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Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

  Directed by: Peter Weir
Written by: Cliff Green, Joan Lindsay
Starring: Anne-Louise Lambert, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Rachel Roberts
Links: Picnic at Hanging Rock on the IMDb, Buy on DVD, Buy on Video, Buy the Book
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"It's all about the atmosphere" - a review by pearly

This 1975 film begins with a title card that tells the audience that the film is based on true events. It isn't. In a way, this is kinda like a more subtle trailblazer for movies like The Blair Witch Project (1999) - it convinces you from the outset that what you're about to see is real, even though it isn't, but the convincing makes you really believe in what is going on.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, adapted from the Joan Lindsay novel of the same name, tells the story of a group of posh girl's school students who return from a visit to Victoria, Australia's Hanging Rock on Valentine's Day in 1901, minus three members of their excursion party. Two students, including the angelic Miranda (Anne-Louise Lambert), and one teacher, have disappeared whilst climbing around the rocks.

The thing that you walk away with after having watched this film is that director Peter Weir really manages to capture an intense and realistic atmosphere - not just that of the mystery of the missing women, but also prior to that, the more simple atmosphere and feel of the students in this early 1900s. This alone is quite an accomplishment, but it is great to then see that the film progresses in a manner which keeps you enthralled throughout.

This early work of director Weir should have been a fairly big tip-off as to the skill of this fantastic Australian director, and a sign of big things to come.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 23 Mar 2006

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Reader comments

  1. Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of my all-time favourite movies. Brilliantly executed, the very fact that one is left feeling slightly confused as to whether it was based on a true event or not, only enhances its mystery.
    On visiting Hanging Rock,I saw a display of old newspapers purporting to contain the news stories upon which the story was based. I believed them, but rumour has it that the story is not based on truth after all. I don't think anyone REALLY knows.
    The atmosphere of of the film, the direction, the acting, the whole 'feel' of the movie is gripping. I went to see it several times at the theatre and now have my own copy which I view whenever I feel like detaching from mundane reality.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from jo on Fri 02 Jun 2006 16:57 #

  2. Picnic at Hanging Rock is surely one of the most beautifully atmospheric and hauntingly chilling movies that I have ever seen. It´s quite simply a masterpiece beyond conventional descriptions, as the story so strongly reverberates around moods and feelings.
    Although no disappearances occurred at Hanging Rock on Valentine´s Day 1900, as in the film and in Joan Lindsay´s 1967 novel on which Peter Weir´s movie is based, I feel rather strongly that the plot is probably a mixture of fact and fiction.
    Joan Lindsay strongly hinted that her novel was essentially based on a true, historic event, which might even have gone largely unreported at the time. It is not quite unreasonable to imagine that Joan Lindsay herself directly or indirectly might have experienced something very strange and unsettling at Hanging Rock while a young girl in the early 1900´s.
    It all adds to the allure, mystery and fascination of this great piece of cineastic art.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Peter Lorin on Tue 27 Nov 2007 08:49 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (2 ratings)

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