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All Critics (17)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (14)
| Rotten (3)
It's hard to imagine a film filled with more quiet integrity, intelligent passion, realistic drama and genuine entertainment than Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career.
This is a modest, clear sighted film, and it profits considerably from a lack of the bravura landscape photography that most directors would have used to puff up a movie set in Australia.
This Australian film is a charming look at 19th-century rural days in general and the stirrings of self-realization and feminine liberation in the persona of a headstrong young girl who wants to go her own way.
The period atmosphere is evoked with careful delicacy, but the characters rarely become more than stereotypes with performances (Judy Davis excepted) to match.
My Brilliant Career marks the beginning of exactly that for both the film's daring, assured, high-spirited Australian director, Gillian Armstrong, and its rambunctious young star.
The action and sentiments are familiar to the point of cliche, and there isn't much life in Gillian Armstrong's academic direction.
Armstrong's subsequent sojourn in Hollywood never yielded a film as engaging and passionately felt as this, her brilliant feature debut.
The continent is distant, the backdrop strange but, as American women will deduce, the problems are very familiar.
The mise-en-scene is well composed, and the story is well told in this wonderful Australian work.
This charming coming of age Australian film marks the debuts of two talented women: Director Gillian Armstrong and actress Judy Davis.
A seminal part of Australian cinema, made at the end of the 70s, when local filmmaking was no longer just a wild dream; in some ways we can see a symbolic metaphor for Australia itself in the story of strong willed Sybylla aspiring to be heard
A remarkably assured -- and unfailingly attractive looking -- look at the life of a young woman in 1897 Australia.
A woman with literary aspirations falls for an upper class man who tempts her toward marriage, away from her work.
The film sets up a familiar dichotomy: Sybylla finds that she must either pursue her career ambitions or settle down to the expectations of Victorian society and marry. Obviously, this is a familiar construct, one replayed to perfection in Henry James's Portrait of a Lady, but what I found lacking in My Brilliant Career was an exploration of who Sybylla is as an artist. After all, whether or not her book is good and should be written is significant. Instead, what becomes clear is how she doesn't fit in with Victorian, upper-class society and seems even more out of place with lower class society. Her only connection is with Harry Beecham, whom she rejects to pursue her work.
Overall, because one side of the conflict is never fully explored, I found most of My Brilliant Career lacking.
Sybylla Melvyn is a girl with a spark. She's also a girl who refuses to let 19th century sensibilities extinguish it. Set in Australia in the late 1800's, My Brilliant Career chronicles the story of a woman years ahead of her time.
Whoever cast Judy Davis as 'plain and ugly' ought to have their eyesight examined. Even without makeup she's absolutely radiant. Otherwise, she is perfectly suited for this engrossing, subtly romantic docudrama. Highly recommended.
Slow moving enlightenment drama with Judy Davis giving an excellent performance as usual. The characters are just to remote to really engage you leaving you feeling little for their stuggles.
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