Picnic at Hanging Rock: Miniseries (2018)

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Critics Consensus

Natalie Dormer charms in Picnic at Hanging Rock, a stylish retelling of an Australian classic -- though convoluted sub-plots at times distract from its otherwise tantalizing delights.



Critic Ratings: 53


Audience Score

User Ratings: 124

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Air date: May 25, 2018

In the final decade of the 19th century, mysterious widow, Hester Appleyard, arrives in Australia, haunted by a secret past. Here, in the new world, she establishes a successful school for young ladies. But six years later, on Valentine's Day, 1900, the enigmatic headmistress allows her pupils to picnic at Hanging Rock. And there, in the strange brooding landscape, something unthinkable happens. -- (C) AMAZON

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Air date: May 25, 2018

Hester's three star pupils and a governess have disappeared. Led by a dogged Sergeant, local men search for the missing. Has something supernatural befallen them? Or has a human outrage occurred? An aristocratic young Englishman, Michael Fitzhubert, was the last person to see the girls, and when the search is abandoned, he is compelled to return to the Rock where he makes a shocking discovery. -- (C) AMAZON

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Air date: May 25, 2018

The missing Rothschild heiress, Irma Leopold, has been found, remarkably unharmed, but claiming to remember nothing. Meanwhile, rumours spread and the Sergeant turns his attention to the College. What secrets lie hidden behind the locked gates? His investigation intensifies Hester's paranoia and she grows certain that the young orphan, Sara, knows something about the disappearance. -- (C) AMAZON

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Air date: May 25, 2018

Hester struggles to contain mounting hysteria as aftershocks from the disappearance continue to disrupt the old order. A mysterious visitor summons memories of Hester's dark past, whilst Sara seeks escape from the college. Meanwhile, we are taken into the story of the missing girls in the months leading up to the picnic, and the dark stain of the unsolved mystery continues to spread. -- (C) AMAZON

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Air date: May 25, 2018

French governess, Mademoiselle, is growing increasingly suspicious of Mrs Appleyard's erratic behaviour, and fears the worst when she is told that Sara was unexpectedly collected by her guardian, unseen by any other staff. As Mademoiselle searches for answers, the Sergeant travels to Melbourne to seek a last interview with Irma, and a secret vow made by the missing girls is revealed. -- (C) AMAZON

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Air date: May 25, 2018

Hester has grown increasingly certain that her vengeful husband is behind the disappearances and is coming after her. As she prepares to flee, the arrival of Sara's guardian provides conclusive proof of Mrs Appleyard's lies. As Hester travels to the Hanging Rock, we finally learn all that led to her demise. The haunted past she ran from, and the secret lives of the missing college girls. -- (C) AMAZON

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Picnic at Hanging Rock: Miniseries Photos

Tv Season Info

Appleyard College becomes the epicenter for this mystery when three schoolgirls and a teacher go missing.

News & Interviews for Picnic at Hanging Rock: Miniseries

Critic Reviews for Picnic at Hanging Rock Miniseries

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (24)

I'm halfway to being seduced by this swoony confection, which comes in six episodes and with so many blossomy female hormones, you can practically smell them.

Jul 11, 2018 | Full Review…

If Weir's film was a romantic, surreal, shimmering mystery-Twin Peaks by way of John Keats-the new Hanging Rock is a more Gothic work of horror, revealing the rot that permeates the blooms of the Victorian bouquet.

May 29, 2018 | Full Review…

The story centers around the mysterious disappearances of three schoolgirls and one teacher on Valentine's Day in 1900 and the subsequent investigation, covering its impact on students, families and staff.

May 25, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

[Natalie] Dormer is the best thing about "Picnic at Hanging Rock..." But she's not the only worthwhile aspect of the miniseries, even if the story may be a bit overextended at six hours.

May 23, 2018 | Full Review…

Sadly, this feels unlikely to be a Handmaid's Tale-level hit for Amazon, for while it's solid enough to warrant a look, it's also a bit too inconsistent and bloated to rise above the crowd.

May 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Beatrix Christian's narrative is complex, articulate and a work of some philosophical depth...It's filmed in such a provocative, highly conceptual way.

May 14, 2018 | Full Review…

An audacious, wicked, and ghastly enigma.

Jan 28, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

A wonderful renovation of a mystery classic, that against all odds, manages to remain faithful to its original hieroglyphic poetics. [Full Review in Spanish]

May 26, 2019 | Full Review…

[It] is a lush, often haunting, immensely satisfying and sometimes tormenting endeavor.

Dec 28, 2018 | Full Review…

The new show addresses awakenings in its own terms.

Sep 7, 2018 | Full Review…

Nonetheless, in its rather po-faced way, Wednesday's episode was intriguing enough to suggest that it might be worth sticking around to find out.

Sep 5, 2018 | Full Review…

You know something bad has happened yet somehow can't rouse yourself above crippling lassitude to attempt to care.

Aug 15, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Picnic at Hanging Rock: Miniseries

  • Feb 21, 2020
    Needs much more mistery
  • Feb 18, 2020
    Series Directed by: Larysa Kondracki, Michael Rymer ,Amanda Brotchie Developed By: Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison Cast: Natalie Dormer, Lily Sullivan, Lola Bessis, Samara Weaving,Inez Curro Network: Amazon It is considered one of the most quintessentially Australian novels of all time. The 1975 film adaptation not only helped popularize the Australian New Wave internationally, it also launched the careers of Oscar-nominated director Peter Weir. It takes a lot of guts to have another go at such an iconic property, but somehow screenwriters Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison, along with Larysa Kondracki (director of three episodes and general "creative consultant") pull it off. Weir's 1975 Hanging Rock is considered one of the haziest, dreamiest, most disorienting films ever. The 2018 television adaptation has those qualities too, especially the earlier episodes helmed by Kondracki, but it also embraces the gothic implications of the story. Natalie Dormer fully embraces the gothic femme fatale tradition as a decidedly younger Mrs. Appleyard than the Weir film has accustomed us to. Yet, she is terrific casting withering stares and dropping barbed comments. Watching her lord over Appleyard College is deliciously entertaining in the manner of vintage Hammer Films. the voluminous flashbacks featuring the missing students (and their wayward teacher Miss McCraw) quite effectively and intriguingly deepen the story and strengthen the character development. They also explain how what was quite haunting as a one hundred-minute film can hold up and maintain its atmosphere of mystery over six fifty-some-minute episodes. Hanging Rock 2018 could very well catapult the twentysomething central trio of Lily Sullivan, Samara Weaving (niece of Hugo), and Madeleine Madden to international stardom. In a way, they are archetypes who together make a whole. This time around, the underclassman Sara Waybourne is played by the conspicuously younger (and talented) Inez Curro, which makes the dynamics of her hero-worshipping relationship with Reid much more logical and believable. Among the grown-ups, Lola Bessis nicely counterbalances Miss Appleyard's evil eye as French instructor Mlle. de Poitiers, who emerges as Hanging Rock's gothic heroine. All six episodes were lensed by cinematographer Gary Phillips, giving the series a consistent, evocative look. The rock itself is quite an eerily beautiful locale. Indeed, throughout the series, viewers can palpably feel how the secluded environment and oppressive Australian heat could drive anyone a little mad, especially when combined with raging teenage hormones. No matter how highly you regard the 1975 classic, the 2018 Hanging Rock will still pull you in and propel you to binge the entire series. Very enthusiastically recommended, the new Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • Jan 13, 2020
    Watch the Peter Weir movie instead of this. That film is made by people who understand visual storytelling, film, narrative, characterization.... basically everything of value.
  • Jul 24, 2019
    A surreal gothic noir set in Victorian 1900's that leaves you with a sense of breathlessly uncomfortable suspension as the mystery unfolds and we get to know these girls after the fact. It can be slow at times, but well worth the wait.
  • Jun 02, 2019
    A stylish retelling of Joan Lindsay's classic, this series sets itself apart from the excellent 1975 movie by adding a little more meat to the bones of some of the characters stories. While sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, it is refreshing to see a different take that doesn't just rehash what came before it. Natalie Dormer's Mrs Appleyard is given a completely new back story and played fiendishly well by Dormer, and some interesting new dynamics are introduced between the girls of the story. The score, while not quite as haunting as the panflutes of the original movie, is wonderfully atmospheric in its own way, particularly the theme for Miranda. For those familiar with the infamous supposed final chapter of Lindsay's novel published several years after her death, there are some interesting nods to the conclusion said to be (albeit without proof) the original intension of Lindsay before she was advised to trim the chapter from the story in the interest of retaining the mystery. While the series doesn't commit all the way to this ending, there are certainly elements of it apparent. I personally enjoyed this new and intriguing conclusion but it could prove frustrating to some. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable show occasionally bloated by subplots but definitely worth the time.
  • Mar 10, 2019
    Samara Weaving is a terrible actress...how does she get work?
  • Mar 01, 2019
    meh....the ending spoils the whole series. all the mystery and questions we as viewers want answered are left unfulfilled. dont waste your time.
  • Oct 19, 2018
    I don’t think the writers ever read the book or saw the original movie. What nonsense.
  • Oct 09, 2018
    Natalie Dormer (Queen Marj 4ever) eu te venero!
  • Sep 05, 2018
    The plot development is too slow and because of that it's easy to become disinterested while watching

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