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The Nightingale (2018)

2:20 | Trailer
Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.


Jennifer Kent


Jennifer Kent
1,257 ( 129)
25 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Aisling Franciosi ... Clare
Michael Sheasby ... Aidan
Maya Christie Maya Christie ... Baby Brigit
Addison Christie Addison Christie ... Baby Brigit
Claire Jones ... Harriet
Damon Herriman ... Ruse
Sam Claflin ... Hawkins
Harry Greenwood ... Jago
Eloise Winestock ... Luddy
Ewen Leslie ... Goodwin
Matthew Barker Matthew Barker ... Goodwin's Ensign
Charles McCarthy Charles McCarthy ... Convict Violinist
Ben Morton Ben Morton ... Wallace
Matthew Burton Matthew Burton ... Outpost Soldier
Terence Monro Terence Monro ... Ruse's Corporal


THE NIGHTINGALE is a meditation on the horrors of Australian colonization, set at the turn of the 19th century. The film follows Clare, a 21-year-old native Irish wife and mother held captive beyond her 7-year sentence, desperate to be free of her obsessed master, British lieutenant Hawkins. Clare's husband Aidan intervenes with devastating consequences for all. When British authorities fail to deliver justice, Clare pursues Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north. Unfamiliar with the Tasmanian wilderness she enlists the help of an orphaned Aboriginal tracker Billy. Marked by their traumas, the two fight to overcome their distrust and prejudices against the backdrop of Australia's infamous 'Black War'. Written by Mae Moreno

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Her song will not be silenced. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violent and disturbing content including rape, language throughout, and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Actress Aisling Franciosi, who played Clare, worked with a psychologist, Dr. Elaine Barrett, who took Franciosi to a Domestic Violence center to speak with the staff who work with women who have been abused, either over a period of time, or in isolated incidents. "That gave me a real insight into how these women keep going, what they feel and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that they experience," Franciosi said. "One of the things I learned at the center was that, globally, rape is a statistic that isn't going down. I was appalled and angered. Why is this still happening? Clare shows how resilient so many women are and how resilient women can be, and that was something that I felt was really important to bring to the screen truthfully and honestly." See more »


When Billy finds Uncle Charlie shot dead, he is clearly breathing. See more »


Clare: Get me to the soldiers that came by this morning.
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Crazy Credits

" Tasmanian Aboriginal culture is a living culture. The Aboriginal language used in this film is called 'Palawa kani'. It was created by current day Tasmanian Aboriginal people using records of their original languages. Aboriginal actors cast in this film are from mainland Australia. They and we pay our respects to the aboriginal people of Lutruwita (Tasmania) past and present." See more »


Dainty Davey
Public Domain
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User Reviews

A cruel punishment
24 November 2019 | by Avwillfan89See all my reviews

Two hours is a hell of a long time to sit through what is essentially, quite possibly one of the most disturbing movies of all time.

What sets this film apart from the disturbing movies labeled under "horror", is that the excessive violence (sexual, racial, gender-based, vengeful and genocidal) pretty much all throughout this film is based on real life - The Black War in 1820s Van Dieman's Land, now known as Tasmania.

Clare and Billy, the two protagonists are hated minorities in this land (An Irish female convict and a black man) who seek vengeance for the terrible crimes committed against their families and themselves. The film begs the question - how does empathy survive in such a brutal world? How do you move on after you've lost so much? And finally, does vengeance bring satisfaction?

The answers are No to the last two and Yes to the first one.

I don't know if I can recommend this. It felt like the director was subjecting her audience to a horrific punishment with this. It essentially left me traumatised. Even in the moments when a character says a funny line, it's always followed with a horrific act of violence straight afterwards.

Other than that, the acting, especially Aisling Franciosi and Baykali Ganambar, are extraordinary. I believed every second of their performances. The way it's shot, the landscape and the cinematography, is gorgeous.

Watching this was a hell of a challenge. But I'm glad I got through it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Irish | Aboriginal

Release Date:

29 August 2019 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Nightingale See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$35,882, 4 August 2019

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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