Film Review: Beautiful Kate (2009)

2 Oct


Sex, death, incest and suicide are just four of the key ingredients in actress Rachel Ward’s powerful directorial debut, which is based on the acclaimed novel by Newton Thornburg.

beautiful-kate-81-301x267-customNed (Ben Mendelsohn) is travelling with would-be actress Toni (Maeve Dermody) to see his estranged dying father Bruce (Bryan Brown) in the family’s drought affected homestead in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. His younger sister Sally (Rachel Griffiths) is glad for someone to share the chores of caring for their bedridden parent, but in a series of flashbacks we discover the tragic events which led to the deaths of Ned’s twin sister Kate (Sophie Lowe), and their elder brother Cliff.

The secrets of the past gradually unfold as writer Ned puts pen to paper to explain to himself (and unwittingly to others) what has remained unsaid and unspoken for nearly twenty years.

Beautiful-Kate-5BEAUTIFUL KATE is a confronting and challenging film with some remarkable performances from the key players. Bryan Brown (Rachel Ward’s real-life husband) is staggeringly good as the obnoxious family patriarch and Sophie Lowe is simply stunning as the dangerously playful Kate. It’s also pleasing to see Rachel Griffiths back on home ground after her huge success stateside in television’s Six Feet Under; and listen out too for the atmospheric music from veteran rocker Tex Perkins.

Although not to everyone’s taste BEAUTIFUL KATE will stay with you long after the credits have rolled and, on this evidence, Rachel Ward will have a long career on both sides of the film camera. Australian film making at its finest.


—> Official Website {link}

—> Simone Mitchell reviews in The Vine

“Gee it’s nice to see a clever Australian film.”

—> Sandra Hall review in the Sydney Morning Herald *** 1/2

“This is not a film which invites you to delight in the company of its characters.”

—> Luke Buckmaster review on Crikey

“it’s technically highly adept, decently acted and directed and there are some intriguing concepts – in particular a ballsy but kind of beautiful exploration of incest – that float about in its misty ambience.”

—> An international take from Richard Kuipers at Variety:

“Ward delivers a visually beautiful and emotionally rewarding study of a dying patriarch and his estranged son”


One Response to “Film Review: Beautiful Kate (2009)”


  1. Mperience! - August 6, 2010

    […] Adams, Kathy Griffin, Dustin Diamond, Tiffany, Dennis Rodman, Danny Bonaduce, Kate 8 Jun 2008 Film Review: Beautiful Kate (2009) 2 Oct 2009 The Sydney Film Festival – Beautiful Kate – premiere 15 Jun 2009 Beautiful […]

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