Movie Review: The Great Maiden's Blush


The Great Maiden's Blush - Graeme Tuckett's Kiwi movie of the year


The Great Maiden's Blush (M, 108 mins) Directed by Andrea Bosshard & Shane Loader ★★★★½

The Great Maiden's Blush is the third feature film from Wellington duo Andrea Bosshard and Shane Loader.

Their first, Taking The Wae Wae Express, was a wee gem, full of unexpected moments as it tracked a young man's path to reconciliation after a car crash. The second, Hook, Line and Sinker, put us in the middle of a family working their way through a health crisis. They were both modest and likeable films.

Miriama McDowell and Renee Lyons star in The Great Maiden's Blush.

Miriama McDowell and Renee Lyons star in The Great Maiden's Blush.

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In retrospect, they were also a training ground for Bosshard and Loader as they worked towards The Great Maiden's Blush. Because this film, small in scale though it may still be, is the work of a couple of mature film-makers just dripping with intelligence, flair and vision.

The Great Maiden's Blush is a tale of two women. They come from different sides of the tracks, but sharing a ward after the births of their children, they forge an alliance.

And from there, two very different stories unfold. Somehow The Great Maiden's Blush takes in illegal street racing, rose breeding (from which the film gets its name), love, sex and death. For a film that takes place over a couple of days and only involves a handful of disparate people, it sure has got some universal and weighty themes on its mind, as well as a few plot machinations that could have been lifted from one of the operas Bosshard and Loader also found the time to include.

But, it works. This is a sinuous, clever, ambitious, nuanced, layered and gorgeously assembled film.

Pay The Great Maiden's Blush the attention it deserves and you'll be rewarded with one of the most beautifully photographed, best sounding and best written films you'll see all year. Bravo.

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