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Oscar and Lucinda (1997)

In mid-1800s 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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Gillian Armstrong

Writers:

Peter Carey (novel), Laura Jones (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Fiennes ... Oscar Hopkins
Cate Blanchett ... Lucinda Leplastrier
Ciarán Hinds ... Reverend Dennis Hasset (as Ciaran Hinds)
Tom Wilkinson ... Hugh Stratton
Richard Roxburgh ... Mr. Jeffries
Clive Russell ... Theophilus
Bille Brown Bille Brown ... Percy Smith
Josephine Byrnes ... Miriam Chadwick
Barnaby Kay ... Wardley-Fish
Barry Otto ... Jimmy D'Abbs
Linda Bassett ... Betty Stratton
Geoffrey Rush ... Narrator (voice)
Polly Cheshire Polly Cheshire ... Young Lucinda
Gillian Jones Gillian Jones ... Elizabeth Leplastrier
Robert Menzies Robert Menzies ... Abel Leplastrier
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Storyline

In mid-1800s 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 M.E. Nelson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They dared to play the game of love, faith, and chance. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality, and for brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Australia | UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

31 December 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Oscar e Lucinda See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD 16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$137,163, 4 January 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,508,689, 15 March 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Goofs

In that the Pentecostal Church / Movement came into existence in 1906, it would be impossible for "Oscar" to have grown up in a "Pentecostal" home. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: In order that I exist, two gamblers, one obsessive, the other compulsive, must meet.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lost in Austen: Episode #1.3 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Motetten - Lobet die Herrn, alle Heiden, BWV 230
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Rochester Motettenchoir and Capella Fidicinia Leipzig
Courtesy of Capriccio Digital
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not all tales have happy endings
26 October 2003 | by KatharineFanaticSee all my reviews

There are many films that are so controversial yet so beautiful, they appeal to only a select number of individuals. "Oscar & Lucinda" is one such triumph. It manages to border on heresy and yet sustain profoundness. Altogether a masterful piece of work from one of my favorite directors (Armstrong also filmed "Charlotte Gray," and "Little Women"), with an absolutely stunning, star-studded (before they were "big") cast.

You simply cannot comment on the film without considering the two leading cast members. Cate Blanchett is stunning here. She was beautiful, aloof, and impressive as "Elizabeth," but her role as the uncertain yet adventurous Lucinda is extremely memorable. Note her childish transformation into womanhood -- the discovery that not all tales have happy endings, that love eventually leads to sorrow. Her scenes with Ralph Fiennes literally crackle with intensity. These are two actors who manage to convince us they're not acting. The passion and devotion put into the role gives the film it's sparkle beyond the stunning cinematography and absolutely breathtaking musical score. Ralph Fiennes is rapidly becoming one of my favorite actors. He's extremely versatile and never shies away from challenging roles, whether it's a heartless Nazi in WWII, a Cambridge professor caught up in the throes of a quiz show scandal, or the impassioned Evgene Onegin. With "Oscar" we see him literally at his finest. The appropriately-nicknamed Academy Award should have been handed to him the day this sweet little Australian film premiered. His Oscar is passionate, guilt-ridden, complex, and utterly sweet. If you're not in tears by the end, you've not managed to give your heart over to one of the most fascinating literary characters ever created.

The sub-roles are all very good (Richard Roxburg in yet ANOTHER 'villainous' lead, but no one minds his untimely demise; Cirian Hinds in the upper-crust role of a minister shocked by his lady friend's gambling habits, even Geoffrey Rush as the unseen narrorator) and lend themselves to a highly romantic atmosphere. I love a slowly unfolding, deep love story but dislike superficial attachments. In the course of this film you believe Oscar & Lucinda actually get to know one another. They're involved in a series of "narrow hits and misses," which make the ending all the more tragic. They "connect" in a way other people cannot; in a world full of round holes, two square pegs make the perfect match.

The religious aspect of this film is also highly interesting. As a Christian myself, I regard anything bordering on heresy with wary suspicion. At first glance, the film borderlines on blasphemy, as Oscar so prudently considers in a key scene ("... unless it is blasphemy to consider mortal pleasure on the level of the divine!") when comparing eternal salvation to gambling ("It's all a gamble, isn't it?"), but if you take the time to explore it more fully, there are very realistic truths tucked in with the uncertainties. Oscar eventually does find Truth and clings to his beliefs to the bitter end. The rivalry between different denominations is also notable.

Older viewers seeking enthralling but not necessarily uplifting entertainment will find "Oscar & Lucinda" an excellent way to spend a couple of hours, particularly in a group. There is one scene of sexual content that is offensive (although clothed and necessary to the plot; for my own enjoyment, I always skip this provincial scene) but otherwise the film is surprisingly light in content. But it's a movie you shouldn't enter lightly. Out of the group of friends I showed it to one weekend, two out of five found it "depressing." But the rest of us were enthralled.


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