“The best Australian film of the year” – Urbancinefile
“Oyster Farmer is a pearl!” – The Movie Show
“…terrific… A wicked sense of humour” – The Sydney Morning Herald
JACK FLANGE moves from Sydney to a small oyster-farming community to work for BROWNIE and his old man MUMBLES, one of the founding families of the river who are now almost bankrupt. Jack has moved to the river to be closer to his sister NIKKI who is recovering from a car accident in a private hospital nearby. In a desperate bid to find money for her hospital bills, Jack robs the Sydney Fish Markets with a frozen lobster and an edible balaclava. He posts the proceeds to himself upriver and waits for the package to arrive.
In a terrible twist of fate, Jack’s package is lost when the river postman has a heart attack at the marina and the mail disappears upriver in the bottom of a local’s boat. Jack spends the next few weeks suspecting innocents of having stolen his money. Jack’s suspicions fall on PEARL, a beautiful young local who takes over the postal run and has an expensive shoe fetish. Early on Jack picks Pearl up hitchhiking from a jetty. He is instantly attracted to her and she is quick to respond. Unfortunately for Jack, he jumps to the wrong conclusions about most people on the river, including Pearl’s father SLUG, the local sewerage collector who upgrades his motor and is accused of dumping waste in the river.
Confused and lonely, Jack asks his new friend, SKIPPY, a Vietnam Vet, for advice on love and revenge.
Meanwhile, Jack’s boss has heartache of his own. Ever since Brownie’s wife, TRISH, has walked out on the marriage, he has been unable to stop his oysters from spawning too soon. Mumbles believes that Trish is able to stop oysters coming simply by looking at them and is not surprised she is making a success of a rival oysterman’s leases. He tries to persuade his son to woo her back but Brownie is too proud to admit he still loves her deeply.
Trish, in turn, still loves Brownie but demands an equal partnership and recognition of her talents. It takes Jack’s helpful suggestions to mend this marriage but not without some misplaced jealousy and paranoia from Brownie over his labourer’s friendship with Trish. In the end, Trish and Brownie get back together and she helps him win the New South Wales Oyster Farmer’s Competition.
Jack also finds his money but Mumbles ensures it will never be spent, having plastered it into a ludicrous bathtub creation for Trish. Devastated and angry, Jack quits his job and takes a train with Nikki who is transferring herself to a public hospital. Half way there, Jack decides to turn back. He promises to visit Nikki at weekends. She is happy to see him settle for an honest life of hard work and love on the river with Pearl and the oyster farmers.