A Woman's Tale (1991)

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Australian director Paul Cox, skilled at intense psychological stories about lone souls looking for comfort in a cold world, was at his best with this original script co-written by the director and Barry Dickins. Martha is a 78-year-old woman living out her final days. Not a maudlin tale of a lonely woman wasting away, A Woman's Tale focuses on a human who manages to maintain an amazing vitality in the face of death. She encourages her young nurse, Anna (Gosia Doborowolska), to use her flat for romantic trysts; she looks in on Billy (Norman Kayes), an elderly neighbor, and she resists attempts by her son Johanathan (Chris Haywood) to place her in a nursing home. Sheila Florance's performance as Martha is a marvel, especially given the art-imitates-life aspect of production: Florance was terminally ill, and she died soon after she was nominated for the Best Actress Award for Australia's Academy Awards.

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Critic Reviews for A Woman's Tale

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

Yet in the end, A Woman's Tale is the gentlest and most uplifting of films.

Jun 4, 2018 | Full Review…

It's a special film, never maudlin or anything but honest, about facing adversity and doing it with courage and dignity.

Aug 27, 2007 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Australian director Paul Cox has made a brave, bold, and life-affirming film about what Cicero called "our play's last act."

Jul 12, 2003 | Full Review…

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