Tuesday, July 29, 2014

644. My Brilliant Career (1979)

Running Time: 100 minutes
Directed By: Gillian Armstrong
Written By: Eleanor Witcombe, from novel by Miles Franklin
Main Cast: Judy Davis, Sam Neill, Wendy Hughes, Robert Grubb, Max Cullen
Click here to view the trailer


So I've been away from the blog for nearly a week now and that's probably going to be the norm until I really get back into the swing of things. I'm just too tired throughout the week to give the attention required to a movie, let alone writing a review. So, since my weekend falls on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, that's when you'll see me the most. Now then...My Brilliant Career...

This is streaming on Netflix for anyone with those capabilities who wants to play along at home. The film stars Judy Davis as Sybylla, the daughter of a couple of laborers (farmers) who are mostly annoyed at her dreams of a better life. Instead of being a famous writer, which she aspires to be, she's seemingly destined to chop wood, milk cows and do all of the other things that go along with being a farmer's daughter. When her grandmother sends along a letter, the parents make the decision to send Sybylla along to live with her for a little while, hoping to teach her a little discipline. At grandma's, Sybylla is exposed to the life of aristocratic, attending balls, wearing fancy dresses and being courted by upstanding gentlemen. The first man who tries for her hand is Frank Hawdon (Grubb), a proper "jackaroo" who dons a mustache and mostly makes a fool out of himself, in hopes of whooing Sybylla - he mostly fails. The other man in Sybylla's life is Harry Beecham (Neill), a landowner who she detests at first, but warms up to as the movie progresses. The two both vie for her hand, but she manages to dodge them both - almost stringing them along. It becomes apparent later in the film that Frank is merely a pawn to her and that if she were to become involved with anyone, it would be Harry. Like any standard romance tale, however, there are ups and downs for the potential couple.

Can I just start by saying how much I loved Robert Grubb in this. He was far and away my favorite character and this is a prime example of giving someone a supporting part and them running it in for a big touchdown. In fact, none of the cast was really worth speaking ill about, except maybe Sam Neill. I just don't get the appeal of this guy. How on Earth he was able to finagle his way into Jurassic Park, a ginormous blockbuster movie, is beyond me. He's just so damned bland, not particularly good looking, not particularly talented and just looks like any schmo off the street. Sorry Sam, it's damn true! In fact, when speaking of My Brilliant Career we're talking about a bagel without any cream cheese, a cheeseburger without a melting piece of Gouda or a piece of toast without any jam - I'm saying it was plain and perhaps the very definition of an average picture. There just wasn't any spark and when it was all said and done, I wouldn't say I'd suffered from having watched it, but I certainly wasn't enthralled with the experience either. I liked having seen an early Judy Davis picture, an actress that would go on to be a favorite of Woody Allen, which means I've seen probably, at least a half dozen of her pictures as it is. She was fine here too, but I kind of realized within the first twenty minutes that this wasn't going to win me over.

I keep getting this feeling like the best movies from THE BOOK are behind me. I'm pretty sure that isn't true, but I keep getting this suspicion. I feel like I've put off the worst until the end and now it's the beginning of the end and I'm left with a bunch of movies that I'm going to loathe. I feel like a kid on Independence Day whose burned up all his sparklers and all he has left are those things you throw on the ground and they make a snapping sound. POOF! Anyway, I'm being overly dramatic here and damn, it was only a few movies ago that I watched Badlands and loved it, so my thinking is totally irrational to boot. I just didn't get the importance of this one at all. Sure, THE BOOK manages to pull some excuse out of thin air, but after a while their excuses as to why something so average is in THE BOOK become so lame, that I'm sick of reading them. Nothing terribly bad to say - it's a period piece and the music, costumes and everything reflect that greatly. The acting, for the most part, is fine and if you're a fan of old Judy Davis, take a look at her as a spitfire when she was a young woman - she evolved seamlessly. However, the film has no spark, no excitement and ultimately is just a bland tale that I don't think I'd ever want to sift through again.

RATING: 5.5/10  A big old *blah* for this one. Like I said, it streams on Netflix so you be the judge, but as for this guy, it's totally forgettable and too unimportant to be included here.


July 29, 2014  11:07pm


  1. I know what you mean.. It feels a long time since we have had a film to get our teeth into.
    Even ones we can agree to hate produces interesting chat.. and ones we disagree on can bring up interesting points.. but this recent crop of .. "well it was.... .. actually I'm struggling to remember it" ones...


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