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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 1999
I love this movie! I am Australian and you may think that makes me biased, but I'm not a great fan of all Australian movies. Having worked in another Psychiatric Hospital very near to the one where this was filmed, I can vouch for the characterization of the patients and staff. I saw exact replicas of patients I'd known, and yes a lot of them really do act like that. No-one gave a bad performance but the three knockout actors were Jackie Weaver( Cherry), Barry Otto (Roy) and David Wenham (Doug). We don't make many formula movies in Australia-we leave that up to Hollywood ,but if you like something different, offbeat and gritty and you're a fan of movies like Strictly Ballroom, Priscilla or Muriel's Wedding, you'll love this. I found it hilariously funny but also touching in a not-so soppy way.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2000
A poignant and touching australian comedy drama which I highly recommend to film buffs out for some much needed relief from sci-fi, action films and special effects. The story centres around Lewis, a young sydneysider who half-heartedly applies for a job as an occupational therapist in a Sydney mental hospital, and gets it at he toss of a coin, literally. His main brief is to organise a variety show for the patients but this is immediately suborned by one persistent resident who insists they instead perform Mozart's complicated romance"Cosi fan Tutte". Thereby he is introduced to an interesting cast of characters each with their own phobias, psychoses and hangups. This and his own relationship worries with partner Lucy do not make life any easier. Enough said.
Lewis' cast is comprised of the usual suspects. Roy a manic esthete with a thirst for stage exposure, the painfully shy but suicidal Ruth, Doug the young foul-mouthed pyromaniac and Julie, the recovering drug addict played by a svelte Toni Collette almost unrecognizable from her 'Muriel' role. Cuckoos Nest this is not although the film does lend itself to the same theme. That united with people with whom we would otherwise not associate for a common cause, imperfect as they may be is uplifting in itself. Dealing with wilful mental patients like Roy and the violently agressive Cherry who have their own ideas about stage direction, Lewis fears for his own safety but before he quits suddenly realises that for all their idiosyncracies he really does like the misfits and decides to give it his best shot. Having worked in a psychiatric institution I found the portrayals well researched and not over the top as has been suggested. Also endearing was the head nurse, Errol who despite his burnt out approach and not looking out of place with a fag in his mouth really did show he cared. My only gripe is that Toni Collette was underused especially with that marvellous voice.Well, more kudos to the aussies for a job well done, and this from a kiwi! Save this one for a rainy day, or better yet give the disappointing MI2 a miss and rent Cosi out for the night. You wont be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2005
The Australian film industry gave us this little treasure about a young man who can't keep a job. His tenure at an insane asylum is cut short by an out-of-control patient, who is only one of MANY - you will never forget Roy! The Opera Cosi Fan Tutti is presented in such a fun way that you almost wish you could see the whole thing. The 'heart-warming' ending doesn't detract too much, but be sure to stay ALL the way through the credits.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2002
Cosi is an absolutely fantastic find in the sea of Australian movies that are often total trash! A truly honest and original film, it creates several hilarious psychiatric patients including a pyromaniac to make Cosi a captivating story that really does entertain you for a couple of hours.
Based on the play written by Louis Nowra, Cosi is the uplifting story of how a group of psychiatric hospital tenants come together to perform an Italian opera Cosi Fan Tutte (Mozart) against the initial thoughts of the amateur director who has agreed to help the patients "come out of their shells". This is a tale of how "Jerry" (as one of the patient labels him) learns to accept these people and eventually he discovers and reveals to the audience that although these people are considered "crazy lunatics", they are, in essence, no more crazy than the people on the 'outside'.
This movie is for those looking for an original, creative film that guarantees laughs and smiles as well as entertaining characters and good ol' Aussie humour.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2006
This is a wonderfully touching movie! I've watched it several times over and simply love it each time. It's funny...it's sad...it's human...it's life. As moving as this story is, I don't recommend it for children due to the language. On my scale of buy, or not to buy...definitely a buy!

This is the story of a young man (Lewis), an amateur theatre director, who's just having the devil of a time figuring out his life. He looses his job and reluctantly takes a position as an activities director in a government-run program for the rehabilitation of people with varying degrees of mental illness.

As activites director, Lewis is tasked with organizing a seriously dysfunctional group of mentally ill individuals to put on a show to justify the funding and existance of the program. He's absolutely horrified when introduced to his "charges" and wants nothing to do with the project. He's persuaded to take on the challenge, and the adventure of a lifetime begins. As hard as Lewis tries to stay emotionally detached from his cast, he finds he can't help but let them into his life. To his surprise, the closer he gets to them the more he learns about himself, his own life, and life in general.

For their presentation, the group decides they want to do a play and pick Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte. I don't think this particular production was quite what Mozart had in mind for his play! What could go wrong? Oh my! What couldn't go wrong?!?! Everything you can think of happens during the rehearsals and the actual presentation of the play. The actors are trained well though, and the show goes on to finish...and...what a finish it is!

The sadness, humor and frailty of each character portrayed in this movie is just fantastic. The acting is superb. The directing excellent. This is just an all around good movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is a funny and poignant story- our hero is hired to direct a play at a mental hospital as a type of therapy for the patients. Lewis is not quite sure what he is in for. He meets an vaired assortment of societal outcasts and oddballs who in the end don't appear to be all that different from the people outside the institution.

Notable performances-

Ben Mendelsohn as Lewis the director

Rachel Griffiths as Lucy his girlfriend

Toni Collette as Julie a troubled young woman whose parents have sent her to a mental institution to deal with her drug problem

David Wenham ( aka Faramir from Return of the King) plays Doug a disturbed pyromaniac who stirs up trouble for the production.

The patients do not settle for some lame variety show and push to put on an opera- Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart. They do the opera as a play in English with singing for the finale. The play's theme is echoed by the events of the film- Lewis's friend Nick moves in with Lewis and Lucy and tells Lewis she is cheating on him. They make a bet. The play revolves around two young soldiers who make a bet that their women will be true- and then deceive them and the women fall in love with the new men they think they have met while their men are off at war.

The comedy is typical Aussie- a combo of physical slapstick and sight gags and some biting verbal barbs.

Toni Collette proves here she can sing beautifully- does an a cappella rendition of Stand By Me that steals the show.

Enjoyable overall- a gem in the rough I was pleased to stumble onto!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Cosi" is a great film I think. I watched in the television and I simply liked it very much. After that, I bought the DVD of the film. The most impressive part of this movie is simplicity I think. Yes, it is a simple film but there are secret interpretions and comments about the opera of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "Cosi Fan Tutte". This is mainly why I liked this movie. Simplicity is something magical I think. Everybody can say a lot of things about Mozart, his opera "Cosi Fan Tutte" with complicated words but this movie showed me what a mental patient can think about this opera and honestly, I gained a different point of view. Their simple ideas were really very powerful. They seem to be not interested in playing in the opera "Cosi Fan Tutte" but when you watch them, watch their actions, you understand that, they believe in playing this opera than any other can. They maybe mentally impaired but their hearts, their souls are as healthy as or maybe more healthy than a mentally normal person. The second important thing of the film for me is the characterisation. The perfect match of the characters really impress me so much. They, the patients always argue with each other but I sense a strange bound between them. So, if you want to see a lovely comedy, if you want to gain a different point of view, if you want to watch two lovely, beautiful and talented actresses - Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths - and if you want to witness to the reborn of the opera "Cosi Fan Tutte", I strongly recommend you to watch the movie "Cosi".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2001
ive loved this movie since the first day i saw it 6 yrs ago. every time i see it i still find myself laughing till im purple. you will never see a movie that has so many interesting characters doing so many different styles of comedy. if you like anything from the wedding singer to spy hard, space balls to theres something about mary, youll love this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 1999
A hilarious tale of an actor who, desperate for work, takes the job as a occupational therapaist in a state mental hospital. He finds there a collection of wonderful, eccentric, inpatients who are portrayed to perfection. In staging the opera "Cosi Fan Tutti", he finds more than a collection of nuts. He finds his love, self-respect and the freindships that can only be born of insanity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 1999
Lewis shows his compassion and commitment to a group of new inpatient friends. In return, he finds his love, satisfaction, self-respect and especially the wonderful friendships from a number of sincere and warm human beings. The closure is sad when everyone has to say goodbye. I thourougly enjoyed this movie (more than Muriel's wedding).
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