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Picnic at Hanging Rock (Criterion Collection) (1975)

Cast: Rachel Roberts, Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard, more...
Director: Peter Weir, Peter Weir
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Coming of Age , Australia & New Zealand, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 107 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Peter Weir's haunting and evocative mystery is set in the Australia of 1900, a mystical place where the British have attempted to impose their Christian culture with such tweedy refinements as a girls' boarding school. After gauzily-photographed, nicely underplayed scenes of the girls' budding sexuality being restrained in Victorian corsets, the uptight headmistress (Rachel Roberts) takes them on a Valentine's Day picnic into the countryside, and several of the girls, led by the lovely Miranda (Anne Lambert) decide to explore a nearby volcanic rock formation. It's a desolate, primitive, vaguely menacing place, where one can almost feel the presence of ancient pagan spirits. Something -- and there is an unspoken but palpable emphasis on the inherent carnality of the place -- draws four of the girls to explore the rock. Three never return. No one ever finds out why. The repercussions for the school are tragic, and of course Roberts reacts with near-crazed anger, but what really happened? Weir gives enough clues to suggest any number of explanations, both physical and supernatural. ~ Robert Firsching, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Haunting and Beautiful by RRiutta December 7, 2005 - 10:39 PM PST
5 out of 7 members found this review helpful
If you are a person who likes to have a movie wrapped up in a nice red bow, I would not recommend watching this movie. If, however, you like movies that give you time to think and fear and dread and wonder, give this one a chance.

Lovingly shot, it gives insight into the repressive yet beautiful Victorian age. The young ladies are caught between their bodies and their society, as well as nature and civilization. Sexuality is never discussed but is always present, beneath a corset, a glove, a glance.

There is a mystery here. And there are clues. But this movie will leave you perplexed. Perhaps that is its aim. Humanity and its struggle against the natural world is baffling in itself. This movie is a reflection of our strange tendencies.

unsolved mystery with no clues by skybrian November 22, 2003 - 11:39 PM PST
4 out of 18 members found this review helpful
There's some excellent photography but not that much happening here, just a slow-moving, unsatisfying story that never really goes anywhere.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.35)
195 Votes
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Reviewed on Show Me Your Titles film podcast
visit Show Me Your Titles to hear what Erin and Cathy thought of these films.
Top 10 Criterion Collection Films
A difficult task but somebody had to do it. I haven't seen the whole collection but I'm working on it. These are my favorites thus far.

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