12-year-old Geoff, shuns his family, preferring to spend his summer in his fantasy world and hanging out with a local madman Firpo, who has dreams of being an Olympic Athlete. His world of make believe is shattered, however, by the realities of life and growing up.
This antipodean coming of age drama starts promisingly enough with eccentric character introductions and the visualisation of a child's imaginings (a walk home becomes a jungle safari), but rapidly takes root in the conventions of very average children's afternoon serials. Twelve-year-old Geoff (Fulford) is an impressionable dreamer who lives on a beautiful beach and is savouring a perfect summer until reality, reason and the pragmatic perceptions of adulthood break the magic spell he's woven for himself.
The focal point for this transition is the boy's relationship with a gawky madman. Stephen Papps, however, is unimpressive as the pitiful Firpo, a nutter-by-numbers, with his very presence and the nature of his mental problems too vaguely accounted for. Even given that Geoff might be drawn from his stolid family to complicity with a ridiculed outsider, Firpo never really rings true. Around this friendship, so lacking in the charm intended, the film busies itself with a prosaic father, obnoxious siblings, and all the period trappings and family parlour amusements of the pre-television era nostalgia piece
"Opened out" the film does not betray its origins as a one-man stage play, but its failure to captivate suggests that it might have been rather more persuasive in its original form.