In our frenzy of getting, spending, and moving quickly through life, we often miss the greatest wealth of all — living contentedly in the present moment. There is probably no better movie about this spiritual practice than The Castle, an Australian comedy directed by Rob Sitch and written by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, and Rob Sitch.
Darryl Kerrigan (Michael Caton) is a working-class tow-truck driver who takes a great deal of pride in his home of 15 years that stands adjacent to an airport and some tall power-line towers. He is full of ideas for additions to their place, besides the kennels for his greyhound dogs out back. He constantly praises his wife's (Anne Tenney) culinary treats; is bursting with pride over his daughter Tracey's (Sophie Lee) beauty school degree; marvels at his son Steve's (Anthony Simcoe) ability to sniff out a bargain; and laments the plight of his son Wayne (Wayne Hope), who is in prison for robbery.
Dale Kerrigan narrates this drama alternating praise for his father with a wide-eyed wonder for the blessings this family experiences together. All of this is threatened when they receive a letter from the government stating that their house is being "compulsively acquired" for a major expansion of the airport. Darryl has no intention of selling and decides to fight the large investment group behind the project. However, in this David-versus-Goliath battle, his friend Dennis Denuto (Tiriel Mora) proves to be an inadequate lawyer. By chance Darryl finds a champion for his cause in Lawrence Hammill (Charles Bud Tingwell), a retired lawyer whose specialty was constitutional law.
The Castle is one of the best films of the year with its positive portrait of contentment. For the Kerrigans, every day is a good day because it is nurtured by the seeds of love, gratitude, and reverence. Although others in the drama look down their noses at this clan, they possess the greatest gift of all — a truly happy family life. Similar in spirit to Muriel's Wedding and Strictly Ballroom, this Australian gem shines with its offbeat charm and comic zest.