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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 23.3%
Average: 13.59%
Pretty Bad: 10.68%
Total Crap: 5.83%

6 reviews, 67 user ratings

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Rabbit-Proof Fence
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by Stephen Groenewegen

4 stars

Rabbit-Proof Fence is a simple story based on true events. The story’s simplicity lends it the feel and power of a fable.

A.O. Neville (Kenneth Branagh) is the government appointed Chief Protector of Aborigines in Western Australia. He labels three indigenous girls “half-caste” and they are forcibly removed from their family. Molly, Daisy and Gracie are relocated to a camp with other half-caste children to be trained as servants for white households. The three girls, ranging in age from 8 to 14 years, escape and begin the 1200-mile trek home. The rabbit-proof fence that runs the length of the State is their guide.

The non-professional actors playing the girls (Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury and Laura Monaghan) give naturalistic performances. Although the girls are usually required to be cagey and non-responsive, we always know what they’re feeling from their body language and expressive faces. Some familiar Australians (Deborah Mailman, David Gulpilil, Roy Billing) lend solid support. The Chief Protector’s ideas are alien and ludicrous to modern audiences, but Branagh’s nicely understated performance makes Neville seem misguided, rather than cruel.

Christine Olsen’s screenplay has a slightly programmatic feel, as the girls move from one encounter to the next on their journey. But Phillip Noyce keeps the action fluid, and his gifted direction of the action and the actors transforms Rabbit-Proof Fence into an accomplished, commercial entertainment. He brings out the sly humour of the situation - three young girls and their elderly female relatives outwitting the combined male forces of the government bureaucracy and the police. Chris Doyle’s vivid photography showcases the harsh grandeur of the landscape, simultaneously impressing us with the enormity of the girls’ undertaking.

Although this is one of the first Australian films explicitly concerning the generations of indigenous children stolen from their families under white Australian law, Noyce hasn’t attempted to make the definitive feature on the subject. He recognises that this is just one of numerous stories that could be told. Although Rabbit-Proof Fence is set in 1931, the ending clearly demonstrates that the impact of the “stolen generations” policies resonated far into the future.

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originally posted: 04/30/02 20:04:59
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User Comments

4/14/16 Katrina Weiss Very determined kids, but a bittersweet ending. 4 stars
2/15/11 daveyt harrowing subject and well acted by the girls, 1500 mile journey made to look far too easy 3 stars
7/22/10 amartha i love this movie...emotional 5 stars
7/21/08 BOOFA This movie is horrible. The sense of distance isn't shown well and it's just another Bmovie 2 stars
3/19/08 shit head it was mad 4 stars
11/17/06 kara very good but i found molly didnt express the way she should of 4 stars
10/17/06 jose bererro awsome. to cool 4 school 5 stars
10/08/06 SL too plain, and authenticity of the Stolen Generation is questionable.. 2 stars
9/12/06 JR Sad that so few people will love and understand this movie. 5 stars
11/30/05 S A McKinley heartwrending 5 stars
11/08/05 none of your bisness stooooooooopid 1 stars
11/02/05 summer a quality film!!! worth a 10 star rating!! 5 stars
10/27/05 Lin Great and worth watching it 5 stars
10/25/05 Jo A good movie and definately worth watching! 4 stars
10/24/05 shandelle good 4 stars
8/27/05 ES Holy boring, why do critics rave about should obviously poor movies 1 stars
6/13/05 none great movie 5 stars
5/24/05 Linda Sharpe Very moving, similar to what happened to the mixed race children in Zimbabwe. 4 stars
3/10/05 Steph Awe-inspiring drama. Its so beautiful 5 stars
10/17/04 Charlene Javier Powerful doesn't begin to describe this. 5 stars
10/06/04 john bale No doubt well meaning in its way but a serious distortion of the truth. 3 stars
8/11/04 psycho dwarf avoids treacly pitfalls of the "kids with a cause" genre. 4 stars
4/18/04 anon Loved it 5 stars
4/02/04 Kaytie Chasm Its Fukn good aye ! itz really kool 1 stars
3/18/04 damien dylanson the movie sucked 1 stars
3/16/04 Dan Mackay Nothing over the top 3 stars
1/24/04 VW AMAZING, loved it! 5 stars
11/27/03 Sarah Packard It wasn't bad. Eye opener to what life was like for the half castes. Sad to watch 3 stars
11/10/03 Maysa Ashhab The best drama I have seen for years 5 stars
11/03/03 tehla levin it is excellant i loveit 5 stars
9/19/03 Jinnvisible Fine Film , Kenneth Branagh suits his rascist role, I wish he wasn`t in it, piss off Ken!! 4 stars
8/30/03 Kelly Mellinger touching and fascinating-not the best acting but good from kids who weren't actors to start 4 stars
7/20/03 matthew green filmmaking that stays out of the way, letting the amazing story tell itself. 5 stars
5/11/03 y2mckay Opens eyes to a dark chapter in Aussie history, but sometimes feels empty as the outback 4 stars
5/02/03 Diana Collado Great performance by the girls 4 stars
4/17/03 skye chapman could've and should've been so much more engaging 3 stars
4/02/03 Native American These are our stories. White people must see the RAPE of people and culture they commited 5 stars
1/22/03 Pinkline Jones Good film - Everlyn Sampi and co very good. Disturbing. 4 stars
12/18/02 Heather Great cinematography and Peter Gabriel soundtrack, a must see 5 stars
11/24/02 Colin Selby A MUST SEE MOVIE 5 stars
11/21/02 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng Excellent movie. People who wish to see something different should really watch this one. 5 stars
10/23/02 Kelly Excellent 5 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock A good try but ultimately a poor film. 3 stars
8/14/02 sam not bad and worth seeing if you want something new 4 stars
5/25/02 Hollie although it acked quiality acting and screen play, the overall power of it did some justice 4 stars
5/18/02 Amber Jarman Very good the best movie great acting involved 5 stars
5/17/02 viking Unforgetable !!! 5 stars
5/10/02 Catherine Cho really really really really cool 5 stars
4/28/02 ¤ Amy ¤ An excellent and most carefully detailed account of the stolen generation, must see!! 5 stars
4/27/02 Ella Hatten Its ok 3 stars
4/14/02 Tom Morgan Biased, I agree with the review, purely used to pull heartstrings, 2 stars
4/13/02 Pam Quite well done 4 stars
4/04/02 THIS MOVIE SUCKS R P F IS GAY 1 stars
4/03/02 Your dad Absolutley Brilliant! two very enthusiastic thumbs up 5 stars
3/29/02 Holly Salter Too timid. Probably because the director is afraid of upsetting Australian racists. 3 stars
3/24/02 your mum sucked ass 1 stars
3/21/02 Sartaj The movie is a profound experience. 5 stars
3/14/02 David An excellent Australian film - especially so, given the current climate. 4 stars
3/13/02 Matthew shit, biased 2 stars
3/10/02 nicholas mills this film is heart warming and unforgettable 5 stars
3/04/02 Jeff Walters Absolutely terrific. 5 stars
3/03/02 Lucas See it. Simple amazing story, well told! 5 stars
2/28/02 Vaughan Subtle and clever Sublime and cutting to whites. 4 stars
2/27/02 carp shit 2 stars
2/25/02 ^Elendil^ This is an amazing story. 5 stars
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  29-Nov-2002 (PG)



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