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Beautiful Kate (2009)

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Release Date: Nov 7, 2009 Wide

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64

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 12,509

My Rating

Movie Info

Celebrated British-born actress Rachel Ward (The Thorn Birds, Against All Odds) makes her feature directorial debut with this unique and occasionally provocative drama, featuring longtime husband Bryan Brown and produced in Brown's native Australia. A loose adaptation of the 1982 novel by Newton Thornburg (Cutter's Way), it transposes the events of that roman from Chicago to an Australian farm. Ben Mendelsohn stars as Ned Kendall, a fortyish author who takes his young, slightly uncouth

Dec 21, 2010

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All Critics (31) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (5) | DVD (1)

Although it presents itself as a bastion of haunting thoughtfulness and a target of controversy, Beautiful Kate offers nothing more than familiar themes seen in plenty of Australian films before it.

January 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

A stylish and intriguing debut from Rachel Ward. However, despite its good looks, this film ulimately has little to say for itself.

August 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

A pedestrian Australian drama that's big on scenery and long, meaningful silences but short on story.

August 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

Beautifully acted and shot, this isn't comforting cinema but is bold and haunting, marking Ward out as a director of note.

August 3, 2010
Little White Lies

A skilfully modulated drama that moves between timeframes and emotional pitches with assurance.

August 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Not the easiest of watches but remains compelling thanks to Mendelsohn's sure evocation of a man whose life has been buffeted by the past.

August 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Draws strong performances from a well-chosen ensemble cast.

August 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

The film is little more than an exercise in killing time until the inevitable scenes of tearful, shame-faced reconciliation.

August 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Beguiles almost to the last frame.

July 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Independent | Comment (1)
Independent

A powerful tale of forbidden love, isolation and making peace with the past. Beautiful Kate is truly hypnotic.

July 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Ward weaves a deft hidden family tragedy, but you'll see the revelations coming a country mile away.

July 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Beautiful Kate is engaging, strikingly shot and superbly acted, though the melodramatic and ultimately predictable plot feels a little overblown at times.

July 28, 2010 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

Beautiful Kate just keeps drifting along, its spells of passion and anguish, its sex scenes, its crude language, its occasional touches of horror lost in a miasma of dreamy mood swings and jumbled flashbacks.

August 9, 2009 Full Review Source: The Australian
The Australian

Make no mistake, this is a well-worn structure around which to frame an intense and wordy drama. However, Ward keeps the tale's trump cards expertly concealed for as long as feasibly is possible.

August 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Herald Sun (Australia)

Rachel Ward's directorial debut is well acted and handsomely shot by Andrew Commis, but it goes nowhere.

August 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out Sydney | Comments (2)
Time Out Sydney

Beautiful Kate is the best thing by far opening this week, and a memorable feature debut from Rachel Ward.

August 7, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

Part outback mystery, part kitchen-sink drama, Beautiful Kate is a remarkably assured directorial debut from Ward, who has honed her craft on short films.

August 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Director Rachel Ward creates an beautiful, tender and delicate story, exploring a damaged family and complex social taboos - with Ben Mendelsohn giving the best performance of his career.

August 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Screenwize
Screenwize

Helps redress a long-standing problem with Australian cinema by illustrating how fully developed, emotionally driven, three-act stories result in films that immerse you in their visions.

August 5, 2009 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

Ward's tough-minded and uniquely Australian version of Southern Gothic does reward your perseverance by at last making you care.

August 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Audience Reviews for Beautiful Kate

03/02/2011 (ONLINE)

An excellent drama that stirred me the wrong way... I'm puzzled, and to think that this is suppose to disgust me didn't, well, in the end it didn't. Morally it's insane yet innocently it seems harmless. This would of got just the 3 stars but I pushed in a half more for actually puzzling my view of this situation. I know what's right from wrong and yet I felt sorry for the true enemies or rather, the guilty ones.

I did not expect to be moved like that and feel something for this story but I was quite stunned in the end. I was actually not liking what was going on and then a sudden impact in the story started to sink in and now I was sad... I should be glad at what happened but I actually felt sorry for everybody even though they were all guilty for something.

A great Australian flick that builds up gradually. On the drama scale its a winner and for me, the story still lingered in my thoughts long after I saw the movie. Another film that I was 'Not Interested' in that I enjoyed surprisingly. Thanks to all those who kept recommending it till I finally said... Oh, alright then!
February 4, 2011
EightThirty

Super Reviewer

Wow, this was a dark movie. Definitely not for all tastes, and a little slow to get moving, but once the family secrets started to come out, just enthralling. I think this movie did a good job as even though it deals with something pretty much inexcusable, it does make you pause slightly and wonder who the real victim was, or if they were all victims. Acting is superb as well. Was particularly impressed with Sophie Lowe who plays Kate in flashbacks.
May 22, 2010
romy861

Super Reviewer

This Aussie drama of Rachel Ward's debut directional motion picture is interesting about a family so dysfunctional that you need another word for it.
When Bruce (Bryan Brown) and Ned (Ben Mendelsohn) go head-to-head, you're not just seeing two of Australia's best actors give their all, but a father and son unbotting a lifetime's worth of resentment and explosive rage. The supports are also flawless. As Sally, the youngest Kendall, Rachel Griffiths gives a grounded performance, while Maeve Dermody is excellent as Ned's sulky young fiancee, and Sophie Lowe proves that she's a talent to watch. With muscular direction from Ward (Brown's real-life wife), who adapted the screenplay from Newton Thornburg's American-set novel - this decidedly anti-popcorn movie does ultimately offer redemption and hope. It's an intense, disquieting experience - but a deeply rewarding one.
January 12, 2010
deano
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

In "Beautiful Kate," Ned(Ben Mendelsohn) travels to the outback to visit his long-estranged father Bruce(Bryan Brown) with his much younger girlfriend, Toni(Maeve Dermody), a waitress with dreams of acting, in tow. Bruce has conjunctive heart failure with only a short time to live and is cared for by his youngest daughter Sally(Rachel Griffiths) who also volunteers for the local aboriginal community. She has to leave for a few days, giving Ned more time to spend with his father and to think about his twin sister Kate(Sophie Lowe).

"Beautiful Kate" is a darkly engaging movie that takes its time moving through the landscape of memories with the help of natural performances and cinematography. Writer/director Rachel Ward handles the provocative material with sensitivity, allowing the viewer to understand what happened and possibly why but not pass judgment. Ned being a writer actually works here, as it is the kind of profession that Bruce would frown upon, thinking that the only kind of job for a man is where he works with his hands. And it would be so very easy to think of Bruce as a national champion rat bastard but that single shot of all four children around the dinner table hits home how hard it probably was to raise four children all alone after his wife's death.
September 9, 2011
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Ned Kendall: A man can live his whole life and never cop to his greatest achievement...
    – Submitted by Luís Miguel R (22 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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