I saw this film over Thanksgiving weekend with my movie-loving aunt and uncle and I’m so glad I did as it seemed to get lost in the holiday shuffle this year.
Just before WWII, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), an English aristocrat, inherits a ranch in Australia and flies there to prep the land for sale. Once there she becomes close with the hands on the ranch and discovers that the local businessman who wants to buy the ranch, Neil Fletcher (David Wenham), has been monopolizing the cattle industry and stealing cattle from her herd. She decides to keep the ranch open and stop Fletcher with the help of Drover (Hugh Jackman) who, naturally, droves cattle for a living. There’s really so much more to this film, which is so epic that it feels as though it should have been two shorter films. There are two distinct beginnings, middles, and ends, and the story lines include everything from droving cattle, to the bombing of Darwin, and even the “Stolen Generations” of half Aboriginal children. Even still, Hugh Jackman is always enjoyable and the child actor Brandon Wallace is captivating as the young boy Nullah that brings Lady Sarah and Drover together. However, instead of just paying homage to classic romance films such as Gone With the Wind, it all just feels a tad old fashioned.
Best Costume Design
The costumes in this film are quite stunning- in one pivotal scene Kidman wears a red kimono that pops against Jackman’s white suit as they share their first kiss in the pouring rain. However, I tend to think a film such as The Duchess could have this beat, as the Academy tends to favor the royal costumes of that particular time period.