Sirens (1994) Poster

(1994)

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7/10
Good Movie
MyOpinionIsFact10 July 1999
Warning: Spoilers
I had never heard of this film before I saw it on television one night. Luckily I saw it in Australia and it wasn't edited for content. I found it refreshing and intelligent. Set in the 1920's, it's about a reverend and his wife who travel to the Outback of Australia to "tame down" an artist (played well by Sam Neil) who has been creating "lewd" paintings. In the end, the film successfully criticizes religion's hang ups about sex. The reverend, of course, plays the part of conservative who is against these paintings that he deems are pornographic. During the course of the film he has several opportunities to explain his objections. While the film ultimately suggests that he is wrong, it still allows us to understand the reverend's point-of-view and perhaps even sympathize with it. The most remarkable thing about this character was his "some things are best left untold" stance concerning his wife's misbehaviors. This was a brilliant unexpected twist for me. At no point in the movie is the reverend made out to be a villain. Rather, he is presented as an intelligent and forgiving man, who just happens to be conservative about sex. With that said, I do not believe criticizing religion's view of sex was the main purpose of this film. The true story -- related but not the same -- was about the reverend's wife finding her own repressed sexuality while also well-aware of her husband's views which she initially shared. She is the heroine of the film. She makes a journey, encounters inner conflict, and returns changed by her experiences for the better (or we are led to believe). Any review of Sirens would be incomplete if it failed to comment on the sex scenes. They are explicit but nothing to be alarmed about especially considering this film targets a purely adult audience. The sex scenes are tastefully done even if they are built on lust instead of love. If I may venture an opinion, I think most women will find this movie very erotic. Take for instance, the perpetually bare-chested muscular blind guy. This character fulfills no other purpose than to incarnate female sexual desires. Men however will not find this film very arousing. It explores the sexual desires of women not men. But there are plenty of beautiful naked women to kept them interested even if the story doesn't. But as a man, I enjoyed the movie too. (I can't even recall any film attempting to explore men's sexual desires artfully at this moment...) In summery, a very good film that is thought-provoking and well-done. 7/10
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A Provocative Moral Statement
Todd M20 April 1999
While this film is often not taken seriously because of its explicit nudity, it is in fact one of the most thought-provoking commentaries on religious values I have ever seen on the screen. This film provides us with the stark contrast of the repressed preacher from London and the artist's three models in rural Australia, a throwback to Shakespeare's "Green World." The fulcrum of this contrast is the preacher's wife, being pulled in both the oppressive, "moral" direction by her upbringing and her husband and the free and expressive direction of the artist. The breathtaking cinematography and stunning visual symbolism of this film contribute to make it into a powerful attack on the Christian moral code that dominates western thinking. I have been scoffed at on more than one occasion for praising Sirens, but I left the theater questioning my own views about what is and is not moral. The fact that this film's sexual content seems to invalidate it as art in many people's eyes merely underscores the value of its message. Along with Sling Blade, Sirens to me stands as the most provocative film about morality made in the 1990's. A solid 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.
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10/10
Prudes, Beware! Lust- and Joyful People Ahead!
Theodor168 August 2008
Oh, how I love this movie!

It shows us how under the thin veneer of hypocrisy, religiousness, and enmity against all physical lies what God gave us to enjoy: a body to experience happiness, laughter, desire, sensuality, lust, and sexuality. And no institutions (like the Christian church in this film) have the right nor - in the long run - the capability to prevent people from finding out this fundamental truth.

Watching this movie without an open mind towards sex or a joyful sense of humor surely will be annoying. So fundamentalist Christians and other prudes shouldn't bother. The rest of the audience (hopefully the majority) can expect a solid performance of the entire ensemble and many moments that make you smile and sometimes downright happy.
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7/10
A quite imperfect enchanting film
cestmoi8 June 2004
It is not the bosoms, really. No, there is an earnest quality here that is dependent on performances and landscapes and an essential moral tale than on the bounteousness of bums and bosoms frolicking in Australia. Neil is always good, Tara Fitzgerland is fine, and that often one-note Hugh Grant works perfectly as a priggish English priest who opens up ever so slightly when all is said and done. And much is said and some is done. There is some absolutley wonderful photography and some perfectly awful and obvious photography that would make Hallmark blush. Pretty good script with the story wandering about more than a bit. Shorter would have been better and the blue shots of nude statuary of indifferent quality by this nice but hardly profound Australian artist(on whose life and an episode therein, is it based)could have been a one-shot affair for my money. But I liked it for the performances.
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8/10
puhleeeeeezzzzzzz
rainbow99983 January 2005
Excellent entertainment value (for those who don't seek perfection in every fictional accounting of an event). You either like it or you don't! For those who didn't like and posted here, I am surprised you took such elaborate measures to critique it to the umpteenth degree. Had the movie been heralded as "The Greatest Movie Ever Made", I would better understand your criticism. However, since it was not, it doesn't really deserve the harshness of some of the posts in here. If your expectations were not fulfilled, its not the fault of the movie! And I'll bet dollars to do-nuts that the majority of the people who went to see this movie went to satisfy their curiosity regarding the nudity. Of all the scenes in this flick that have been talked about in these postings, the most obvious tongue in cheek scene has been overlooked. At the end, Lindsay walks into a building and tosses a hammer to the "blind" man sitting on a cot and says 'lets get to work'............the "blind" man deftly catches the hammer and gets up. For all those whose comments are detracting, at least give the author a little more credit for inserting that, so obvious, yet unmentioned.
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8/10
An erotic little romp
hannahchow18 March 2004
"Sirens" seems to have touched a nerve here. Some reviewers dismiss it as derivative soft-core drivel. Others love it. It probably helps to know that there's little derivative about the story-it's based on real people and a real incident. Sam Neill's character--Norman Lindsay--was real. Lindsay, a prolific artist and novelist, was also a libertine living a Hugh Hefner lifestyle when the rest of the world was awakening from the Victorian Age. "Sirens" was filmed at the Lindsay home and gallery, a 40-acre estate now run by the Australian National Trust. The artworks are all Lindsay's. And the storyline is based on an incident in which the Anglican Church dispatched a cleric to convey concerns about "The Crucifixion of Venus." As for the plot, it's simply a humorous retelling of what might have been--with lots of voluptuous nudes and erotic symbolism tossed in for good measure. Yes, it's all quite predictable. You know five minutes into the film that the Converters will become the Converted. But it's a fun ride getting to that inevitable destination. `Sirens' is not for everyone. If full-frontal male and female nudity offends, you will be offended. If ridiculing the Church or its values offends, you will be offended. And if the notion that the cure for a boring marriage is a little extra-marital dalliance offends, you will truly be offended. Otherwise, it's a little erotic gem and a great way to start an even better evening. :)
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6/10
A whimsical, light drama with subtle charms
=G=18 March 2001
"Sirens" (title refers to Homer's sirens) tells of a young church official who is dispatched to visit a painter at his remote Aussie studio/estate to dissuade him from showing a painting of a nude on a cross. Hugh Grant plays the minister who, with his wife, encounters four beautiful models (one is the artist's wife) who bemuse him with their nude romps and sensual ways. Moreover, he's distressed by his wife's apparent interest in the unabashed frolicking. "Sirens" is a not too serious and somewhat sensual film with a thin plot. The film's appeal is in the moment-to-moment situations, the shangrila "feel" given to the harsh outback locale, the feminist antics of the bevy of babes, etc. Some will find the film tedious while others will be captivated by it's subtle charms.
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8/10
A sensual morality play
wnterstar17 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Sirens is the story of a preacher named Anthony Campion(Hugh Grant) and his wife, Estella (Tara Fitzgerald) who are sent to investigate Normal Lindsay (Sam Neill), an artist who has been accused of painting lewd pictures. They find the artist living with his wife and three beautiful models, none of whom have any problem with nudity.

Although shocked at first, Anthony and Estella find themselves being seduced by the beauty and sensuality around them and they are both changed forever by the visit.

This is a sexy movie that isn't about the sex. It is filled with sweeping vistas, and has a wonderful score. It's a great movie to sit with your significant other and watch!
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8/10
Woeful underrated by IMDBers
davdecrane14 May 2010
While it takes some time to declare itself as the story of the sensual awakening of the Tara Fitzgerald character, the movie brilliantly captures the Anglo-Saxon tension that arises whenever faced with the erotic. Hugh Grant is winningly Hugh Grant, the other characters are fun and believable in a scenario that manages to be both realistic and whimsical. The dialog is funny, the Australian geography is stunning, as are the naked forms of the women, who together manage to achieve more sensual nudity than a years' worth of French movies. Rachel Portman's score is fantastic, wonderfully mirroring Tara Fitzgerald's liberation, an act achieved through her own risk-taking, and then mentoring another woman through the same process. Hugh Grant may fail in his paramount plot goal but his character is more than rewarded with a wife whose outlook on life promises a new kind of open relationship.
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...almost everyday for 1 1/2 years, I watched "Sirens"...
keltek14 April 2003
I personally believe this film is "so" subtle that it cruises under the scope of the average person - no insult intended! So many say they "liked this film but..." just goes to show how subtle this film really is. The photography is absolutely breathtaking. Film stills would make such a collage - oy! The acting is so right on and precise from each and every actor - the characters so well defined. The story is so exquisitely told...! During the whole movie, I kept expecting that statue (you know the one!) to take off walking. At the end, in the dream sequence when the statue stepped down from her pedestal and walked off into the mist, it nearly blew my mind! The way the story switches back & forth between conscious & unconscious day-to-day experiences so seamlessly amazes me. I fell totally in love w/this movie. I went thru a stage of watching it at least once a day for about 1 1/2 years - almost w/out fail! I am married to an artist. I have been his model. I am a woman. This film speaks to these matters with such clarity it's truly amazing. The transition Tara Fitzgerald's character goes thru in waking up to her womanhood is also an integral and major part of the story. The symbolism of the painting of the dual woman - and her being awakened each night by something in the natural/instinctive world calling her to consciousness. Lucid dreaming - becoming conscious thru internal knowledges calling forth her true nature. Please forgive me for not writing in complete proper syntax. I'm usually much better at expressing myself than this. But my relationship with this film is so very personal as to be abstract in tho't. Plus, I've never tried to express my feelings about "Sirens" before. I am almost shocked when I read that some of you think it was less than a "10"! "Predictable"?! Maybe you are more on the ball than I am and than I am giving you credit for. Pardon me please! This is "one" of the all time best movies ever - for me anyway! And - really! - when the preacher & his wife arrive - one of the first people to greet them on their mission is the old fella on the car bumper with,"Get f***ed!" Ya gotta love that!
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One hell of a first date movie!
runar-423 June 2002
I knew nothing about this movie, but offered to accompany a woman I had known for some time, but had never been on more than vaguely friendly terms. I was not prepared for the charm, playfulness, joy and raw sensuality that this film captured. Sam Neill is the ultimate sensualist, yet indulges his children's fancies with innocent abandon. Hugh Grant is a likable doofus, and he is far outpaced by Tara Fitzgerald's acceptance of the pleasures of the flesh. In many ways, this couple reminded me of Brad & Janet in "Rocky Horror" - the man is either unable or too clueless to accept the sensual awakening that his companion does. Thus, I was pleased at my date's choice of film, and any discomfort of my own at being seduced by the screen on a first date soon passed from my date's reactions to the sexy scenes. On the anniversary of that date, I paid the outrageous price of $59.95 for a VHS copy, and the repeat viewings were as pleasant as th first. We later married, and this was her idea, too.

P.S.: I recommend "The Advocate" for those who like "Sirens".

P.P.S.: I agree for the most part with Eamon Buchanan's comments, but, the models were "painted"in the nude, not "painting", and it was the Anglican church that was upset, not the Catholic (the Campions could not have been married if they were Catholic).
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10/10
Try and resist their call...Be Seduced...
patrickdc2028 February 2002
This is truly one of my favorite films of all time. From the clever dialogue, lush scenery and amazing cinematography, I find it irresistable.

While it was an admittedly erotic film, I found it extremely 'body/nude positive' in the sense that it showcased the true beauty of the human form and seemed to celebrate it.

Also, the creative way that the director "morphs" scenes into and from noted works of art. Brilliant!

The Soundtrack -- by Oscar winning composer RACHEL PORTMAN -- melded the at times ethereal emotions of many scenes and drew the viewer in. Again, irresistable...

A few scenes that stand out:

*Dream sequence of Tara Fitzgerald's character when she descends into the water at night in a gauzey Egyptian cotton nightgown and the three models emerge from the water and caress her.

*The scene when the "Statue" comes to life and walks off into the illuminated night mist...

This is a film NOT to be missed. One will not regret viewing it.
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10/10
Funny & Inspiring, gorgeous music
ctodd10007 May 2003
This film was funny and inspiring, with beautiful music by Rachel Portman (the "only" female composer in films in the "top ten" almost all male composer lists). Lots in this film will stay with you; especially the scenes with Australian animals and waters and snakes. Great philosophical and comedic themes as well. Bears watching a number of times to "get it all." Thanks to everyone concerned for making this wonderful and funny film; first time I've smiled in a long time!
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8/10
Morality is in the eye of the beholder
aimew11 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
First, this movie is a bit old so I don't quite know what would be a spoiler; so, just to be safe I checked the box. I suppose that I am also telling quite a bit of what's going on so, yes, if you haven't seen it, stop here, see it and then come back and see if you don't agree.

No, it isn't very deep (as some here have intimated) but it could make you think deep thoughts if you follow the various threads that unfold.

Venus Crucified (the blasphemous painting in question) is a pointed reference to the killing of the sacred feminine by the Christian Church (although I do not think that was intended by it's Messiah).

The symbolism isn't terribly subtle either, there are snakes in the garden, for sure; but there are a number of references to the savagery of life in mid-twentieth century Australia - people eaten off by sharks and (other) snakes attacking children in a newspaper headline near the end. There was repeated references to the Titanic, too, including, so it seemed, that the minister and his wife may have sailed on it to Australia! (The sirens calling the ship to it's demise? The whole thing a dream of a passenger on that ship?? Who knows, eh?)

The symbolism was a bit off in one scene that depicted the minister and bishop going through the museum without looking at any of the wonderful paintings along the gallery on the way to the offensive work; but the church is not above owning a huge collection of art, some of it quite controversial. That bit of 'ignorant indifference' didn't play too well on this viewer; but I suppose it was a jab at the tight-assed attitude of the clergy in general.

The girls are charming in the old fashioned sense - just as the original sirens charmed sailors to their doom, they charmed the minister's wife to her 'moral doom'.

Dream sequences were, like real dreams, sometimes hard to know if they were 'real' or not - just as Gidy is conned into thinking what she really saw was just her dream; and that dream was 'telling her' to do what she wanted to do in the first place.

Near the end when Devlin catches the hammer, it all fell into perspective, not only for me but for Estella as well.

I don't think this film was ever intended to be a deep, heavy look into any morality; it was a bit of a romp through the human condition leaving one with a little fatalistic approach to morality - life has many ugly sides (sharks, snakes, etc.) but leave room for a little fun too. The minister (Anthony/Hugh Grant) also allows that some things are best not told. There is a difference between not telling something and telling a lie, though; and that was left right out.

Frankly the morality being sold in this flick is just a bit too frivolous for real life, at least in most settings. People do get hurt, lives are affected, and there are often consequences for those so-called harmless trysts. John Lennon would have us Imagine this and that but in the end he lived the good life off of the proceeds of his capitalistic ventures. That is how life is; this movie is how dreams are. All-in-all, it was nice dream. That's what movies should be; so in being that, it was a very good movie.
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10/10
Stunning Cinematography and Beautiful Bodies !!!
4dtvman27 August 2002
This is supposed to be a comedy but I found myself transfixed by the stunning cinematography and beautiful bodies more than anything else. Sam Neill's bevy of beautiful nude models, headed by Elle Macpherson, nearly steal the show. Hugh Grant is surprisingly convincing in his role as the prudish minister and Tara Fitzgerald is equally convincing as his almost-as-prudish wife. The are a few funny moments in this film involving the models' interactions with Grant and Fitzgerald.
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Funny and refreshing
jangu20 May 2001
This movie was a nice surprise to me. I expected something more raunchy, considering it's reputation with a lot of naked women (all gorgeus by the way). Instead, I found it to be a sweet and unexpectedly innocent movie about being yourself, accepting who you are, exploring your possibilities. Tara Fitzgerald is simple super as the curious wife of Hugh Grant's vicar (who seems to be constantly blushing and who is his usual bumbling self). She simply has the meatiest part and she surely takes advantage of that. All the "naked ladies" deliver very respectable performances. Only Sam Neill seems to be a bit too lost amid all these different personalities and doesn't really convince. Absolutely stunning visuals (it's shot in Australia, but apart from the odd scenes at a bar, it all seems to take place in some gorgeus never-never land). And the nudity didn't disturbed me one bit since it's presented in a very unaffected and natural way. Truly different and very refreshing!
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10/10
Extremely sensual.
hamfighter12 March 2001
This film brings to life the grace and beauty of the female form and why it has been a primary subject of human art for all of history. Packed with fun symbolism and a very strong cast, Duigan offers a film that never presses and is as relaxed as the characters. The film is a visual and sensual pleasure.
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A beautiful and uncomfortable film
SanDiego22 February 2000
I never heard of this film until the director for our theater company mentioned it as a possible project to adapt to live theater. I have to say when I first viewed the film I was a bit shocked for personal reasons. We have a fairly small group and if taken directly it would mean I would be playing one of the nude models. After studying the film's critiques and background I slowly came around to appreciate the film's merits, if not completely comfortable with the nudity. The point is that the nudity is not suppose to be comfortable from the audience point of view. The story takes place in an almost mystical world untarnished by outside influences and taboos. It is indeed a wonderful Eden. As an actress I had to be comfortable within the Eden created on stage, despite being uncomfortable in front of fellow "actors" and the audience. This has become one of my favorite films for helping me grow as an actress and as a member of the audience.
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8/10
A beautiful leisurely movie, it flows like a mild merlot
surfandski16 December 2002
Grab your boyfriend or girlfriend and enjoy this little erotic gem of a movie about a painter and his small commune of 'sirens' and the church envoy who is sent to investigate exactly what moves this man and what the little group is up to. Hugh Grant is very good as the uptight clergyman, and Tara Fitzgerald is wonderful as a woman experiencing sexual reawakening. Elle gives a subtle surprising performance as the chief 'siren', kudos for stocking an extra 20 pounds for this role, rubenesque an all, she looks delightful. A nice leisurely wintery afternoon watch. 7/10
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10/10
see it and be seduced!
hannahoredsson3 October 2006
God, I love this movie! I was about ten the first time I saw it and it has stuck with me ever since. It definitely makes my top five. It has a great way of telling stories of what it's like being proud outsiders, the detachment from the "normal" world, even the loneliness that follows, but also the togetherness in the little group where these "misfits" belong. The plot isn't all clear and leaves a few questions, but that merely helps the story and adds to it's mystery. It's sensual and fun and the included discussion about civilization vs. nature is off course very interesting. If you're longing to be seduced you should see it now!
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8/10
Mesmerizing, Sensual & Sexy! Provocative & Artsy!
lawrence_elliott10 March 2009
Not a bad film when you can create controversy over the beauty of the female and male body. Fortunately for this film the casting of the females and male show good taste in the human form including facial good looks. An interesting film that displays a rich and beautiful cinematography of the Australian landscape and a cast that acts out its parts well. Hugh Grant is a bit of a joke as an actor but he does an adequate job here as a cleric on a mission of wrist slapping an artist, Norman Lindsay, in his graphic painting of a naked goddess on a cross which appears sacrilegious at first glance. This is a well presented film that explores female sexuality in a variety of forms that excites and titillates. A film about self-awareness of female sexuality, it does not preach but instead depicts clearly the conflict that comes into play when religion tries to regulate "morality" and artistic merit. Good film!
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7/10
Campy fun in Austrailia
lastliberal16 March 2007
A soft-core, high-minded daydream about the liberating sensuality of art. Sometimes the sirens in the film (Elle MacPherson, Kate Fischer and Portia de Rossi are the others) tickle one another merrily, and sometimes they talk about whether sea slugs make a good aphrodisiac.

The story is based on a real artist, Norman Lindsay(Sam Neill)and there was a real Anglican priest (played by Hugh Grant) sent to convince him to withdraw his "Crucified Venus" from exhibition. The film is set on Campion's estate and features his work throughout.

It is a little wild, silly at times, and features explicit nudity and sexual situations. Perfect introduction to Hugh Grant's abilities.
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9/10
Excellent period movie
kwkid19 December 2001
An excellent period piece. Location is wonderful. Costumes realistic. Charecters believable. All in all a great movie. Hugh Grant, Tara Fitzgerald, and Portia de Rossi give excellent performances. While some may be put off by the nudity, it is tastefully done and is an integral part of the movie.
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7/10
A better movie than you may think
ccarroll16 October 2000
This movie, which in the popular imagination is a lighthearted comedy about sex with a lot of attractive women taking off their clothes, is a better movie than many may think. Viewed in a different life it's really a movie about the need we all have to feel and to be sexual. This applies particularly and especially to women, whose sexual appetitites and enjoyment of sex have always been seen negatively. This movie gives women a chance to revel in the enjoyment of sex.
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9/10
Excellent period movie
kwkid20 December 2001
An excellent period piece. Location is wonderful. Costumes realistic. Characters believable. All in all a great movie. Hugh Grant, Tara Fitzgerald, and Portia de Rossi give excellent performances. While some may be put off by the nudity, it is tastefully done and is an integral part of the movie.
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