Looking for Alibrandi Film Review Essay Example

Starring as Josephine Alibrandi, Pia Miranda artistically brings out the film ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ as one of the masterpieces that inform the Australian journey towards multiculturalism. Despite being of Australian origin, Josie, as she is commonly referred in the text, is seemingly attracted by her Australian friends and their way of life. This film presents a wide understanding of how Australians of diverse origins coexist in the Australian multicultural environment through the life of this teenage girl – Josephine Alibrandi.

According to Soutphommasane, Clarke, Cole, Law, Pung & Tsiolkas (2015), the Australian constitution requires that every Australian regardless of their origin should be given space to practice and be proud of their cultural heritage, traditions, and language. We see, in the film, that Alibrandi still survives and coexists with her friends of the Australian origin both at school and at home. In my opinion, this illustrates how the Australian society has come of age to accept multiculturalism owing to the massive number of immigrants into the country over time.

That notwithstanding, I feel the writer of ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ was also keen on presenting some of the challenges that immigrants face in the diverse Australian society. We see this when one of the student colleagues at the Catholic school attempted to insult Alibrandi owing to her Italian roots. Isolated as it may have seemed in the film, this one incident may be interpreted to mean the possibility of several other similar instances in the current Australian society. Despite the Racial Discrimination Act having been set in 1975 to cushion migrants from cultural discrimination, the writer of this film wanted to confirm a few existing cases of multiculturalism non-tolerance in the country.

I also perceive the fact that the writer of this film possibly wanted to weigh in on the assimilation policy that was there in Australia back in the 1940s and 1950s against the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975 that joined into the modern Australian society. One may call it frustration, intimidation, or inferiority complex, but we see Josie Alibrandi getting extremely attracted to her Australian friends’ way of life e.g. cultures, traditions, and language at the expense of her own Italian heritage. This is what assimilation used to be all about. The writer is keen to articulate how assimilation demeaned other cultural heritages that were considered ‘outsiders’. The film elaborates on the opposition to the concept of assimilation through the culturally strict Josie’s single mother Christina and grandmother Nonna Katia who get into loggerheads with her when she apes her friends.

While these contrasting views were necessary in such a text, it is blatant that the writer focused more on upholding the superiority of the Australian culture at the expense of that of the various cultural groupings in Australia. The confusion in choosing between John Barton and Jacob for a boyfriend may signify the challenges that a teenage from a cultural minority such as Josie’s may face when choosing friends. It gets even worse if they do not have a clear self-identity like Josie Alibrandi who only learns of her father in her teenage life. Overall, the ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ film is a well thought out piece that broadly unearths the Australian multicultural context through a perceived foreigner.


Soutphommasane, T., Clarke, M. B., Cole, C. B., Law, B., Pung, A., & Tsiolkas, C. (2015). I’m not racist but … 40 years of the Racial Discrimination Act. Sydney, NSW: NewSouth Publishing.