Palm Beach is a delicious movie treat that you need to watch this weekend.

Settling down to watch Palm Beach is like cracking open a bottle of your favorite wine with your oldest friend.

There’s a sense of easy familiarity to this film mixed in with just a hint of celebration, a comfort-watch movie that feels like home but is also here to make sure you have a good time.

Palm Beach stars Bryan Brown as Frank, a wealthy former music manager turned successful business owner who is celebrating a milestone birthday in the lavish Palm Beach home he shares with his wife Charlotte (Greta Scacchi).

In honour of the event, Frank has flown his oldest friends Leo (Sam Neill), his wife Bridget (Jacqueline McKenzie), Billy (Richard E Grant) and his wife Eva (Heather Mitchell) in from various parts of the world to Australia to spend the weekend reminiscing and boozing with him and his family.

It’s a raucous reunion event because the three men of the gang are still in touch after finding fame with their band Pacific Sideburns, a band which peaked in 1977 after finding modest success with just one hit song called Fearless. 

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The film eases you into the story via a sumptuous montage of moments showing the old friends and their various children reuniting after years apart, it’s a feast of emotion and in-jokes set against an ocean-side home and a view that can only be described as real estate porn.

There are endless shots of champagne being poured, heaped plates of prawns being consumed at a family-style celebratory dinner and more than a few musical moments that perfectly set the tone for what’s to come.

As the weekend festivities carry on, however, the deep cracks, long-hidden secrets and lingering resentments that are buried beneath the surface of this decades-old friendship all begin to rise to the surface in a series of volatile moments.


In Palm Beach, which was directed by Rachel Ward and co-written by Ward and playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, tensions flare between the trio of Frank, Leo and Charlotte when Leo tells the couple that he deeply regrets a decision they all made together decades ago and is now willing to rip their families apart so that the truth can finally come out.

All of that particular drama ends up taking a back seat for a moment when the gang finds out that Billy has tarnished their shared musical legacy and Bridget lets slip that she believes that Leo has never really been in love with her.

While the setup for Palm Beach is one of immense privilege and luck, as it’s a movie that goes to great pains to play up its lavish locations and the many glamorous origin stories of our main characters, there’s also a strong thread of relatability and heart here that hits home in a way that transcends status and wealth.

Palm Beach is a movie that examines the unique pain that comes with giving up your dreams in favour of an endeavor that will put some dollars in your bank account along with a tender look at lost love, what really makes a parent and the unique bond that can only exist between long-time friends who become your family.

For a comforting movie treat that is equal parts funny and thought-provoking, don’t miss Palm Beach.

Palm Beach is now playing in cinemas Australia-wide. It is rated M. 

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