Who’s In It: Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Brandon Walters, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson, David Wenham
The Basics: Well first it’s about this cattle drive and then it’s about World War II and then it’s about how back in the day the Australian government had this thing where they took Aboriginal children of mixed race and forcibly removed them from their families and sent them off to institutions where they could learn to be, no lie, more like white people. And then it’s about Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackson running desperately toward each other so they can make out. And then there’s this adorable orphan moppet they sort of adopt who’ll basically rip your heart out of your chest and stomp on it—look, it’s about three hours long, they have a lot of ground to cover—but everyone really knows that this movie is all about how much Baz Luhrmann worships the ground Nicole Kidman walks on and how he wants her to change into more and more awesome costumes in every scene. As for Hugh Jackman, Mr. Luhrmann just wants him shirtless.
What’s The Deal: If you’ve seen Baz Luhrmann’s other “Red Curtain” movies—Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!—then you know that he’s a guy who likes to put exclamation points in film titles. He’s also the guy who probably watched Say Anything... and thought to himself, “This movie would be better if Peter Gabriel were actually performing ‘In Your Eyes’ while standing on top of an elephant that’s been spray-painted hot pink that John Cusack holds up with one hand because his desire for Ione Skye’s given him otherworldly super-love-strength and then one million tons of glitter should be flying through the air. Eureka! I’ve found my calling in life.”
How Much “Red Curtain Trilogy” Madness To Reasonably Expect: Okay, so there are no glitter-encrusted elephants. But what you do get from this beauty-truth-love-etc.-obsessed bohemian is a firm commitment to epic, triple-espresso-shot extreme romance (the kind spelled XTREEEM!) and the kind of tear-jerking that involves having both your arms wrenched behind your back until you holler "Uncle!" He even has the nerve to invoke “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz because, you know, Australia is Oz and all that. And he does it again and again and again. And you’re still on board with him. Well, I was anyway. This guy knows my secret old-school movie-love buttons and sledgehammers them mercilessly. Obviously, being ALL MAN, I only got choked up like four or five times.
P.S. And Also P.P.S.: There is a red curtain in this film. Blink and you’ll miss it. Meanwhile, those among you who might shy away from seeing it because you’re worried about Kidman’s face can rest easy. She looks mostly unstretched, non-waxy and identifiably human.