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Most of the reviews of Sirens at Amazon focus on Elle, the nudity in the movie, and themes surrounding the Church's stance against freedom of expression. A few reviewers have touched intelligently on some of the biblical, Atlantean, and Homeric symbolism that suffuses the movie.
Only one reviewer, who happened not to like the film, touched on what I consider to be one of the most telling elements of the story: that Tara Fitzgerald's character Estella cheats on her husband, Hugh Grant. The reviewer thinks this is a problem, and it is, because Estella is a clergyman's wife. This should require some explaining, as Estella changes a great deal in a short amount of time during the film.
The cover of the movie shows Hugh Grant and Elle McPherson in poses suggesting a light-hearted romantic comedy. The movie is actually completely about Tara Fitzgerald's character's journey. What are the clues? The movie starts with Estella both flirting with and rebuffing a sailor on an ocean liner. Hugh Grant is not in the scene at all.
The movie follows Estella much more closely than any of the other characters and at key moments we even see hallucinations as Estella sees them: when she imagines herself naked in church and most importantly, when she "dreams" that the sirens are baptizing her (with water that turns to blood, no less, at which point she "wants to wake up") toward the end of the movie. The offensive painting for which Estella and her husband travel to Sam Neill's house shows a woman crucified in Christ's place, signalling that the female lead, not the male, is the protagonist.
But is the movie about Estella's sexual awakening? Not really.Read more ›
Anthony and his young spouse Estella, played by Tara Fitzgerald, arrive at Lindsay's estate to find the artist, portrayed by Sam Neill, busily painting away. Norman's earthy wife and three resident female models serve as his inspiration, and clothing on the four is, more oft than not, unabashedly optional. This in-your-face display of live, nubile flesh leaves the Reverend rather tongue-tied and confused (as only Grant can play it). At first, wife Estella shares her husband's righteous indignation. Then, the lush, humid, tropical surroundings and free-spirited lifestyle of the Lindsay estate, along with the presence of a hunky handyman, begin to work their liberating magic on her repressed desires. (A very nice touch is the representation of Temptation as a large serpent that slithers through occasional scenes unnoticed by anyone but the viewer.)
It all sounds potentially raunchy, but never is. Rather than being a manipulative, licentious debauchee, Neill's on-screen persona is one of an amused, live and let live observer of human nature - a sort of detached Hugh Hefner. There's an abundance of casual nudity, but it's almost artistically presented. The sexual nature of a couple scenes is more sensuous than bawdy. And, one of this film's undeniable attractions is real-life model Elle MacPherson, who plays the role of one of the uninhibited SIRENS, and who shows an eyeful. Boy, does she ever. It's an amusing and well-done adult, fairy tale.
There are too many wonderful things to explore in this movie than can be covered in an Amazon review, but here are a few. Why is the opening boat sequence shot in black and white, when the rest of the movie is in lush color? Do you understand the snake metaphor? (It shows up once in reference to Stella and once in reference to Stella and twice more.) Stella loans Giddy her wedding ring to fool Devlin, but what more than that does it represent?
Sam Neill and Hugh Grant are perfect as opponents together; but the story isn't about them. Stella makes the journey in this story, and if the result is a bit predictable it is so well done that it doesn't matter.
Also it is interesting to see a then-versus-now comparison of Portia de Rossi (Giddy) who grew up to play Nell on Ally McBeal. There's a lot of talent there that seems to have not been used enough.
Due to circumstances beyond their control the couple is forced to spend a number of days at the artist's home which he shares with a "harem" of independent minded females--his emancipated wife, three very distinct, sexy, and free-spirited models, and his two charmingly uninhibited young daughters.
In a red painted dining room the wine runs freely and the participants of the two worlds delightfully collide with animated discussion of social class, art, women's rights, sex, fairies, classical mythology, and of course, Christianity. (Oh, how I long to be among this party participating in the conversation and digging my fingernail into the Stilton cheese.)
During the stay the minister's wife is influenced by the models and "becomes" Eve. She is tempted and "falls" in this garden of Eden where she experiences sensuality and sexual passion for the first time--with surprising consequences.
In the end the worlds come together. Hearts and minds have been opened and softened. Affection and respect for the other is apparent--Christian forgiveness triumphs.
This is an intelligent, beautiful, and otherworldly erotic film that is a delight. The music, which is such a strong component to this story, composed by Rachel Portman, is exquisitely whimsical and perfect.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
even though hugh grant is in this the ladies in this movie kept you going.Published 6 days ago by stix
It did not work in a blue ray dvd player, I'm in the US. They clearly made an error and it doesn't play in the regions listed. They have issued me a full refund. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Steph
Great, free-spirited movie about a controversial English artist who paints nudes while living in Australia - quite clever and funny - but definitely not for the kids. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jan Jacpbs
Blu-ray will NOT play on region A/1 players. It is listed as All Regions, but it would not play on my Sony region 1 blu-ray player. I am in the USA.Published 2 months ago by Michael Sanders
I don’t write many reviews but I decided to for the Blu-ray version of Sirens by Umbrella purchased in Feb 2016. The movie itself is one of my favorites from the 90’s. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Doug Carson
Just a word about the blu-ray of Sirens. It has been released by Umbrella Entertainment in Austrailia and although it is marked as all-region, it does not play on Region A players. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Craig A. Busch