Jasper Jones Aaron McGrath Levi Miller

A knock at the window. Their lives changed forever. 

Set in small-town Western Australia in 1969, terrifically engaging coming-of-age drama cum mystery thriller Jasper Jones finds a bookish 14-year-old boy trying to solve a murder while grappling with the trials of adolescent love.

Levi Miller (Pan, Red Rock: The Early Years, A Wrinkle in Time) is ideal as the wide-eyed young hero. And so are Angourie Rice (Ryan Gosling’s precocious daughter in The Nice Guys) as the object of his affection, and Aaron McGrath as the young part-Aborigine local outcast who calls on him for help after being blamed for a teenage girl’s disappearance.

In addition, Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving offer strong support as two of the story’s troubled adults (Miller’s discontented mother and a reclusive war veteran respectively), while director Rachel Perkins does a good job of balancing the film’s light-hearted and darker elements.

With its themes of childhood innocence, adult secrets and small-town prejudice, you can see why Craig Silvey’s source novel has been dubbed the Australian To Kill a Mockingbird.

Certificate 12. Runtime 98 mins. Director Rachel Perkins

Available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Signature Entertainment.