and best friend (Steph Tisdell) to provide the essential air services that island communities depend on.
The service relies on subsidies from a London-based organisation, which unknown to Dana, has financial struggles. Dana is charmed by William (Joshua Sasse), sent out from London to review the air service and secretly prepare for its closure.
The Australian-based Netflix project comes as streaming companies face more pressure to produce local content, and will likely be required to fill a government-imposed quota from July 2024 onwards.
But while the streaming giant is enjoying success with this project, some of the reviewers and critics weren’t jumping for joy.
A ‘saccharine mess’
The Guardian’s Luke Buckmaster described the film as a “very corny and saccharine romance”.
” … a galumphing heffalump of a movie that is best – and perhaps only – enjoyed by devotees of the Sydney-born performer.
“Most audiences will emerge from this formulaic and hammily acted production feeling like they’ve inhaled a block of cheese the size of a car battery.”
“Couldn’t get through this movie, it was so dull and predictable … the script left a lot to be desired, however it could’ve been better with some decent acting from its cast,” wrote one reviewer on IMDb who went by the acronym, KC.
“The lead actress playing Dana displayed some of the worst acting I have ever seen. There was absolutely no chemistry between the two main characters who were meant to be falling in love, making the whole story even more unbelievable.
“The only good thing about this movie is the beautiful Australian scenery.”
Another wrote: “Delta looks amazing but too well groomed to be the pilot in FNQ. Beautiful scenery … easy movie to watch. Nothing new,” as more reviews commented on the poor storyline, Goodrem’s perfect make-up and costume choices.
There’s one moment in the film where Goodrem’s Dana lies on the tarmac, looks up at the night sky, and says: “When push comes to shove, a pilot can always count on them to point the way.”
“Goodrem’s performance is far from great, but delivering lines like that without blushing does require some talent,” wrote Buckmaster.
Others thought Goodrem, who enjoys a stellar career on stage and on tour, radiated charisma and carried the role with ease.
“To its credit, [the film] is perfectly pleasant … also to its credit, it’s easily forgettable,” wrote Decider’s Liz Kocan on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film comes a year since Goodrem made a Neighbours cameo (she won a Gold Logie in 2003 for most popular new female talent on the show).
It was also about five years after her last lead acting role in a musical, in which she portrayed fellow Australian artist, the late Olivia Newton-John.
Goodrem’s first film role was when she starred in a 2005 high school dramedy, Hating Alison Ashley, in which she plays a teenage Ashley who becomes the target of fellow students.
She has just finished her successful headline tour of Europe, Hearts on the Run, and returned to Australia to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her record debut album Innocent Eyes.
Goodrem announced on September 21 on Instagram “my best friend asked me to marry him”, and that she was engaged to long-term partner Matthew Copley.
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