The film “Looking for Alibrandi” begins light-heartedly, and the viewer gets a very quick understanding of Josie’s character through her interactions with her friends and family. As the film progresses, the glamour that is initially associated with Josie begins to fade as we watch her struggle to cope with her final year of school (especially the racist attitude of one girl in particular, Carly Bishop (Leeanna Walsman), the suicide of her crush, John Barton (Matthew Newton), and meeting with Michael Andretti (Anthony LaPaglia), her father, of whom has only just found out about her existence upon returning to Sydney for work.
Plus, of course, there is the never ending conflict between her and her grandmother, Katia Alibrandi (Elena Cotta). However, these complications are seemingly resolved quickly, in keeping with Josie’s brusque and forthright outlook on life. For example, in response to Carly’s continuous snide remarks, she breaks her tormentor’s nose with a history textbook. It is this summary act that brings her father back into her life. Another complication – the suicide of her unrequited best friend, John Barton – tests her resilience.
Struggling with her grief, she finds comfort to a certain extent within Jacob Coote, he was a ‘bad boy’ on the outside, but he was found out to be a sincere and caring person on the inside. The most significant complication and challenge for Josie, though, is her rocky relationship with her erstwhile father, Michael Andretti. When they get to know each other, and recognise themselves in each other, their rift heals, and she can confide in him.