The Sum of Us gives us Jack Thompson as Harry, a likeable working-class bloke from Balmain, and Russell Crowe as his son, Jeff, a plumber who’s “cheerful” (Harry can’t stand the word “gay”).
The casting of two icons of Australian manhood in these roles is the first surprise about The Sum of Us.
The next is how good they are, and how wise the writing is by Australian playwright, David Stevens. Thompson gives what may be the best performance of his long film career as Harry, a man who’s desperate to see his son happy in a long-term relationship with some “nice young fella”. In his short but stellar career, Crowe has not done better work either. There is great chemistry between these two actors on screen, a sense of enjoyment in the rich comedy of the script and in each other’s approach to it. The film is unusual also in that it has two directors, Kevin Dowling, who directed the hit Broadway version of Stevens’ original play, and well-known cinematographer Geoff Burton.
– Paul Byrnes, Director, 41st Sydney Film Festival, 10-25 June 1994
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Proceeds to Purple House.