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John Kent Harrison
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A mild-mannered English conscientious objector moves to what he feels will be the relative calm of Australia after World War I, but gets caught in the middle of violent battles between the rising trade unions and fascist groups.
Good acting and a straightforward plot allows for an above-average drama
For anyone who has seen several films produced by the Hallmark Hall of Fame, the basic style of acting and script will be quite familiar. The production is designed to be low-key, and you can be pretty much certain nothing too shocking will happen. Gladwyn (Davis) and Larry (Jamey Sheridan) are a couple who live in the wilderness of Australia with their three young children. When Larry's wife from his first marriage dies, his mid-teen daughter Lara is sent to live with them. You can extrapolate the basic drama from there.
In my experience, Judy Davis' style of performance seems to directly depend on her level of comfort with the character. I suspect, in this case, she was not particularly at ease. But it's not necessarily a bad thing, because her character is not particularly meant to be personable. Her reaction and attitude to the world around her is very defensive. Her performance and that of Lauren Hewett (Lara) are the main reasons to watch this. Like most Hallmark shows, it depends directly on the quality of acting.
There's some aspects of the plot that fall flat. The whole spirit guide mystical Hollywood Indian dog sub-plot is really lame. It's been done so many times, and it's never been done well. Overall, it's a good drama that is a pretty much A to B run, but with more than excellent acting to hold it together.
RATING: 6.9 out of 10
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