“Opal Dream”

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
April 14, 2007

A family film with plenty of heart, Opal Dream draws home the point that sometimes you don’t have to see things to believe in them.

Set in the Australian outback, the film focuses on Kellyanne (Sapphire Boyce), a sensitive young girl whose only pals are a pair of imaginary friends named Dingan and Pobby. She is so attached to them that her mother sets two extra plates at the dinner table. And when she’s at school, she seems oblivious to her schoolmates who mock her as she skips to class “holding” Dingan and Pobby’s hands.

In an effort to encourage her to make real live friends, her mother takes Kellyanne to a neighbor’s pool party while her father agrees to take Dingan and Pobby to the opal mine he has been unsuccessfully prospecting. It is from this point on that the family’s fortune turns. To appease his daughter — who insists her father lost her friends — Rex (Vince Colosimo) returns to the mine, only to be accused by another prospector of trying to poach from the latter’s reserve.

Unable to reconcile herself with the loss of her only friends, Kellyanne’s health deteriorates. It is left to her brother Ash (Christian Byers) to make things right by believing in his sister.

At times, the viewer is left wondering whether the family — and the town — has been doing Kellyanne a disservice by encouraging her to believe that her imaginary friends are real.  Fragile and gentle, she may have benefited from talking to a therapist years ago.

Directed by Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty), Opal Dream is uneven and doesn’t always flow smoothly.

But the child actors are charming and the message is sweet. As Ash says, “No matter what anyone said, they really did live.”

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