Country Life


Time Out says

Blakemore's 'quality' riff on Uncle Vanya is set down under in 1919. Deborah (Scacchi) is the object of desire, the frustrated younger wife of a pompous theatre critic (Blakemore). Returning from London to his stepfamily's ornate ancestral pile in New South Wales, the pair, respectively, spark ardour and resentment in the Anglophile household: Dr Askey (Neill), drinker, pacificist and conservationist, is smitten with Deborah, as is his rival, the nervous, artistic and generous master of the house, Uncle Jack (Hargreaves). Meanwhile, fresh and self-effacing as the critic's abandoned daughter, Fox steals the acting honours. Blakemore introduces some intriguing reflections on colonial coming-of-age, but they are sketched in such bald, symbolic strokes, it feels easy to be ahead of the game. For the rest, there's a lot of the camera gazing on impressive Hunter Valley locations, and a working over of small snobberies, racism and manners in candle-lit dinner scenes. Neill takes Scacchi for a walk in the bush among the rutting 'roos, where he gets - 'Hadn't we better get back!' - to unbuckle her shoe. Well-dressed, entirely respectable drama, but with little cinematic frisson.


Release details

117 mins

Cast and crew

Michael Blakemore
Michael Blakemore
Kerry Fox
Greta Scacchi
Sam Neill
Michael Blakemore
John Hargreaves
Googie Withers
Patricia Kennedy