Film Review: That’s Not Me (Australia, 2017) is a feel good film about disappointment

Riding on their wave of festival success, filmmaking couple Alice Foulcher and Gregory Erdstein’s debut feature film That’s Not Me shows just what you can achieve with a low budget and bucket loads of passion.

Shot on a budget of $60,000, That’s Not Me follows the day to day slog of Polly (Alice Foulcher), a struggling actor who works at the local cinema. Surrounded by supportive parents, fun housemates and an understanding manager, Polly doesn’t really have very much to complain about – she’s just come off acting in a well known play after all. However Polly’s well rehearsed life is thrown under the bus when her identical twin Amy (also played by Foulcher), who is also an actor, strikes gold and makes it big in Hollywood.

Polly, who had always thought she was the more successful and talented of the two all of a sudden has an un-identical life to her sister’s without any way of accessing it. As a result of Amy’s fame, she is mistaken for Amy in casting sessions and in cafes. Polly’s insecurities grow large and reveal an ugly chip on her shoulder.

Even though the story doesn’t really move beyond the paradox of Polly’s desire to be like Amy, the tone and the performance throughout the film is dynamic and enjoyable. Alice Foulcher shines as the twin duo, effortlessly transitioning from sulky, puppy eyed Polly, to confident and radiant Amy. Inspired directors such as the Coen Brothers, Alexander Payne and Greta Gerwig, Erdstein makes us love Polly for her flaws and all. From rehearsing her Oscar winning acceptance speech on the toilet, to being mistaken as a famous Albino, Polly hilariously parades into gags and sets herself up for a series of cringe worthy events. In this way the tone feels quite self deprecating, relatable and distinctly Australian – we’ve all been there.

As well as this, stand out cameos from Isabel Lucas and Richard Davies, direct the attention away from Polly’s self centred world, shining a light onto the problems of the entertainment industry and what it really means to go for your dreams. The sacrifice is real and it takes a spontaneous trip to LA for Polly to realise that her dreams might not be her own. That’s not Me plays like the anti La La Land, you can’t always fake it till you make it.

Ultimately, That’s not Me is a feel good film about disappointment. We enjoy watching Polly rise to the challenge (and then take a fall) and we hope for her sake that she comes to terms with herself. We like her more than Amy because Polly is representative of us and the pipe dreams we all blindly run after.

However in saying all of this, ironically, through the failed story of Poppy, Alice Foulcher and Gregory Erdstein have successfully turned their pipe dream into reality. That’s Not Me is a celebration of emerging Australian talent; let’s hope they get a substantially larger budget for their next film.

Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

That’s Not Me is in cinemas now.