‘Australia’ Movie Review: A Special Kind of Period Drama


Having “mixed emotions” is how best to describe my feelings for this film. Initially I wanted to see it in theaters, but didn’t make the effort. In the event the of DVD release of this Australia movie, the question that remained is, is it worth that wait?

Australia Movie (2008) Review

We open as young Nullah fishes in the wilds of Australia. Nullah is a half-caste, neither white nor aborigine, because of this, he “belongs” with no one.

Lady Sarah Ashley (Nichole Kidman) is a proper English rose whose husband lives in the outback of Australia. His quest being unsuccessful, Sarah decides to travel there to “bring Maitland home!” herself. After a humiliating meeting with the man meeting her, whom everyone simply calls The Drover (Hugh Jackman), Sarah is taken to the house her husband resides in. But what she discovers upon her arrival is that her husband has died, and a greedy land baron attempts to buy up Ashley land in order to enrich himself.

Little realizing the fight that awaits her, Sarah wins one minor victory, but as Drover and Sarah try to make a go of this land, the stakes remain high, not the least of which is a world on the brink of war. australia movie

Hearts, cultures and want for power all collide in the land down under molding into this, a beautiful motion picture. This film offers many things, and chances are, no matter what your genre of choice, something will appeal to you. To be honest, I didn’t expect much from this (the reviews are so-so). But there is something about it that pulls us in. Perhaps it’s the spectacular Gone with the Wind styled posters or the a-list cast, but whatever, I didn’t “forget” about this film once the credits rolled.

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As a cinematic story, this Australia movie is a touching and funny script. As I watched, I was in fits of giggles, and when the story calls for it, we mourn with the characters. Perhaps the most surprising is the humor. Fifteen minutes in, the audience is equally enthralled by its wit as we are by its ability to move us, this is especially true in the parting between Sarah and Nullah. Of course, one cannot forget the sweeping romance, either. Jackman and Kidman are well cast together and even with two other actors originally considered for the role Jackman ultimately is cast as, for a “fall-back” guy, he seems suited. There is chemistry between the leading couple whether they kiss in the rain or happily reunite, their blossoming love was evident. Likewise Kidman is memorable as Sarah. She leaves the audience laughing or brings us to tears by her capacity to love.

‘Australia’ Movie Review: A Special Kind of Period Drama. A review of the 2008 period drama with Nicole Kidman & #HughJackman. #Romance #PeriodDrama Click To Tweet
australia movie

When it comes to flaws, one thing that is obvious is the fake-ness of the horseback riding or scenes in which it’s not really the actors doing a stunt. With all of the technology at filmmakers fingertips, and the nine plus months it took to film this, you would think realism possible, however when the Japanese bomb Australia, the CGI department more than makes up for its mediocrity. The destruction left behind is devastating to not only its characters but the viewer as well. Second, the introduction to these characters is messy. The unorganized introduction to so many characters makes for a confusing start in addition to Nullah’s narration. But then there’s the costumes! Costuming for the ball is unique and stunning.

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So, the unanswered question; is this Australia movie worth the wait? Happily, I’m able to say, yes! The ending changed (and this second ending is much better, believe me), but it’s still bittersweet. In one way we understand this, and that the film must close but there is another part of you that wants something different to happen or simply to find a “perfect” conclusion. The flaws find redemption through the sacrifices of characters, a genuine portrait of love, and another of the love he lost. As long as you know you are in for a long drawn-out (but never tedious) saga, I heartily recommend Australia for older audiences. It’s one epic I haven’t forgotten.

‘Australia’ Movie Review: A Special Kind of Period Drama. A review of the 2008 period drama with Nicole Kidman & Hugh Jackman. Text © Rissi JC

Note: this review was published in the archives five or more years earlier. Since moving to WordPress, 90% of the reviews, lists and articles need re-formats and/or other updates. Updated edits and changes to fit current formats have been made; it has also been updated with new photos, and republished.

CONTENT, this is PG13, there are a few violent acts. Two men are stabbed with spears; there’s a pool of blood. Another character is stampeded with terrible injuries. A woman drowns; another man is shot. A man briefly slaps a woman and child. Animals are shot [unseen]; cows go over a steep cliff. Bombs are dropped, destroying a town and killing or injuring numerous people. There are reference to Aboriginal mistresses, and their “half-caste” children; and one or two “crude” innuendos. There is a brief sensual scene between an unmarried couple; brief close up shots of kissing and caresses before we see them lying in bed with some movement and bare legs. There are a couple of other visual innuendos. Profanity is infrequent, but has a use of the f-word. There’s also the use of “magic”; Nullah supposedly possesses some form of it. australia movie

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Oh, I love Australia! It's such a sweepic epic you don't see very often anymore. Ofcourse I adored Hugh Jackman's Drover, and I was pleasantly surprised by Nicole Kidman's role, as in many other movies, she annoys me to no end!

  2. So did I – it was the one movie from its "year" that really took me by surprise. It had imagination and great comedy but was still a reputable drama (minus some of the special effects which were not good).

    I really like Jackman in this role, too and as for Kidman, she was great but I don't think I've seen her in a lot else.

  3. I wanted to see this film more for the setting than anything else(I was tweaking a manuscript that involved scenes in the NT) and was pleasantly surprised by how great of a story it was. Definately one I would watch more than once. :-)

  4. I thought this was a great motion picture, Gwendolyn. It was imaginative and funny and all-around a surprise. I like those best. =)

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