No, not my homeland, the movie. I went and saw Australia because my sister, Niki Bern, worked on it. I doubt I’d’ve gone otherwise. I’m not a fan of Nicole Kidman’s acting unless she’s playing a psycho or a bitch. Her turn in Moulin Rouge is one of the worst pieces of miscasting I’ve ever seen. The ads for Australia are full of Kidman’s eyes afluttering and Jackman looking all manly. They did not fill my heart with hope.

Also the title put me off. Was Lurman claiming he could sum up my country’s history in one film? That he could encompass everything important in one movie? Right. Good luck with that, Baz.

Or, worse, was he pandering to dumb and kitschy expectations of non-Australians? I can’t tell you how many folks I’ve met on my travels who are astonished to discover there are cities in Australia. Or are convinced that the entire country is one great big desert and that all Australians are just like the crocodile hunter. To which, sigh.


It was not as bad as I expected. There are worse ways to spend three hours (or however extremely long it was). I wasn’t bored that often, which was more than I expected. For which I thank Brandon Walters playing Nullah. This eleven-year old actor single-handedly saved the movie. When he’s on screen that’s where you’re looking; when he’s not you pine for his return.

Lurman should have ditched the tedious Kidman/Jackman story and told Nullah’s instead. I wanted to know more about him, more about his mum and about King George. Walters was by far the most convincing and interesting actor in the movie. The only one who didn’t seem to be embarrassed by his lines. The only one who made the cliches seem fresh. If the movie had been about Nullah, it could have been amazing. Instead it was a frequently cringe inducing, occasionally beautiful, sometimes funny, but mostly an embarrassing big fat mess.

Other than Nullah the highlight for me was seeing my sister’s name in the credits. Her biggest one thus far: Compositing Supervisor. Go, Niki!

If you’re going to see Australia wait till it’s on DVD—that way you can skip all the bits that Brandon Walters isn’t in.


  1. Jude on #

    It is a strange film. Parts I liked: Seeing David G as King George; seeing Hugh walk into the ballroom in white duds; some of the mysticism; and being inspired to learn more about Darwin’s being bombed during WWII. But let’s have Hugh Jackman in a movie where he claims he can’t dance and let Nicole Kidman be totally inept at singing. Let’s have a climax and denouement, and then, like Gone With the Wind, have a second climax and denouement. It would be nice to see that little boy in another film. He was the best part.

  2. mick on #

    I saw it yesterday. I agree with Jude that it was a strange experience. Overall I’d have to say that at least I was entertained but it was corny at times and could have been a lot better. Brandon Walters was great. I also thought David Wenhan made a good baddie and I always like seeing Jack Thompson (although he didn’t scrub up too well after the stampede!). I would have loved to have seen more of the wonderful David Gulpilil as King George – now there’s a man who lights up the screen.

  3. Gabrielle on #

    I actually liked the movie. It was a little strange in the beginning, and I was reading to get up and out of the theatre after the first denouement; and then it kept going! Heh. But I liked it. I’m not very picky though. 🙂

  4. beth on #

    Whoa! Does your family have creative talent, or what? One sister who’s a (very talented) writer, and another who works in films? Wow–your parents must be so proud of you both!

  5. Allison on #

    Sigh. This is how I feel about Texas every time they show it on TV. During every Dallas Cowboys game, they flash pictures of the stockyards–which I feel obligated to point out are in Fort Worth, not Dallas. And they’re there for the tourists.

    We do not ride horses and keep cows in our backyards. In fact, both times I’ve ridden a horse was in Colorado. Go figure. So sigh. Not all Texans wear cowboy hats & boots, ride around in grassy plains, and herd cattle. I panic when I get too far from a movie theater and a shopping mall.

    Poor Australia. Poor Texas. We’re both so misrepresented.

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