I’m thankful for “Australia”

The negative reviews of the movie “Australia” are right. It is corny, idealized, and way over the top. But the positive reviews are also right. It is epic, shows magnificent scenery well photographed, and communicates some fascinating history. Even the negative reviews concede that it is quite entertaining.

If you insist on irony, complexity, and gritty realism, looking down on anything else, this movie is not for you. But if you want retro-Hollywood, magical realism, and an unusually satisfying cinematic experience, this movie is for you.

It was a movie for me, and not just because I’m an Australiaphile. It is an interesting combination of genres and conventions: the western, the epic, the romance, and the war movie. I got a big kick out of it, including the outlandish parts.

We watched the movie in two shifts so that the grandchildren could always be watched by a blood relative, and with each group accompanied by an actual Australian.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • john

    I wonder if your son in law has explained the the Stolen Generation theme in the movie?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Oh, yes. That was an attempt to make aborigine children of mixed race assimilate by forcibly taking them from their mothers. It was a sad, bad business.

    By the way, the Lutherans in Australia did a much better job in ministering to aborigines and working to protect them than the established Anglican church. In fact, the Lutherans ordained aboriginal pastors before the country was even allowing them to vote.

  • Wayne

    Did your Australian relative know that the bombing of Darwin was carried out by the same aircraft who had bombed Pearl Harbour,and that the city was bombed over a 100 times over three years? As for the Lutherans,if it was not for their work at Hermansberg Mission in the Northern territory , it was believed that the Arrente people of indigenous Australians would have been entirely wiped out. Not a good history ,and yes the Anglicans always sided with the Establishment. Ask your relative about the treatment of Lutherans in World War one especially in South Australia


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