User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 203 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 203
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  1. May 21, 2014
    4
    To call Australia an epic is insulting to what makes epics special. Epics aren't corny, empty and have characters that are uninteresting. Just because it looks like an epic doesn't mean it is one. It fails to meet any of these criteria because Baz's original flaw of trying to tackle 4 different stories at once leaves each story having zero impact by the end.
  2. Jillbo
    Mar 20, 2009
    5
    A rather average film. Romanticised history of British colonisation and Aboriginal genocide, then becomes even shallower through the love story! It makes Australia (the place) look good though.
  3. syzygy
    Nov 30, 2008
    5
    Baz whips together large themes across a classic Hollywood canvas in the tradition of Lean, Ford, and De Mille. The trick is to balance the contradiction between a shallow pop-history narrative and the demands of serious drama. Baz tosses in one convention after another for a risky ride that succeeds as much as it fails.
  4. FranceL.
    Dec 23, 2008
    4
    A less sophisticated, less poignant, more derivative, more melodramatic, over the top, anything goes, everything goes, overly long 'Out of Africa' wannabe.
  5. ChadS.
    Dec 9, 2008
    5
    The grass isn't singing, perhaps the Australian outback is too arid. The grass is tired. Lady Sarah Ashley(Nicole Kidman) seems at complete ease with the Aborigine people at Faraway Downs, even though there's early speculation that her husband was killed by a native named King George(David Gulpili). Because of the times, you would suspect a British subject to be uncomfortable The grass isn't singing, perhaps the Australian outback is too arid. The grass is tired. Lady Sarah Ashley(Nicole Kidman) seems at complete ease with the Aborigine people at Faraway Downs, even though there's early speculation that her husband was killed by a native named King George(David Gulpili). Because of the times, you would suspect a British subject to be uncomfortable with Aborigines living under her roof. Lady Ashley doesn't have to be stereotypically colonist(like something out of a Doris Lessing novel), but "Australia" could have benefited from some moral complexity out of the ex-Brit. Saints aren't interesting. "Australia" works best as a western; it should have remained in this milieu instead of genre-hopping: the war epic that follows is not nearly as successful. The Aborigines are cast in "Indian" clothing, at first, when it's believed that King George is responsible for the murder of Lady Ashley's husband. During this interim period, the Australian emigrate seems too contemporary in accepting Nullah(Brandon Walters), a half-breed, as more than her charge. The filmmaker doesn't want to portray the Aborigine people as one-dimensional brutes, like the Indians, as seen through the lenses of Hollywood filmmakers during the studio system heyday. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and the filmmaker neglects to capture the urgency of the Aborigine cause. Since their children are being taken away, nobody would fault them if they responded to the government provocation by vigilant means. The filmmaker renders them impotent. When Nullah and some other Aborigine children are marooned on an island, it's Drover(Hugh Jackman) who comes to their rescue. Expand
  6. HyperS
    Jan 26, 2009
    6
    Hollywood drivel. The beginning was fine [kind of a Western theme], but the last 30-45 minutes was just the director throwing every Hollywood movie cliche he could at the audience. The Japanese attack was out of place and obviously used to simply facilitate the director's "Happy Ever After Ending" that we've seen a hundred times before. And forcing the villain scenes on us at Hollywood drivel. The beginning was fine [kind of a Western theme], but the last 30-45 minutes was just the director throwing every Hollywood movie cliche he could at the audience. The Japanese attack was out of place and obviously used to simply facilitate the director's "Happy Ever After Ending" that we've seen a hundred times before. And forcing the villain scenes on us at the end was just a pathetic piece of film making. Lazy, unimaginative, and extremely predictable is the only way to describe the ending. But, ladies out there don't worry as I'm a guy reviewing this movie... if you're a girl out there just ignore my score and go watch the movie as its the classic formula for a successful chick flick. You'll love the young kid and the love story and Hugh Jackman and of course the predictable happy ending. Expand
  7. NeilK
    Nov 21, 2008
    6
    Eh... a little better than average. It tries to be three different types of movies shot in two different styles. Sometimes Baz Luhrman is just too "smart" for his own good. This is a decent date movies... the gals will swoon over Huge Ackman as well as the story of the child. Guys? Well, it is not completely boring... but, be warned, after seeing Huge with his shirt off, you will be Eh... a little better than average. It tries to be three different types of movies shot in two different styles. Sometimes Baz Luhrman is just too "smart" for his own good. This is a decent date movies... the gals will swoon over Huge Ackman as well as the story of the child. Guys? Well, it is not completely boring... but, be warned, after seeing Huge with his shirt off, you will be looked at as sloppy seconds when the lights come back up. Sorry folks, the CGI looks ridiculous, the story tries to do way too many things with overly cardboard characters. Expand
  8. Jan 9, 2012
    6
    I had very high expectations from Luhrmann, being that "Australia" came as his next project after "Moulin Rouge," which is my favourite film of all times. However, "Australia" is far from deserving that honour. The critics got right the fact that the film is epic. Yes, it clearly is. Almost 3 hours of glorification of Australia - how could it not be? But grandeur alone does not make for aI had very high expectations from Luhrmann, being that "Australia" came as his next project after "Moulin Rouge," which is my favourite film of all times. However, "Australia" is far from deserving that honour. The critics got right the fact that the film is epic. Yes, it clearly is. Almost 3 hours of glorification of Australia - how could it not be? But grandeur alone does not make for a great film. Don't get me wrong - I did enjoy the film, and thought it was good. However, it had a bunch of things wrong with it. First of, it is not one story, it is a dozen of stories mixed into one overly-long film. Seriously, this could have been his next trilogy or something, since Luhrmann squeezed so much material into the film, that it's bursting out of its seems. Technically, though, "Australia" is amazing. With breathtaking cinematography, the usually spectacular art & production design, as well as costumes, and a good soundtrack, technically the film is superb. Acting is pretty good, too. Kidman is very good in comedic moments, but her lips indeed are too distracting from her acting. Jackman is his usual action-her self, so good, but nothing spectacular. The outstanding performances came from David Wenham as the arch-nemesis and the boy Brandon Walters, who stole the show. The screenplay is the weakest link of the film, along with its editing. Overall, "Australia" is a good film, but the story is too long, too stretched out, improbable and just not credible. At the end of the film you are visually amazed and in awe, but you are annoyed with the story. A nice try from Luhrmann, but he should have definitely cut at least 20-30 minutes from the film and worked more on the screenplay. Still, entertaining to watch for the visuals! Expand
  9. Jul 19, 2011
    5
    As beautiful as this movie looks, it seems split over the story it wants to tell. Is it discussing the lives of cattle ranchers or the plight of the aborigines or the impact of WW2 on Australia or the romance between an unlikely couple? You can't fault the movie for lacking ambition but the movie cannot possibly tackle all of these stories effectively, even with its lengthy running time.As beautiful as this movie looks, it seems split over the story it wants to tell. Is it discussing the lives of cattle ranchers or the plight of the aborigines or the impact of WW2 on Australia or the romance between an unlikely couple? You can't fault the movie for lacking ambition but the movie cannot possibly tackle all of these stories effectively, even with its lengthy running time. Each of these story threads feels undercooked as they are systematically left behind after each act. Australia is an overlong, overstuffed test of the viewer's patience. Expand
Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 38
  2. Negative: 4 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Megan Lehmann
    80
    Defies all but the most cynical not to get carried away by the force of its grandiose imagery and storytelling.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    Deliberately anachronistic in its heightened style of romance, villainy and destiny, the epic lays an Aussie accent on colorful motifs drawn from Hollywood Westerns, war films, love stories and socially conscious dramas. Some of it plays, some doesn't, and it is long.
  3. Jackman has musical-theater chops and knows how to sell material this ham-handed; Kidman isn't quite as deft. I've always admired her gumption in working so hard to overcome a certain temperamental tightness--but that tightness has now spread to her skin.