Australia 2008

Critics score:
55 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Ben Lyons, At the Movies: It's trying so hard to be epic instead of just being epic. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Australia offers everything from a cattle drive to Nicole Kidman's rendition of "Over the Rainbow" to hordes of Japanese Zeros zeroing in on screaming children during the early 1942 attack on Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory, two months aft Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: A wildly ambitious, luridly indulgent spectacle of romance, action, melodrama and historic revisionism, Australia is windy, overblown, utterly preposterous and insanely entertaining. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Jackman has musical-theater chops and knows how to sell material this ham-handed; Kidman isn't quite as deft. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Sometimes Luhrmann seems to be living in a Dreamtime of his own; his movie is all over the map. But what a gorgeous map it is. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Baz Luhrmann's entertaining Australia simply must be watched on the biggest screen possible, as I imagine it becomes sillier and sillier as it shrinks. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: It almost goes without saying that the film looks gorgeous, but the filmmaking behind it feels unsure how to work on this grand a scale. Australia is big. But it never fills the screen. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: If Luhrmann takes too long to tell the tale, it is at least a tale worth telling, shining a light on racism and mistreatment, folding it neatly into a crowded film that entertains us for most of the way. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Australia strains to do it all, and finally all you can see is the strain. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: Comedy and tragedy, action and melodrama, full measures of quirk and swoon: It's just a plain good time at the movies. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: This almost three-hour epic keeps shooting for the stars but usually crash-lands with a thud. Someone should have told co-writer/director Baz Luhrmann that just because you call your movie Australia doesn't mean you've created a national epic. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Even more than a Western, Australia is a musical without a songbook. Its emotions are large, its rhythms bold. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: It's an endurance test that ends in moans of recognition as characters seem to be acting out scenes from other, better movies. Really, you don't want to sit through this. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Missing the 'e' in epic, the filmmaker has produced a labored pic, weighed down by the very artifice that is traditionally his specialty. Read more

Christine Champ, Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: Australia is so damnably eager to please that it feels like being pinned down by a giant overfriendly dingo and having your face licked for about three hours: theoretically endearing but, honestly, kind of gross. Read more

Tom Maurstad, Dallas Morning News: Australia provides some remarkable moments: remarkably beautiful, remarkably imaginative and, against all odds, genuinely moving, which in a movie this overwrought and overblown is, in itself, remarkable. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: Luhrmann labors to frame his work as a grandiose social problem film -- rarely has a movie tried so hard, and so fruitlessly, for our love Read more

Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly: The result is mostly a woodenly derivative melding of '40s maternal melodramas, oaters and World War II actioners. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Halfway through, Australia veers sharply into Serious Issue mode. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: Luhrmann is drawn to kitsch as inevitably as a bear to honey. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: This film is a long love song written in two parts, and these actors duet nicely. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: Though Luhrmann starts with plenty of potential, he squanders it almost immediately. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Never boring but often exhausting, Australia finally pulls itself together for an emotionally satisfying ending. Or six. Pass the gravy. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: I must confess that I might have been harder on Mr. Luhrmann's film if I had not remained entranced by Ms. Kidman. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: It's messy and overwrought. But ambition this grand is worth two hours and 40 minutes of Aussie scenery, history (fudged), romance and war. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Long in the making -- and almost as long in the watching -- Baz Luhrmann's Australia is epic piffle. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: It looks great, but the same comment can be made about Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor, which shares more than a passing resemblance. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: What a gorgeous film, what strong performances, what exhilarating images and -- yes, what sweeping romantic melodrama. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Calling a Baz Luhrmann movie a crazy mess isn't necessarily a damning statement. But it isn't an automatic compliment, either. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: [Luhrmann] veers from earnest drama to brisk comedy and then tries to hold it together with awkward voiceover narration. Within five minutes, Australia seems headed for trouble. It gets there and stays there. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: It's a mystery to me how Baz Luhrmann continues to be regarded as a director worth following. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: It's not Luhrmann's best work to date, but it has crowd-rousing flair to spare. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: At once sprawling and intimate, melodramatic and comic, magnificent and utterly bonkers, it bears entertaining witness to Luhrmann's love of old movies and his Down Under homeland. Read more

Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine: Australia delivers with real panache. Read more

David Fear, Time Out: Are we so desperate to sate our malnourished nostalgia for movie magic that we'd settle for a facsimile so grand, lavish and empty? Read more

Nina Caplan, Time Out: It's a fine romp, epic in both ambition and visuals if not narrative - and if director Baz Luhrmann had stopped at the end of the love story's trajectory, the audience would have left entirely happy. Read more

Christopher Orr, The New Republic: Dear Baz Luhrmann: You have a problem, and the first step toward solving it is recognizing it: Despite your manifest gifts as a filmmaker, you can't do tragedy. And you need to stop trying. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Australia tries to be a sprawling, romantic epic. Instead, it's a melodramatic exercise in tedium. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Embracing grand old-school melodrama while critiquing racist old-fashioned politics, Baz Luhrmann's grandiose Australia provides a luxurious bumpy ride. Read more