Melbourne International Film Festival Review: Colin Hay: Waiting For My Life To Begin (USA, 2015)

Who can it be now? The documentary, Colin Hay: Waiting For My Life To Begin is about the affable Men At Work front man-turned-solo troubadour who is now known for his appearances on the TV show, Scrubs. The film is a fascinating and honest one that is a little in-cohesive at times but still manages to triumph and cover an artist’s brilliant career in music.

The documentary is the debut one from Aaron Faulls and Nate Gowtham. It’s a real love letter that brings together a lot of music as well as archive footage and clips from Hay’s recent live variety show of the same name. There are also lots of talking head interviews, including some very candid ones with the subject himself.

The unlikely group of interviewees that are featured include Hay’s sister, Carol; both his former and current wives; and his former Men At Work bandmates; as well as: Guy Pearce, Jimeoin, Zach Braff, Hugh Jackman, Mick Fleetwood and Sia, to name a few. To say this is a veritable who’s who of the arts and music worlds would be an understatement.

This film could have suffered from being pure hagiography and focused on the tremendous success of Hay’s band, their Business As Usual album and the hit singles, “Down Under” and “Who Can It Be Now?” But Messer Hay and the filmmakers are not afraid to show some darker moments and anecdotes alongside other funny stories and bits. Hay’s alcoholism and divorce are covered as well as the premature break-up of the band who suffered from their enormous and fast success.

The recent, controversial legal case and thorn in the band’s side is also described. Hay and Ron Strykert were sued for copyright infringement by the company, Larrikin Music Publishing (who own the rights to the children’s nursery rhyme, “Kookaburra”). Hay holds nothing back as he describes how upset his father was about the ordeal and the toll the proceedings took on his late, former bandmate, Greg Ham.

Colin Hay: Waiting For My Life To Begin is a rambling but heart-warming tribute to an excellent singer-songwriter and storyteller. It chronicles the colossal rise to the top that Men At Work enjoyed as well as the sad aftermath and the quirky little twists and turns that John Lennon once described as life happening when you’re busy making other plans. Hay is ultimately a likeable and inspirational raconteur and artist who has defiantly taken life’s challenges head on and come out the other side smiling, looking like he is singing while he’s winning.


Colin Hay: Waiting For My Life To Begin recently premiered at Melbourne International Film Festival.