Movie Review: The Thorn Birds (1983)

1980s series works via great performances _ 8/10

The Thorn BirdsRalph de Bricassart: [telling the legend of the thorn bird to Meggie] There’s a story… a legend, about a bird that sings just once in its life. From the moment it leaves its nest, it searches for a thorn tree… and never rests until it’s found one. And then it sings… more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. And singing, it impales itself on the longest, sharpest thorn. But, as it dies, it rises above its own agony, to outsing the lark and the nightingale. The thorn bird pays its life for just one song, but the whole world stills to listen, and God in his heaven smiles.
Young Meggie Cleary: What does it mean, Father?
Ralph de Bricassart: That the best… is bought only at the cost of great pain. Continue reading

Book Review: Edge of the Dreaming

SuzyAn Australian Memoir
by Dr. Suzy Kruhse
Reviewed by Brian Wright

Edge of the Dreaming is a remarkable tour de force of storytelling on so many levels—dealing with one’s roots, one’s family, one’s sexuality, and one’s survival and determination to make something of oneself… in a maxed out ‘harsh realm.’ That realm, where Suzy grew up, is what we Yanks sometimes call the Outback, but is technically the Northern Territory of Australia… as the old saying goes, “where men are men and sheep are …” well, you get the picture. It would be difficult to imagine more of a man’s world than Suzy’s place(s) of origin. Continue reading

Movie Review: Australia (2008)

Big budget movie is an artistic gem _ 9/10

AustraliaNullah: Missus Boss, I sing you to me.
Lady Sarah Ashley: And I will hear you.

Magarri: If you’ve got no love in your heart, you’ve got nothing… No dreaming, no story, nothing.

First the conventional large-budget blockbuster, which was disappointing at the box office: It’s fascinating, the effect of corporate marketing on a film, so much of the success of the effort depending on how the executives represent it. I remember the fuss the marketers made about the supposed epic love story between characters played by Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman—both major Hollywood stars, both born and raised in Australia, and both 10s on the physical attractiveness meter. First, the movie is fundamentally not a love story. Second, the true leading characters are an Aboriginal old man named King George (David Gulpilil) and a mixed-race pre-teen boy named Nullah (Brandon Walters). Continue reading