I had the opportunity to see Baz Luhrmann's Australia a few days ago. The Aboriginal child actor Brandon Walters is so good that I wouldn't be surprised if he is nominated, and wins, an Academy Award. His portrayal of an Aboriginal outcast (half white and half Aboriginal) boy named Nullah in 1939 Australia moved me to tears.
Now please don't get me wrong. Hugh Jackman is terrific as the cattle driver named The Drover. Actually, Hugh Jackman is perfect in this role. I can't imagine anyone else, even Russell Crowe, who happens to be one of my favorite actors, superceding Hugh Jackman's performance. (Russell Crowe, I found out later, was the original pick for The Drover, but Hugh Jackman won this one, and I think it was a good decision). *See My Related Link below.
Nicole Kidman, who doesn't happen to be one of my favorite actresses, really won me over in this film. In fact, I believe I liked her better in Australia than in any other movie I have ever seen her in. Nicole Kidman's portrayal of Lady Sarah Ashley is especially interesting as she allowed herself to be seen on camera with hideous eyeglasses of that time period, but they somehow added to her portrayal of a strong-willed woman who despises racial intolerance.
Australia is a rare film coming out of today's movie industry, which seems to have an almost obsessive need to mass produce far too many unnecessary R-rated films. I highly recommend this PG-13 rated film. It could have easily been an R-rated film, but it is not, and I appreciate the effort of any filmmaker these days who possesses this kind of ethical clarity.
Australia is a film with merit and values where they count, depicting both racial bigotry on the one hand, and true compassion and love on the other. Australia is not only about racism and cattle. It also depicts two very different types of love stories: the romantic love between The Drover (Hugh Jackman) and Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), plus the deeply spiritual love between the young Aboriginal outcast Nullah and his mentor/teacher King George, Nullah's grandfather.
King George is an Aboriginal Shaman or mystic who often stands on one leg in Yogi-like fashion and sings mystical Aboriginal melodies, which he teaches to Nullah. These melodies have magical qualities, and are considered to have great power.
Indeed, the good results that occur due to King George's Aboriginal manipulations are nothing short of miraculous. There is one scene in which a melody is sung by Nullah to protect him from imminent death. (I'm not going to name the specifics, less that scene be ruined before you get a chance to see the movie.)
The deep connection between the boy Nullah and his grandfather King George has an almost hypnotic effect on the viewer. King George, frequently standing in elevated places, seems to be directing events in Nullah's life in order to protect Nullah from harm, just as the fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof, always standing on the rooftop fiddling, seems to be protecting the Jews of Anatevya.
There is definitely a magical quality to the movie Australia. I highly recommend director Baz Luhrmann's film. Australia is a long movie (about 2 3/4 hours), but I thought it moved at a good pace, and, besides, with all of the economic problems going on in the world today, I appreciated getting not only my money's worth, but also leaving the theater with a feeling that I had not wasted my valuable time watching this movie. I give Australia 4 1/4 stars out of a possible 5-star rating.
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Conservative Wordsmith Susan Baldwin, author of CONSERVATIVE WORDSMITH.COM, appreciates your thoughts and comments.