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.