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In mid-1800's England, Oscar is a young Anglican priest, a misfit and an outcast, but with the soul of an angel. As a boy, even though from a strict Pentecostal family, he felt God told him through a sign to leave his father and his faith and join the Church of England. Lucinda is a teen-aged Australian heiress who has an almost desperate desire to liberate her sex from the confines of the male-dominated culture of the Australia of that time. She buys a glass factory and has a dream of building a church made almost entirely of glass, and then transporting it to Bellingen, a remote settlement on the north coast. Oscar and Lucinda meet on a ship going to Australia; once there, they are for different reasons ostracized from society, and as a result "join forces" together. Oscar and Lucinda are both passionate gamblers, and Lucinda bets Oscar her entire inheritance that he cannot transport the glass church to the Outback safely. Oscar accepts her wager, and this leads to the events that ... Written by
I am not one for love stories, but this one truly moved me. It is wonderfully strange! It's nothing like anything I've seen before. I loved the awkwardness of Oscar and Lucinda, and the way that we had a chance to see (at length} who they were before they ever met each other. It made their attraction to one another make sense (something so rare in cinematic romances).
I think this is Ralph Fiennes' best performance of his career, and he's proved his versatility. Compare his Oscar to his Count in The English Patient
completely different people, not even carrying themselves in the same way!
This was a very good role for him. Cate Blanchett was really the standout for me; I took notice of her right away, and determined to keep an eye out for her future performances (she did a terrific job in the flawed "Elizabeth").
Of course, the film is beautifully made (I wouldn't expect anything less from Gillian Armstrong) and imaginative ... the way it depicts reality as almost surreal, and the surreal as quite real ... it's lovely.
On the one hand, this is a sad film, in that it's about two people who are just ... odd. They don't really fit in anywhere, and people don't understand them. Neither Oscar nor Lucinda are even anticipating (or aspiring) to be understood, and yet they find, and take comfort in, one another. Here is where the film turns from sad to joyful ... it is thrilling to see the surprise and delight they express as they discover that they have found their soulmates. I have to say that I found, in their story, a true (and hopeful) portrayal of love.
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