This film reveals more of our own character, than it is any sort of statement on the actors or the story itself. I have read through the excoriation of Naomi and Robin for playing the roles of these mature women and mothers in other reviews, who, by all account, we expect should know better. But isn't this the very issue with society at large, this Draconian insistence that everything is ordered perfectly according to our moral absolutes, our belief of what is right and wrong? If these women were never friends, and this was simply a May-December relationship, repeatedly portrayed in the movies by older men and younger women, which, for the most part, our patriarchal society either winks at or accepts altogether, we would have no issues. The problem here, and understandably so, is that each woman, and mother, given the proximity and intimacy of the women's friendship, practically raised the other's child. However, beyond that affinity, there is absolutely no relationship or blood ties between the young men - for so they were at the onset of these salacious relationships - and these older women.
Some have stated how disgusted they are by the actors for even portraying these women and vowed never to follow them again. For one, isn't it the brilliance of these women's performances, raw, vulnerable, naked, and perhaps even a little self-effacing, that they manage to make us forget for the length of this movie that we are actually watching paid performers acting out a story scripted by writers? Furthermore, the absolute intolerance and unforgiveness with which we approach this, admittedly unconventional, love story, is the very problem with our society today, isn't it? It is sadly the same intolerance with which we approach race, gender, sex, religion, culture, ethnicity, and political affiliation, quick to decry, degrade, and crucify those with whom we seem to share no affinities. This is exactly how we shut the door on dialogue and education, and become dim and distant to mutual understanding.
Let me be clear- this is not a horror story of child molestation (thank heavens!). This is frankly a delicate, daring excursion through the errant, untamable nature of the human heart. These women are taken aback by the caprices of their own responses and reactions to the advances of these "gods" who, in fact, seduce them. They try in truth to do what is "morally right". Yet, here they are nevertheless, swooning like teenagers, falling and percolating in the beautiful azure waters of these unconventional relationships, like the breathtaking beach of New South Wales, in which we watch these beautiful four creatures swim and conquer waves. Furthermore, the young men also attempt, however lazily, to adopt conventional lives as family men. However, in the end, they find out they are tornados and hurricanes in the outside world, whose chaotic forces are only tamed and organized in the private world they have always inhabited with these two women.
Finally, this film, particularly in its magnificent final shot, reminds us that for those whose hearts and souls do not beat or color in black and white, whose souls and hearts are at once resplendently colorful and untidy, that is, to the ones whose love natures cannot help but color outside the conventional lines, there is no place for such souls to thrive in this word so overrun with judgment, intolerance, and moral incrimination, than on an island away from the intrusions and interferences of "well-meaning" detractors, even if that island exists in the privacy of one's heart, and the confidentiality of one's own soul. This is why the four of them are at peace on their rectangular wooden island at sea, far from the rest of the world. They are sea creatures who turn fish out of water on land, and must race back into the water, lest the smug air of land and city, polluted by generations of discriminations, intolerances, injustices and inhumanities, suffocate them mind, body and soul.
Watch the movie without pre-judgment, if you choose, and you might just find it a worthwhile commentary on youth, aging, insecurity, conferred expectations confronting personal truths, and ultimately the beauty, wildness, recklessness, and ugliness of the human heart. It is by no means the greatest movie I have ever seen; far from that; but it is a movie I was quite glad to have seen.