Getting of Wisdom (1977)
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The suffocating repressiveness of the Victorian era is superbly realized by director Bruce Beresford in The Getting of Wisdom. Thirteen-year-old Laura (Susannah Fowle), an incorrigible free spirit from the Australian outback, is enrolled in a prestigious girl's boarding school. The indoctrination process is a rough one, and Laura very nearly loses her individuality and sense of self-worth. When she does mature, however, it is on her terms, and not the school's. Intriguingly, The Getting of Wisdom is based on the reminiscences of a 19th-century female writer who used the pen name of Henry Handel Richardson. Despite its somber dramatic overtones, the film contains moments of uninhibited humor, a trademark of director Beresford. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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as Rev. Strachey
as Rev. Shepherd
as Mrs. Gurley
as Miss Chapman
as Isabella Shepherd
as Miss Hicks
as Mrs. Rambotham
as Mr. O'Donnell
as Miss Snodgrass
as Maisie Shepherd
as Miss Day
as Miss Zielinski
as Tom Macnamara
as Sarah Mrs. Rambotham...
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Critic Reviews for Getting of Wisdom
Rightly regarded as one of the finest films ever made about Australian adolescents, the director Bruce Beresford's 1978 drama The Getting of Wisdom exists in a space unaffected by time
The Getting of Wisdom demonstrates the painful aspects of trying to win the approval of one's peers during adolescence.
Audience Reviews for Getting of Wisdom
Wanting to see more of the outside world and naturally ambitious, Laura Tweedle Rambotham(Susannah Fowle) looks forward to attending boarding school in Melbourne, run by Reverend Strachey(Barry Humphries), a 'lugubrious spaniel.' That all changes the instant she gets off the train in the dress made by her postmistress mother(Kay Eklund), making her the focus of ridicule. At least her roommate Lilith(Kim Deacon) likes the candy she brought with her, even as Mrs. Gurley(Sheila Helpmann), school enforcer and holy terror, points out that having food in the room is against the rules, before listing all of them in their entirety.
As occasionally as unformed as some of its subjects, "Getting of Wisdom" is still a witty and engaging look at an awkward teenager trying to fit in to school society in Victorian Australia while quietly modifying the rules to help others. It is not only her unique fashion sense that sets her apart, as she also seems to be a head shorter than everybody else.(I know everybody else makes fun of her name, but I rather like it.) Even for some of us who went through something similar in our own school years, the movie is not painful in the least to watch, except for the poor character who is accidentally hit in the nose by the cricket bat.
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