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"AUSTRALIA"
(2008) (Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Extreme *Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Heavy None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Heavy Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: An English woman takes over her late husband's cattle ranch in Darwin, Australia, and must not only contend with her rival and a disgruntled former employee, but also falling for her drover, all as the continent and its people are drawn into WWII.
PLOT:
It's 1939 and Lady Sarah Ashley (NICOLE KIDMAN) isn't pleased that her husband spends his time raising cattle and who know what else on his ranch in Darwin, Australia, so she's headed there from England to shut the place down. When she arrives at the remote Faraway Downs, however, she discovers that her husband has been murdered and the ranch is in disarray.

Its manager, Neil Fletcher (DAVID WENHAM), claims aboriginal magic man, King George (DAVID GULPILIL), is the murder suspect. But Nullah (BRANDON WALTERS), Fletcher's illegitimate, half-white, half Aborigine boy and King George's grandson, claims his father has secretly been transporting the ranch's best cattle to rival cattleman King Carney (BRYAN BROWN) who wants to sell them and his herd to the Australian government via Captain Emmett Dutton (BEN MENDELSOHN).

Infuriated by that and his abuse of Nullah, Sarah fires Fletcher, a move that doesn't sit well with her drover (HUGH JACKMAN), particularly since it doesn't appear the likes of perpetually intoxicated Kipling Flynn (JACK THOMPSON) will be of much use to them in herding the cattle to Darwin. Besides, since Drover associates with aborigines such as Magarri (DAVID NGOOMBUJARRA), he doesn't have the best reputation among the town's elite or hired hands such as Bull (RAY BARRETT).

Nevertheless, Sarah convinces Drover to lead their ragtag group, including Nullah, in herding their cattle to Darwin. Along the way, the two must not only contend with Fletcher's attempts to sabotage them, but also a change in how they feel about each other, as well as the onset of WWII and the pending Japanese attack on Darwin.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those with an interest in the title continent, or who are fans of anyone in the cast or the director (who last did "Moulin Rouge!"), just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some violence, a scene of sensuality and brief strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • NICOLE KIDMAN plays an English woman who first arrives in Darwin to shut down her husband's cattle operation, but discovers that he's been murdered and she's now responsible for the place and its various workers, including Nullah who she unofficially and initially reluctantly adopts. She also initially clashes with Drover, but eventually falls for and has sex with him, all while contending with various obstacles, big and small, that stand in her way. She also drinks.
  • HUGH JACKMAN plays her experienced drover who initially clashes with her and is skeptical that their ragtag group can herd their cattle to Darwin, but he leads the way. He falls for and has sex with her, uses some profanity (one instance being strong), and must contend with bigots who look down on him and his past and present associations with various aborigines.
  • DAVID WENHAM plays the ranch's manager who's secretly delivering their best cattle to the competition, abuses his illegitimate son, Nullah, drinks some, and then works to undermine Sarah so that he can take over her ranch.
  • BRANDON WALTERS plays his illegitimate son, a half-white, half-Aborigine boy who's torn between two worlds and lives in constant fear that he'll be taken away like others in the Lost Generation. He must deal with great loss as well as various perils on his journey.
  • BRYAN BROWN plays a rival and powerful cattleman in Darwin who drinks some.
  • JACK THOMPSON plays the local drunk who works at Faraway Downs but gives up his drink to help Sarah and their small crew herd their cattle to Darwin.
  • DAVID GULPILIL plays Nullah's grandfather, an aboriginal magic man who watches over his grandson from a distance, making sure he's protected.
  • BEN MENDELSOHN plays an Australian officer who's responsible for buying beef for the military.
  • RAY BARRETT plays a local hired hand who doesn't get along and fights with Drover when not drinking.
  • DAVID NGOOMBUJARRA plays Drover's aboriginal brother-in-law and close associate.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Non-explicit, but sexually related dialogue is also present, as is some fooling around (with barely blocked views of nudity) and implied sex. An aboriginal man's bare butt is seen several times in his loin cloth, and other shirtless men are also seen.

    Violence includes various murders and deaths by various means, as well as war-related action including bombings and shootings, leading to additional deaths. There's also fighting and striking of others, as well as various animal deaths. Some of that has bloody results (but nothing too bad), while those scenes and moments of peril might be suspenseful and/or unsettling to some viewers, while various bad attitudes are present (including that related to racism, as well as murder).

    Some behavior might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate, while various characters drink, with one seemingly being an alcoholic, and some smoke. Tense family material is present, including familial deaths as well as abuse.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from lightning during a thunderstorm.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's handheld and somewhat shaky/bouncy camerawork toward the end of the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see Drover finish his beer in a bar, where others drink.
  • King Carney has a beer.
  • Kipling falls off a truck while intoxicated and is then seen carrying a flask.
  • Kipling drinks a shot of liquor and then hides the bottle when someone approaches.
  • Kipling has more to drink, with Sarah telling him she needs a drink, and he pours some for her.
  • To prove that he is up for the cattle drive, Kipling throws his bottle away.
  • Drover, Sarah, and others drink rum in a toast, and then have more, resulting in a later view of the bottle being empty.
  • Bull has beer in a bar where various miscellaneous characters drink. Drover and Sarah walk in, but the bartender states that no women can be served there. Drover convinces him otherwise, and he and Sarah drink rum.
  • Various characters have drinks at a ball.
  • Fletcher has a beer, and later has more as does King Carney.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks.
  • We see the bartender taste testing whiskey or beer from a barrel.
  • Various people drink in a bombed out bar where the bartender initially won't serve Magarri, but Drover changes that man's mind, and he, Drover and Magarri drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a little bit of blood mix with some water after Sarah's husband has been speared and killed, and his body falls into that water.
  • Drover and another man have slightly bloody faces following a fight.
  • As they drive toward the ranch, Sarah watches a kangaroo jumping alongside their vehicle when it's suddenly and unexpectedly shot. We next see a stream of blood down the windshield from the animal's paw, and then a view of the dead and somewhat bloody kangaroo tied to the roof of the truck.
  • Sarah views her dead husband's body. His eyes are open and there's some blood on his shirt.
  • Fletcher has a little blood on his face after Sarah hits him there with what appears to be a riding crop (for him beating Nullah).
  • Nullah has a little blood on his hand after being injured.
  • Kipling is fairly bloody after being run over by a stampede of cattle.
  • We see a few people with various bloody scrapes and wounds following the Japanese attack.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • There is talk of the stolen generations, mixed race kids (Aborigine and white) who were taken from their families in Australia to serve white families.
  • Some locals are racists, including toward Drover who they say is black since he works and eats with them.
  • About Sarah, one man says she is quite the looker, while another man pats her on her clothed butt from behind.
  • Despite being his father, Fletcher refers to Nullah as "half caste" and says that he is a bit soft in the head.
  • About Nullah reporting that Fletcher has been taking some of the ranch's cattle away, the latter informs the former that if he says one more word about that he'll beat the boy's mother. He then chases after Nullah, catches him, and slaps him twice, while also knocking his mother to the ground. Sarah then hits Fletcher on the face with what appears to be a riding crop to stop him (drawing a little blood).
  • We learn that Fletcher previously blocked the ranch's windmill from working, all to prevent irrigation there (to keep the place from working at 100% efficiency).
  • We learn that Fletcher reported Nullah's presence and half breed status to the officials so that he would be picked up and taken away (to get back at Sarah for firing him).
  • Fletcher and some other men covertly pour lines of gasoline around Sarah's nighttime cattle camp. They then use a torch to set them on fire, thus spooking the cattle that stampede away toward a cliff. Two fall off and one man is run over by them and mortally wounded.
  • We learn that Fletcher killed Sarah's husband but tried to make the murder appear to be the work of King George.
  • We see that Fletcher and/or his men have poisoned a drinking hole along the cattle drive route (there's a dead cow there), so that Sarah and her team don't have any fresh or safe drinking water.
  • At a ball, a man states that they need to breed the black out of kids who are half Aborigine and half white. A comment is then made about the practice of taking such children away from their aboriginal mothers, stating that it's a biological fact that such women then forget about their children.
  • Various white snobs look down on Drover for his past and current associations with aborigines.
  • Fletcher hits King Carney with his rifle, sending him into a body of water where a crocodile then attacks Carney (only partially seen, with no blood, etc.). Fletcher does this to take over Carney's business.
  • Fletcher and others (including a young boy in another scene) refer to Nullah as a "little creamy." That boy also taunts Nullah by sarcastically asking doesn't his (Nullah's) mother want him, and calls him a "filthy creamy."
  • A police officer finds Nullah and King George on their walkabout, and shoots Nullah's dog (we don't see the impact). Nullah is manhandled, and King George is grabbed and later thrown into a jail.
  • Although accepted at the time, some people refer to the Japanese as "Japs."
  • Various people drink in a bombed out bar where the bartender initially won't serve Magarri (and earlier treated Sarah the same way), but Drover changes that man's mind (about both).
  • A man grabs a rifle, intent on murdering Nullah who's unaware of that plan, and tries to kill him, but is foiled.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • King George motions for Nullah to hide when he sees white men approaching, and the boy goes underwater. A person appears to dive into the water after him (as seen from under the water), but it's really Sarah's husband who's been killed by a spear that's gone through him.
  • As they arrive at Faraway Downs, and see a dead cow on the ground, Drover cautiously get out of the truck with his rifle at the ready and slowly approaches the place, but nothing else happens.
  • As a car with the local police officer and his men approaches the ranch, Nullah runs and hides in the windmill tower (since he knows they are there to take him away for being half Aborigine, half white). His mom climbs the ladder and joins him in the large metal tank, but as the officer's men look around, one of them turns on a water pump (for drinking water), unknowingly causing water in the tower's tank to start rising. The boy and his mom panic as that occurs, especially when the old ladder they're on breaks loose and falls into the water. The mother goes under and Nullah tries to save her, but can't make much noise or else risk being discovered. Once the cops leave, Drover races up there, but it's too late as the mother is pulled out dead, having drowned.
  • Fletcher and some other men covertly pour lines of gasoline around Sarah's nighttime cattle camp. They then use a torch to set them on fire, thus spooking the cattle that stampede away toward a cliff. Drover and the others then race after the cattle to try to prevent them from running off the cliff. While we see two cows fall off and plummet down the precipice, the rest seem to have been cut off, until another fire line is set in their path, thus sending the stampede once again headed for the cliff. Kipling tries to stop that, but his horse appears to break its leg and stumbles forward, sending him falling hard to the ground. As Nullah watches from a distance and in horror, the stampede runs over Kipling and then toward the boy who's cornered at the edge of the cliff. He and his grandfather (who is off in the distance watching), then do various aboriginal chants in hopes of stopping the herd, and that works just in the nick of time. However, Nullah slips and nearly falls over the edge, with Sarah grabbing him just in time.
  • Some viewers may worry about Sarah and her team as King George leads them through a notoriously dangerous desert where water is days away. We then see newspaper headlines that report all of them are dead, but later learn that is not true as all arrive safely.
  • Sarah and her team race to get their cattle onboard a ship before Fletcher can get King Carney's into the same destination (this is more adventurous than perilous).
  • Fletcher hits King Carney with his rifle, sending him into a body of water where a crocodile then attacks Carney (only partially seen, with no blood, etc.). Fletcher does this to take over Carney's business.
  • Sarah discovers Fletcher in her house, and he acts somewhat menacingly toward her.
  • Japanese warplanes attack an "orphanage" outside Darwin, shooting machine guns and dropping bombs on those on the island, including one such bomb hitting a building in which a priest is trying to call back and warn Darwin of the impending attack on them (we see the explosion, but not the actual death).
  • In Darwin, a building explodes from a dropped Japanese bomb, blasting Sarah backwards (there are reports that she's dead after that, but she's later seen alive). Various ships, buildings and vehicles are also hit by bombs and machine gun fire in a large aerial attack, apparently killing and injuring many.
  • Drover, Magarri and another man slowly walk through an island at night after it's been bombed, armed with rifles and looking for orphans and stolen kids, and cautious about running into any Japanese soldiers. They find the kids, but then notice some soldiers approaching, so Magarri stays behind and takes pot shots at the soldiers who return fire, all to allow the others the chance to escape by quietly wading out to their boat.
  • A man grabs a rifle, intent on murdering Nullah who's unaware of that plan. Sarah and Drover see that unfolding and race to protect the boy, but the shot is fired just as Drover gets to Nullah, and it's initially uncertain if either or both have been hit. We then see that King George threw a makeshift spear through the assassin, mortally wounding him (he lives for a few moments as he stumbles about, and then dies).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles/Machine guns/Bombs/Spears: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • King George is occasionally seen carrying a spear.
  • We see soldiers carrying rifles, both in a newsreel shown at a movie theater, and in person in Darwin.
  • Drover wears a sidearm.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cking drink," "Oh crikey," "She's quite the looker," "Not a bad looking Sheila," "Bloke," "Poppycock," "Do as you're bloody told," "He's a bit soft in the head," "Bloody old fool," "Where the hell are all the..?" "Go the hell back to England," "What the bloody hell are you doing?" "No good cheeky bulls," "Let's not muck about," "What the bloody hell is that?" "Too bloody right," "Bastards," "Little/filthy creamy," "Japs," "Shut it," "Bloody hell they doing here?" and "You stupid bastard."
  • Some of the stunts and fighting, etc. might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • About Sarah, one man says she is quite the looker, while another man pats her on her clothed butt from behind.
  • Drover spits after fighting.
  • Sarah sticks her tongue out at Drover.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • As they drive toward the ranch, Sarah watches a kangaroo jumping alongside their vehicle when it's suddenly and unexpectedly shot.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 5 hells, 1 damn and 1 use of "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We hear Sarah state that her husband is not in Australia for the cows, adding at least not of the animal kind (suggesting she thinks he's cheating on her).
  • About Sarah, one man says she is quite the looker, while another man pats her on her clothed butt from behind.
  • During a barroom brawl, Drover uses Sarah's luggage to try to hit others, resulting in the bags falling open, and some of her undergarments, including a bra, fly out.
  • We see young Nullah shirtless.
  • We see Magarri's shirtless male cousin.
  • We see Drover, all muscular and fit, shirtless as he rinses himself off with a bucket of water (and Sarah peeks out from her tent somewhat admiring the view). About aboriginal women, Drover states, "They're very easy to... get along with." As that occurs, the camera goes down his body toward his clothed crotch area where he's holding his toothbrush, all representing Sarah's point of view.
  • Sarah again mentions doubting her husband's reason for being at their cattle ranch, with Drover stating it's for breeding. He's meaning that in the true animal sense, while Sarah thinks he's referring to humans, and angrily asks if he (Drover) wants to "have it on with me."
  • Nullah's mom shows some cleavage.
  • King George wears the equivalent of a loincloth, and we occasionally see part of his bare butt in that in several scenes.
  • Nullah mentions his mom and Fletcher doing some "wrong-sided business" (meaning sex) that involved lying down and tickling.
  • While tipsy, Drover and Sarah start to kiss, but are interrupted by Nullah who peers down at them from a tree, and ask if they're going to do the "wrong-sided business" (a reference from earlier in the film).
  • Sarah shows a little cleavage in a low-cut dress.
  • Drover and Sarah passionately kiss out in the rain, and we then see them indoors with him putting his hand on her chest and her starting to undress him. We then see a side view of him on top of her on a bed, and can see that they are nude, but her arm blocks a view of her chest, while the sheets block the view of their crotch areas.
  • We see Drover and Sarah in a close embrace in a body of water, where he appears shirtless and she appears to be wearing a swimsuit of some sort.
  • We see Sarah and Drover in bed with her running her hand down his bare chest, and we see the top of her bare chest but Nullah interrupts them before anything else happens.
  • We see Sarah in a bathtub and see her bare shoulders and bare back.
  • We see various shirtless men following the Japanese bombing run on Darwin.
  • Sarah and Drover briefly do some clothed, passionate kissing.
  • SMOKING
  • Drover smokes once, while several minor and miscellaneous characters also smoke, including a few with pipes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear Sarah state that her husband is not in Australia for the cows, adding at least not of the animal kind (suggesting she thinks he's cheating on her). Accordingly, she heads to Australia to sell that cattle farm. However, when she gets there, she discovers that her husband has been murdered.
  • Sarah views her dead husband's body. His eyes are open and there's some blood on his shirt, and we then see a brief funeral scene.
  • Despite being his father, Fletcher refers to Nullah as "half caste" and says that he is a bit soft in the head.
  • About Nullah reporting that Fletcher has been taking some of the ranch's cattle away, the latter informs the former that if he says one more word about that he'll beat the boy's mother. He then chases after Nullah, catches him, and slaps him twice, while also knocking his mother to the ground. Sarah then hits Fletcher on the face with what appears to be a riding crop to stop him (drawing a little blood).
  • Nullah can't save his mother from drowning and obviously grieves over her death. We also see King George grieving, for he was the woman's father and is Nullah's grandfather.
  • Drover tells Sarah that Nullah needs a mother, but she says she isn't any good with kids. Even so, she ends up unofficially adopting him, and later worries about him when he goes missing.
  • Drover briefly states that he was married in the past, and he went off to war, and that his wife died of TB, adding that no hospital at the time would admit a black woman.
  • Fletcher is informed that his wife died in the Japanese bombing. He then blames that on Sarah for having earlier switched shifts with her. Accordingly, he then sets out to kill Nullah as revenge.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • There is talk of the stolen generations, mixed race kids (Aborigine and white) who were taken from their families in Australia to serve white families.
  • Cattle ranches and working on them.
  • Australia in the late 1930s and early '40s as compared to now.
  • Australia's involvement in WWII.
  • The aboriginal custom of never seeing a dead person's name after their passing.
  • Drover briefly states that he was married in the past, and he went off to war, and that his wife died of TB, adding that no hospital at the time would admit a black woman.
  • A newsreel at the movie theater talks about the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
  • Fletcher's comment that pride is not power.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Nullah spears a fish.
  • King George motions for Nullah to hide when he sees white men approaching, and the boy goes underwater. A person appears to dive into the water after him (as seen from under the water), but it's really Sarah's husband who's been killed by a spear that's gone through him.
  • Drover punches Bull in the face in a bar, resulting in others getting involved and that leads to a barroom brawl were various punches are thrown and delivered.
  • As they drive toward the ranch, Sarah watches a kangaroo jumping alongside their vehicle when it's suddenly and unexpectedly shot. We next see a stream of blood down the windshield from the animal's paw, and then a view of the dead and somewhat bloody kangaroo tied to the roof of the truck.
  • About Nullah reporting that Fletcher has been taking some of the ranch's cattle away, the latter informs the former that if he says one more word about that he'll beat the boy's mother. He then chases after Nullah, catches him, and slaps him twice, while also knocking his mother to the ground. Sarah then hits Fletcher on the face with what appears to be a riding crop to stop him (drawing a little blood).
  • Nullah's mother accidentally drowns in a windmill's water tower while hiding there with him.
  • Fletcher and some other men covertly pour lines of gasoline around Sarah's nighttime cattle camp. They then use a torch to set them on fire, thus spooking the cattle that stampede away toward a cliff. Two fall off and one man is run over by the cows (after being thrown by his horse that breaks its leg) and mortally wounded.
  • Fletcher hits King Carney with his rifle, sending him into a body of water where a crocodile then attacks Carney (only partially seen, with no blood, etc.). Fletcher does this to take over Carney's business.
  • A police officer finds Nullah and King George on their walkabout, and shoots Nullah's dog (we don't see the impact). Nullah is manhandled, and King George is grabbed and later thrown into a jail.
  • Japanese warplanes attack an "orphanage" outside Darwin, shooting machine guns and dropping bombs on those on the island, including one such bomb hitting a building in which a priest is trying to call back and warn Darwin of the impending attack on them (we see the explosion, but not the actual death).
  • In Darwin, a building explodes from a dropped Japanese bomb, blasting Sarah backwards (there are reports that she's dead after that, but she's later seen alive). Various ships, buildings and vehicles are also hit by bombs and machine gun fire in a large aerial attack, apparently killing and injuring many.
  • Drover punches Bull so that he and others can get on a boat.
  • A man tries to run away from some Japanese soldiers, but is shot in the back and downed. The group then walks up, with one killing him with one shot from his handgun (we don't see the impact).
  • A man grabs a rifle, intent on murdering Nullah who's unaware of that plan. Sarah and Drover see that unfolding and race to protect the boy, but the shot is fired just as Drover gets to Nullah, and it's initially uncertain if either or both have been hit. We then see that King George threw a makeshift spear through the assassin, mortally wounding him (he lives for a few moments as he stumbles about, and then dies).



  • Reviewed November 19, 2008 / Posted November 26, 2008

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