There’s always one friendship that lasts forever
By Syakirah Mazrah Hashim
MED 231 (Australian Cinema)


Runtime:                      102 minutes
Sound Mix:                 Dolby Digital
Language:                    English
Genre:                         Comedy & Coming-of-age
Certification:                PG

Principal Crew

Director:                      Geoff Benett
Producer:                     John Brousek
                                    Elizabeth Howatt-Jackman
Script:                          Christine Madafferi
                                    Novel by Robin Klien
Cinematographer:        Steve Newman
Music:                         Cezary Skubiszewski
Production Design:     Ralph Moser


Principal Cast

Erica Yurken               Saskia Burmeister
Mum                           Tracy Mann
Lennie                         Richard Carter
Valjoy Yurken                        Rachael Carpani
Jedda Yurken              Abigail Gudgeon
Harley Yurken                        Anthony Cleave
Miss Belmont              Jean Kittson
Jeff Kennard               Craig McLaclan
Miss Lattimore            Holly Myers
Mrs. Orlando              Babs McMillan
Mr. Cheale                  William TenEyck
Mr. Nicholson             Frank Bren
Alison Ashley             Delta Goodrem
Barry Hollis                Alex Capelli

For full crew and cast list visit:

Work done by Geoff Bennet can be found at:


Release Dates

Feature Film released in Australia in March 17th, 2005.
The DVD was released in September 7th, 2005.

Production:                  HAA Films Pty. Ltd.


Budget and Box Office figures

The film made in its opening weeks AUD 531 144 and has grossed AUD 1 869 069 to date. This information was obtained from the MED 231 website and the feature film was ranked 101 out of the 438 reviewed on the site.

In the website of UrbanCine File, it was reported that “Hating Alison Ashley” earned AUD 2 million in 2005.






“The film of Hating Alison Ashley, Robin Klein's much-read children's novel, has little to do with the real world. It's set in Ockerdom, a place where we patriotic filmgoers have spent a lot of time lately, thanks to the run of comedies which have been trying, with raucous relentlessness, to make themselves loveable in the happy-go-lucky manner of The Castle”

“Director Geoff Bennett and a confident cast are true to the warmth and spiky charm of the novel. And playing the supporting role of the enigmatic Alison, the perfect, slightly blank object of Erica's obsession, Goodrem seems completely at ease.”

“The movie adaptation of Hating Alison Ashley will be an instant hit with teenage girls and could be a great export for Australia in the future.”

“These shots are so glossy and rose filtered, so photogenic and cheerful it seems that director Geoff Bennett (TV's Water Rats and Heartbreak High) must have inhaled nitrous oxide before the shoot and couldn't stop guffawing from behind the camera.” 

“If you’re fifteen or sixteen and drive your parents mad by blaring Delta’s CD piercingly loud every night from your bedroom – you’ll be in heaven. If you’re a little older, you probably won’t think the light shines from it as much as its target market. Like a hungry chap dreaming of scoffing a mozzarella-crammed, flavorsome, pizza – it’s an attractive package that unfortunately looks better than it essentially tastes.”

“Looking for Alibrandi has demonstrated the extraordinary success that can be gained for lifting a school book to the big screen. Given the equally extraordinary popularity of Hating Alison Ashley, this success is like to be repeated, particularly with the casting of Australia’s sweetheart Delta Goodrem as the titular character”


On-line presence in the Web’s Literature
The feature film “Hating Alison Ashley” attracted a lot of publicity in Australia and there is a lot of information about the film on the Internet. However, it was difficult to obtain any transcript of interviews with the director or any other principal cast. There are a lot of reviews found on the Internet and most of it is Australian based web-sites. The official website to the film (http://hatingalisonashley.ninemsn.com.au/) was unfortunately inaccessible during the time. It was also quite difficult to obtain any critical essays in journals or books about the feature film but there was sufficient amount of information in the Internet to complete this assignment. Most of the websites discussed about the newcomers to the big screen; Saskia Burmeister (Ned Kelly, Wicked Science) and Australia sweetheart, Delta Goodrem.

Part II
Hating Alison Ashley” is a film derived from a book written by Robin Klien 20 years ago and it features Erica Yurken played by Saskia Burmeister who is lovingly known as ‘Yuk’, a teenage girl who wishes that her life was perfect. She wishes that she was anywhere but Barringa East High School and her life would be much easier without her dysfunctional family. Directed by Geoff Bennet, this film has been compared to “Looking for Alibrandi” and clearly appeals to young girls because of its portrayal of a typical life of a teenager; fitting in with the crowd, having a crush on the ‘bad boy’ of the school and competing with the perfect and beautiful girl. The usage of design and costumes is evident in the film during the annual school camp-play and this is why it appeals to young teenage girls as it emphasis on the flair of fashion in the high school.
Yak is a self-dramatist, perfectionist teenager who dreams of better things in life and wishes that she belong to a normal, functional family. Her mother played by Tracy Mann is brilliantly portrayed as a loud, Australian middle class mother who has a truck driver boyfriend, Lennie (Richard Carter) much to the disappointment of the misunderstood teenager. With an older sister who is boy-crazy, a brother who just walks around the house with no aim in life and a younger sister who has been acting like a horse for seven years, Yuk dreams of being someone famous and is ecstatic with the arrival of Miss Belmont (Jean Kittson), a new teacher in 9C of Barringa East High School. Scoring high marks for assignment Yak could already smell her perfect dream coming true until Alison Ashley (Delta Goodrem) walks into her class. At first you could see the excitement in Yak’s face when she realizes that Alison Ashley was a perfect candidate to be her friend. That is until she starts to upstage Yak in her schoolwork and rapidly gaining attention from teachers and the students from the school. It is at this point that the film starts to focus on the relationship between Yak and the perfect Alison Ashley.
The whole film was based entirely in Melbourne and the main location of the film was at a school camp which was shot in King Lake West Adventure Camp, Victoria. The art teacher decides to stir things up and gives the class of 9C a chance to create their own play much to the disappointment of Yak who has been rehearsing the part of Juliet thinking that the play would be the same as every year. However, being ambitious and greedy for recognition, Yak writes out a play based on her unfortunate, ‘real’ life and chooses herself to play the lead with the bad-boy Barry Hollis (Alexander Cappelli). Not wanting to give the ending away or how the play will turn out, Yuk will soon realize that there is more to the ‘perfect’ Alison Ashley that meets the eye and sees her family in a new light.
The cast of “Hating Alison Ashley” is brilliant and under the direction of Geoff Bennet, the beloved book is brought to life with a mixture of drama and comedy. This film is clearly a comedy and coming-of-age genre with a hint of drama. There are a lot of creative scenes and the one that stands out is when Yak is ‘dreaming’. One of them is about her on the red carpet in a gorgeous dress, smiling proudly and waving to the paparazzi and admiring fans screaming her name. The other one that I really liked is the scene where she acts dramatically on a staircase and pretends to ‘die’. Newcomer Saskia Burmeister my favorite character in this film because of her comical and at the same time dramatic acting. Casting Delta Goodrem as the perfect Alison Ashley was a good move to boost ticket sales however in my opinion was a waste of time because of her terrible acting and lack of emotion.
Credit should also be given to the whole Yurken family for portraying a typical Australian family living in a suburban middle class neighborhood. Tracy Mann acts convincingly as a single mother who works as a waitress who tries to instill goodness and kindness into Yak’s life and Lennie, and no one can help but love the good-hearted truck driver who is Mann’s boyfriend in the film. Alexander Cappelli plays a brilliant high school arsonist and rebel who torments Yak’s life but also surprises her in the end of the film.
This film is clearly a comedy genre because of the main character Yak. She approaches everything with honest humor and during the dream sequence, even though she plays a dramatic role; there is still a comical element that can make the audience laugh. This is also a coming-of age film because it clearly targets young teenagers with the focus of first love, hating your family phase and coping with the stress and hardship of high school. The film displayed a kind of quirkiness and this is clear during the introduction when there was a glossy, dreamlike shots of a perfect mansion with manicured lawns and dancing ballerinas and it cuts to a scene of the graffiti drawn, dirty East Barranga High School.
Uptake on “Hating Ashley Alison
There were a lot of mix reviews concerning the film because there was a certain kind of pressure on the director because to reproduce a book into a film has always been a difficult task but after reading reviews after the film was released I can confidently say that the film is an almost mirror image of the book and the writer of the film did a good job on relating the film to its target audience. The casting of Delta Goodrem also created headlines among critics because this is the first time the pop-superstar will be starring in a feature film. Overall the film grossed AUD 1, 869 069 and in my opinion it did quite well for a coming-of-age film. This is due to the fact of the colourful designs and the main theme of the whole film.
“Hating Alison Ashley” was nominated for 4 different categories in the AFI 2005 awards




IMDB Website on full cast & crew of “Hating Alison Ashley



IMDB Website on Filmography of Geoff Bennett

UrbanCine File (26/1/2006) “Local films take $23.1 Million in 2005



Sandra Hall (Sydney Morning Herald)



Philippa Hawker (The Age)


Catherine Naghten (Mediasearch: Music, Film & Fashion in Australia)

Luke Buckmaster (Australias Online Movie Magazine)

Clint Morris (Moviehole)

German website “Hating Ashley Alison

AFI Nominees 2005, The Age