Lantana Background

Lantana Background

Lantana is a 2001 Australian film based on the play Speaking in Tongues by Andrew Bovell, who also adapted the screenplay. This thriller centering on the disappearance of Dr. Valerie Somers took viewers and critics along on a ride of twists and turns that was ultimately confirmed as one of the most exciting journeys in film history at the Australian Film Institute Awards.

Lantana’s cast and crew cleaned the board in a way that has seldom been seen at the Academy Awards: in addition to Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, all four nominees in the acting categories would be honored with wins. It came within one Best Supporting Actor win of duplicating the feat at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards.

The change in title during the process of adaptation may well have been stimulated by the more global association of Speaking in Tongues with the album by Talking Heads. Yet Lantana also proves to be more thematically coherent name for the film. Lantana itself is a deceptively ornamental plant unwisely introduced into the Australia ecosystem; it proved to be a terribly noxious invasive weed with long tendrils that eventually intertwine into a toxic thicket. The description is almost equally apt for the way that the storylines of the multiple important characters (remember all those acting awards it won) intertwine into a thicket of deception and deceit.

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