Synopsis

Mata, Missy and Makareta. Three cousins. Three lives. Separated by circumstances, yet bound together by blood. Orphaned Mata believes she has no whanau and lives out her lonely childhood in fear and bewilderment. Back home on the land, educated Makareta flees an arranged marriage to study law and begin the search for her missing cousin. She leaves behind cheeky yet dutiful Missy who takes on her role of kaitiaki (guardian) of the land. As the years pass, loss of the family land seems imminent and the women's promise to bring their stolen cousin home seems more unlikely than ever, until a chance encounter changes everything.

Director

Ainsley Gardiner

Cast

Tanea Heke
as Older Mata
Rachel House
as Older Missy
Briar Grace Smith
as Older Makareta
Ana Scotney
as Younger Mata
Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne
as Younger Makareta

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rachael-craw 10 /10

Enchanting and Heartbreaking

Well I just had my heart gently pulled from my chest and handed to me wrapped in tissue. "Cousins" was as enchanting and heartbreaking as I could have hoped. So beautifully directed, intimately and cleverly told, weaving 3 narratives and 3 timelines and somehow never losing a thread. It will stay with me a long while. I loved it.

Reviewed by SlinkyC 6 /10

Lots of heart

A film with a lot of heart (and a lot of plot holes).

Worth seeing.

Perhaps it needed a bit more time / budget.

Reviewed by Quinoa_Chris_Kirk 10 /10

Beautifully written and cinematic condensation of an expansive novel

Entwines the very different lives of three Maori girls, cousins, through tumultuous decades, after one of them is taken from her family and raised in an orphanage.

A very moving and cinematic adaptation of Patricia Grace's novel, very effectively condensed into movie length while maintaining the scope and complexity of the multiple threads. The lives of these three women, though particular and intimate, effectively represents a larger story of a culture interrupted by colonialism but regaining its strength and groundedness. The interaction between the personal and the cultural, memory and the moment, are woven together with various events, spanning decades, creating a complex portrait revealing how the past, the present and the future interact with each other, how members of a family interact through space and time, in life and in death. Though the performances were sometimes uneven, the editing and Terence Malick-like cinematography very skillfully conveyed a specific yet expansive spiritual and cultural journey through the entire lives of three compelling and tangible characters.

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