Little Tornadoes | Third Space

Little Tornadoes

Fri 6 May 2022
A subtle and austere look on loss in country Australia

3 out of 5 stars

Stories that depict the pain of divided families are not new to cinemas. Writer/director Aaron Wilson (Canopy) takes audiences back to the post-Vietnam era when people were subtle about these things. This was when people would barely acknowledge those fateful moments when one spouse left another. A harsh reality in a small rural town where everyone knew one another’s business, and few knew how to respond to these domestic struggles.

Set in 1971, in a farming community on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. Leo (Mark Leonard Winter) is doing his best to make ends meet and provide for his family. When his wife leaves him suddenly, the factory worker must do all he can to care for his two children while searching for his spouse. The young father tries to enlist the help of his estranged father (Robert Menzies), except the farmer suffers from the after-effects of war and finds it hard to connect with his grandchildren. This leaves Leo with little hope for his family while trying to keep his job and determine his future. Until the newly arrived Italian immigrant, Maria (Silvia Colloca), comes into their lives and brings a fresh perspective on life while feeding them wonderful food.

Like the brutal landscape of Australia, this film manages to depict the darker side of life while exposing the possible beauty that can be discovered. It shows this tragic and quiet tale through the eyes of the sobering manner of a father trying to make his way in the world. Then contrasted with the refreshing perspective of Maria, who manages to see the wonder of this new world within the harsh landscape that she has chosen to live in, Australia. Aaron Wilson manages to show how there can be hope within loss and that it can be found within the most remote of places.

One thing that stood out was how different people work through grief, pain and the past, especially men. Outside of Maria's whimsical tones and words, the majority of the dialogue is left to subtle glances and understated actions. Where there is something to be said of well-written scripts, this film relies on the visual cues of the cast and scenery to convey the message of change and hopefulness within suffering. Something that Aaron Wilson manages to capture with clever camera work and the direction of his actors.

Little Tornadoes will not storm the box office, but it is worth discovering for those working through loss and transitions in life. An austere journey into the undercurrent of human frailty.


Both men in this film experience loss of their wives in different ways. Their experiences run parallel and provide a spectrum for various depictions of how humanity confronts loss.

Grief can manifest in different ways in people based on their family history, the season of life they may be in or the suddenness of how the tragedy occurs. Evaluating or counselling individuals through the grieving process can be long and challenging, but regardless of the length of the process, hope and peace can come into a person's life.

Relying on friends and family during these times is critical. Still, even those with the best intentions will fail to provide what is needed most. Throughout a time of grief, this is another time where God is at his best. Why? He delivers the answers we need. Turning to the God of the Bible during times of loss can provide peace and hope beyond comprehension.

The next question is determining where to start. Besides asking for help from a local church pastor, two key portions of the Bible provide a great start to assist with grief: Psalms 23 & 147 and the Gospel of John

Leave a Comment