This film is based on a 1967 book by Joan Lindsay. So for quite a while I’ve been hearing film fans rave about this movie and how creepy and spectacular it is. So maybe I went in with unrealistic expectations, but this movie really just didn’t do it for me. I mean, it was fine but I was incredibly disappointed in it when it ended. It is considered one of Australia’s defining films, being more of a mystery than a horror film. So let’s get into what this film is about and why I was disappointed.
The film takes place at an all-girls boarding school in the year 1900. It is Valentine’s Day and the girls are all reading love poems and literature. They are excited about going on a picnic to a local geological feature called Hanging Rock. One girl, Sara, is not allowed to attend at the instruction of the overly strict headmistress. Four of the girls break off from the group to further explore the rock, and three girls mysteriously disappear. A wealthy young man who is picnicking near the rock becomes obsessed with hunting down one of the girls, as he saw the group shortly before they disappeared. The girls disappearance causes the boarding school staff and students to slowly unravel, the panic and depression swiftly getting worse.
So, this movie is pretty to look at. The school and the outfits are very romantic and soft, and the lighting is very beautiful. Aside from that though, there wasn’t much else that I liked. The film definitely tends to drag, which I can understand as that is common of films made in the 1970’s. The acting is pretty dry and unremarkable, with the exception of the actress who plays Sara. I also find the ending of the film to be exceedingly dull, while I am a fan of mysteries, if there’s no way to solve it, what’s the point?
Overall I was incredibly disappointed by this film, partly because I had such high expectations, and partly just because I don’t think the film has aged all that well. The way stories were told in the 70’s is very different that the way we tell them today, which lends to the film being a little meandering for my taste. Despite my dislike for the film, I know that it holds widespread acclaim, and I think this is one that everyone should check out for themselves.
Netflix available: No
Hulu available: No
Xfinity available: No
Amazon Video available: Yes