Crimes Against Australianity


Nicole Kidman is one of the world’s top two most famous Australians. And yet, she rarely gets to play an Australian character. That’s because, of course, one rarely writes a film that calls for Australian characters and since she can do an American accent perfectly well there’s no need to randomly create Australian characters just so she can play them. When I saw that she was going to be starring in a movie called Australia, however, I just took it for granted that she’d be playing an Australian. But no! Chris Orr:

One might imagine that in casting Nicole Kidman, one of the globe’s most famous Aussies, in a movie titled Australia, you’d actually let her be, you know, Australian. No such luck. Her character’s name, Lady Sarah Ashley, tells us pretty much everything we need to know. The first time we see the prim English lady she is striding across the Australian scrub as stiffly as a mime doing “schoolmarm.” The only way the caricature could’ve been more broad is if you’d cast a man in drag.

This seems pretty outrageous. The quasi-continent of Australia has made really outsize contributions to the world of cinema (Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Mel Gibson, Peter Weir, etc. all from a country with basically no inhabitants) and if you’re going to make a film called Australia that would be a great opportunity to write some Australian parts.