7.5/10
24,053
249 user 76 critic

Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)

In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a trek across the Outback.

Director:

Writers:

(book) (as Doris Pilkington Garimara), (screenplay)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 23 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Laura Monaghan ...
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Ningali Lawford ...
Maud - Molly's Mother
Myarn Lawford ...
Molly's Grandmother
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Mavis
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Constable Riggs
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Natasha Wanganeen ...
Nina, Dormitory Boss
Garry McDonald ...
Mr. Neal at Moore River
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Police Inspector
Lorna Lesley ...
Miss Thomas (as Lorna Leslie)
Celine O'Leary ...
Miss Jessop
Kate Roberts ...
Matron at Moore River
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Storyline

Western Australia, 1931. Government policy includes taking half-caste children from their Aboriginal mothers and sending them a thousand miles away to what amounts to indentured servitude, "to save them from themselves." Molly, Daisy, and Grace (two sisters and a cousin who are 14, 10, and 8) arrive at their Gulag and promptly escape, under Molly's lead. For days they walk north, following a fence that keeps rabbits from settlements, eluding a native tracker and the regional constabulary. Their pursuers take orders from the government's "chief protector of Aborigines," A.O. Neville, blinded by Anglo-Christian certainty, evolutionary world view and conventional wisdom. Can the girls survive? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The True Story of a Family That Defied a Nation. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for emotional thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

31 January 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Long Walk Home  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£221,758 (UK) (8 November 2002)

Gross:

$6,165,429 (USA) (25 April 2003)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Doris Pilkington, author of the book "Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence", is the daughter of Molly Craig (played by Everlyn Sampi in the film). See more »

Goofs

The girl's shoes and clothes were far too clean and intact for a thousand mile walk. The girl's hair wasn't dirty enough and didn't grow during the journey back to their home. The girls looked like they went on a 10 mile hike with very few food sources, lack of water, lack of hygiene, and lack of injuries to accurately depict authenticity. See more »

Quotes

Moodoo: This girl is clever. She wants to go home.
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Crazy Credits

The painting songs sung by the Walpiri, Amatjere and Wangajunka women were not sacred songs, but were songs able to be performed in public. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gulpilil: One Red Blood (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Gracie's Recapture
Keyboards by Chuck Norman
Percussion: Adzido
Didgeridoo: Ganga Giri
Whistle: Richard Evans
Violin: Gavyn Wright (as Gavin Wright), Jackie Shave
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User Reviews

 
Excellent Realist Adventure Film
24 January 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Based on a true story and set in Australia in the 1930s, Rabbit-Proof Fence is about three "half-caste" aboriginal girls, Molly Craig (Everlyn Sampi), Daisy (Tianna Sansbury) and Gracie (Laura Monaghan), who are taken from their mother and shipped 1500 miles across the country to the Moore River Native Settlement where they are to become more integrated into white Australian culture. Molly, the eldest and most experienced of the three, initiates an attempt to return home, on foot.

There is some controversy over just how factual the film and its bases are (including the book by the real-life Molly Craig's daughter, Doris Pilkington), and there were some interesting parallels to the situation depicted in the film and behind the scenes facts about star Sampi and director Phillip Noyce. I won't get into that here, because it's irrelevant to the question of whether Rabbit-Proof Fence is a good film. It is. It's an excellent, inspirational film that should leave nary a dry eye whenever it's shown.

On the other hand, there is a politics present in the film that is not ignorable. The aborigines in the film are abused and pushed around by a culture that misguidedly wants to "protect them from themselves". A segment of historical white Australia is portrayed as the "bad guy". Noyce doesn't paint a picture completely without ethical nuance, however. The chief villain of the film, A.O. Neville (Kenneth Branagh), keeps talking about his good intentions, and such claims do not come across as insincere. This all sets the backdrop and motivation for the heart of the film, which is a story of just what conviction, persistence and a bit of resourcefulness can do.

Rabbit-Proof Fence is mostly a combination of an adventure and a suspense film. Set primarily in the breathtaking Australian wilderness, magnificent cinematography goes without saying. The suspense is realistic and comparatively subtle.

As for the cast, Sampi is simply enchanting, and Branagh is as good here as I've seen him in any other film of his, even though his role is a relatively minor one. The tracker, Moodoo (David Gulpilil), managed to be very effectively complex, all while uttering barely a word. The music, by Peter Gabriel, is also worth noting. It is very unobtrusive, but elegantly emphasizes mood throughout the film.

I also had extra personal interest in the film as an avid hiker who has done a number of long-distance hikes and who plans to do more in the future.


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