Somersault (film)

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Somersault movie poster.jpg
Somersault film poster
Directed by Cate Shortland
Produced by Anthony Anderson
Jan Chapman
Written by Cate Shortland
Starring Abbie Cornish
Sam Worthington
Erik Thomson
Anne Louise Lambert
Leah Purcell
Music by Decoder Ring
Cinematography Robert Humphreys
Edited by Scott Gray
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures (USA)
Release dates
17 May 2004 (2004-05-17)
Running time
106 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget A$4 million[1]
Box office A$2,158,574[2]

Somersault is a 2004 Australian independent film written and directed by Cate Shortland, featuring Abbie Cornish and Sam Worthington. Released in September 2004, the film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.[3] It also swept the field, winning every single feature film award—13 in total—at the 2004 Australian Film Institute Awards.

Exploring the themes of teenage sexuality and emotion, Somersault is about a 16-year-old girl named Heidi (Cornish) who runs away from her Canberra home to the ski fields of Jindabyne in New South Wales. There she meets Joe (Worthington), the son of a local farmer, and tries to form a relationship with him, despite his difficulty in expressing his emotions. He also seems to be unsure of his sexual orientation, despite having better than average luck meeting girls.

The soundtrack is written and performed by Australian band Decoder Ring. Some scenes were shot at the Ryrie homestead at Michelago, New South Wales.



Heidi, a somewhat isolated teenager living in the suburbs of Canberra, flees her home after her mother finds her kissing her boyfriend. Isolated and alone, she initially travels to Snowy River with the promise of a job offer, however she eventually re-locates to the ski fields of Jindabyne after the job opportunity falls through. Heidi's attractive appearance and vulnerability lead her into various situations and escapades in the small town. There, she meets Joe, an equally confused young man who is having trouble with his sexuality. Joe is the son of a wealthy local farmer who finds comfort in her presence. However, Joe's insecurities toward his sexual orientation lead to a turbulent relationship between the two. While trying to express and reciprocate feelings towards Heidi, he kisses a gay man, leading to further problems for the newly aquatinted couple.


Somersault grossed $2,158,574 at the box office in Australia and was well received by critics.[4] The critical review aggregator web site Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an 83% favorable rating, counted from 64 reviews with 53 "Fresh" and 11 "Rotten", and summarised it as "A poignant coming-of-age tale marked by a breakout lead performance from Abbie Cornish and a successful directorial debut from Cate Shortland."[5]

Fenella Kernebone for SBS noted "Somersault is a real labour of love for Cate Shortland and every element in the film is carefully considered." Kernebone awarded the film four stars out of five. [6]


In the 2004 AFI Awards held on 29 October at Regent Theatre, Melbourne, Somersault made history by winning a record 13 awards, out of its 15 nominations. The film picked up the following awards: Best Film (awarded to producers Anthony Anderson and Jan Chapman); Best Direction (Cate Shortland); Best Original Screenplay (Cate Shortland); Best Actress in a Leading Role (Abbie Cornish); Best Actor in a Leading Role (Sam Worthington); Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Lynette Curran); Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Erik Thomson); Best Editing (Scott Gray); Best Cinematography (Robert Humphreys, A.C.S.); Best Sound (Mark Blackwell, Peter Smith and Sam Petty); Best Original Music Score (Decoder Ring); Best Production Design (Melinda Doring); Best Costume Design (Emily Seresin).

Somersault was also a big winner at the 2004 Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA) Annual Awards where it picked up five awards: Best Film; Best Director (Cate Shortland); Best Actress (Abbie Cornish); Best Cinematography (Robert Humphreys); Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Lynette Curran).

The film also dominated the publicly voted Lexus IF Awards, taking out six of its eight nominations. It won awards in the following categories: Best Director (Cate Shortland), Best Music, Best Cinematography, Best Script, Best Feature Film and Best Actress for Abbie Cornish.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hopscotch Presents Somersault". Cinematic Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Somersault". Movie Marshal. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Somersault". Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  5. ^ "Somersault (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Kernebone, Fenella. "Somersault (review)". SBS. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 

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