I took my teenage daughter to the movie adaptation of the Tim Winton novel, Breath, last night. It was a stunningly visual meditation on life through the Aussie lens, set in the 1970s on the south-west coast of Western Australia. Tim Winton did the narration himself in a few parts and it felt autobiographical at its core. Especially the protagonist’s relationship to the ocean and surfing, the words rang very true, as they often do with Winton’s stuff. Being a sandgroper myself, of the same vintage as Tim, I felt this story in my bones. The local regional inhabitants and the hippy element rubbed against each other in places like Margaret River and Yallingup, sometimes with surprising results.

Swells, Peaks, Reefs & Breaks

My daughter loved the movie. The two grommet surfers at the heart of Breath, Pikelet and Loonie, were in your face irresistible on the big screen. Simon Baker directed and starred as Sando, the guru surfer, in this visually arresting adaptation of Breath. Life through an Aussie lens is captured with grains of sand and salt, as Australia’s obsession with the beach is played out via the lives of these Winton characters on screen. The old plastic bag over the head, whilst climaxing, even made a late appearance.

Unchartered Waters

The down to earth Aussie attitude was firmly planted in the realisation of these Winton characters on the screen. The crippled American wife was no ingenue, but more Maggie May to Pikelet’s ardent coming of age love making. The swell was subsumed into his sexual foray into previously unchartered waters. Life beneath the sheets was simply better for this reluctant daredevil, as he found his metier with the appropriately named Eve.  The pounding break of the waves upon the deep waters was filmed with artistic aplomb.

Perilous Reef Breaks & Big Waves

Vocational opportunities would, obviously, open up for the young Tim Winton away from the perilous reef breaks and the big waves. The gaping maw of fear would recede away from the challenges of manly breaks. The master of the waves, Sando, was beaten by his cuckolding in the mind of our young hero. Life through an Aussie lens, even, underwater is unmistakably Winton in its reach and complexity. Loonie would become collateral damage in the life of Pikelet, as he moved on toward his destiny in other directions from Sawyer.