Captain JohnnoCaptain Johnno is a telemovie from the Australian Touch the Sun series. The film is quite famous in Australia and in 1988 won the International Emmy Award.

Its main protagonist is the partly deaf 10 year old named Johnno. He lives with his family in a small fishing town. His sister Julie helps him at school and keeps the local bullies away from him.

Johnno’s life changes when his sister has to depart to a boarding school. Johnno fears that he won’t be able to manage without her and tries to convince his parents not to let her go or to let him go with her.

He doesn’t yet know that they are considering sending him to a special school for people with hearing disabilities. When he finds out, he runs away and sails to a nearby island where he plans to live a Robinson Crusoe style life away from the complex problems of society.

Damien Walters

This film raises a number of issues about family life and it’s conflicts, responsibilities and adjustments. In addition, there are three main character relationships which one should pay attention to as they are important for the plot development. The first one is between Johnno and his sister. She is there for him,  but one day has to leave and this distresses him. Their parting scene with her crying in the back seat of the bus and him running after it is one of the most emotional cinema scenes I have ever seen.

The second important relationship is the friendship of Johnno and an Italian immigrant, Tony, who is a newcomer to Australia and cannot speak English well. They form a strong bond because, in a way, they are both outsiders and the object of ridicule by others. Tony is glad to have a friend like Johnno. He listens to the boy and respects him for who he is.

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The third relationship viewers should focus on is the one between Johnno and his father. While it is clear that the parents love their son, his father, in my opinion, behaved like a moron. He did not even know his son and, in a way, the viewer could sense his shame because of Johnno’s disability. He never listens to what his son has to say or tries to understand what he means, as if deafness has anything to do with Johnno’s thinking abilities. Even if at the end of the film his father reconsiders his attitude toward his son, I could never completely forgive him. But I guess that’s something each must witness and judge for oneself.

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The acting in the film is quite good. Damien Walters is in the role of Johnno and delivers a performance that made me wonder how is it possible to portray a deaf boy so realistically. I later found out that the young actor is deaf himself. Another actor leaving a large impression on me for his acting abilities was Joe Petruzzi in the role of the Italian immigrant.

Overall I liked the film. It has many life lessons both for its characters and its viewers. The film is quite emotional and I think that many fans of the Coming-of-Age genre would appreciate it. A similar flick is the British film Dear Frankie, which I also recommend.

Several video clips are available at the Australian Screen`s web site .

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank your for sharing your opinion on Captain Johnno , Billy. I agree with you that the movie was well made – what most impressed me was the performance of Joe Petruzzi. I haven`t seen any other film from the Touch the Sun series – but would fix that mistake soon. The DVD is indeed hard to find – I received it from CVMC – who supply DVDs to me – so I can review them and more people could discover those wonderful films . You can check their site and if you decide to purchase the film – mention my blog in the comments – this would give you 10 % discount .

    Hope that you enjoy the skykid.com and would be contributing on my reviews and posts – I always appreciate when my readers share their opinion to the community .

    Yours ,

    SkyKid

  2. 20 years past when i saw the movie and i will never forget
    its one of my big drama i have passed
    i will suggest you do not miss this movie at any reason any time any where the whole Touch the Sun series its very good
    the only problem is how to find this movie unfortunately this movie its very rare and difficult to find
    my opinion is 10/10

  3. Thank your for sharing your opinion on Captain Johnno , Billy. I agree with you that the movie was well made – what most impressed me was the performance of Joe Petruzzi. I haven`t seen any other film from the Touch the Sun series – but would fix that mistake soon. The DVD is indeed hard to find – I received it from CVMC – who supply DVDs to me – so I can review them and more people could discover those wonderful films . You can check their site and if you decide to purchase the film – mention my blog in the comments – this would give you 10 % discount .

    Hope that you enjoy the skykid.com and would be contributing on my reviews and posts – I always appreciate when my readers share their opinion to the community .

    Yours ,

    SkyKid

  4. I tend to write reviews who depart a bit from the standard of just showing the plot – as for those things there are sites such as IMDB where one can just look the title up. Plus my blog started like a personal one and even if it shifted its focus to movies – it never lost that personal touch – in everything I write. I can only hope that the visitors of TheSkyKid.com like that fact – it seems that you do judging from your comment .

    Thank you,
    SkyKid

  5. I remember watching the trailer to the movie “Time of the gypsies” (Dom za vesanje), in where there is a short scene when a young boy has to depart from his mother to go to the city for a longer time to work (I think). Though I still haven´t seen the full length film, I haven´t forgotten the strong feeling of sadness in that departuring scene. If someone wants me to cry (which I never do of course) he just has to show me a film with such a scene I guess.

    I think this seems like a film that I would like to watch. It is a very good review with not just describing the plot but also analyzing the story. I have never known anyone who´s deaf and don´t know how it would be like to have a deaf friend, but I guess I would learn to communicate very soon. Well I will write a better comment after watching this movie!

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