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.

Director:

Jennifer Kent

Writer:

Jennifer Kent
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Popularity
2,275 ( 22)
25 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Aisling Franciosi ... Clare
Michael Sheasby ... Aidan
Maya Christie Maya Christie ... Baby Brigid
Addison Christie Addison Christie ... Baby Brigid
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
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Storyline

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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

1820's Tasmania. A young Irish convict seeks revenge. 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?

Trivia

The first producer on board for the film was producer Kristina Ceyton. She had previously produced director Jennifer Kent's 'The Babadook' (2014). The pair applied for final development support from Screen Australia, and also received the inaugural 'Gender Matters: Better Deals' funding, which is part of a suite of initiatives that address the gender imbalance within the Australian screen industry. "It was an incredible privilege that we received the first Gender Matters support," said Ceyton. "Screen Australia have been pivotal in supporting female filmmakers - producers, writers, directors and other creatives - as well as supporting female stories." See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Hawkins: "It's the law" , cried the thief.
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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 »


Soundtracks

Maggie May
Traditional
Public Domain
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User Reviews

 
An Important, Brave, Honest, and Difficult Film...
2 September 2019 | by mcguiretylerSee all my reviews

The new film by Jennifer Kent is an unfiltered look at 1825 Tasmania through the eyes of an Irish convict named Claire. A horrific act of violence happens against Claire and her family which prompts her on a journey to find the perpetrator. Along the way she slowly befriends an aboriginal tracker that helps her on her journey.

This is not an easy film to watch. It contains horrific acts of violence that are terrible to watch that are consistent throughout the entire film. However, these horrific acts are necessary to show because they depict the truth in what happened in 1825 Tasmania. Jennifer Kent is very careful as to not glorify violence in any way and depicts more of the emotional impact rather than the violence itself. Many filmmakers would shy away from from depicting these events and just leaving hints as to what is happening but writer/director Jennifer Kent is brutally honest and true to the subject matter.

The lead role played by Aisling Franciosi, who plays Claire, is a truly Academy award winning performance and makes you feel like you are witnessing a real person. Along side Aisling Franciosi, is Baykali Ganambarr in his feature debut who is nonetheless astounding who plays the aboriginal tracker. The antagonist, Hawkins, who is played by Sam Claflin, is a brave and daring performance. Claflin often has to do things that many actors would never do. If nothing else, watch this movie for it's terrific performances around the board with not one weak link.

This film is beautifully shot in the backwoods of Tasmania with fantastic night scenes and an overall dreary and washed out tones. This perfectly matches the depressing nature of the script and also does so with the beautiful and haunting score. The production design is also commendable leaving you immersed in the environment. Stylistically, the film does exactly what it needs. It's not leaving you in awe of the visuals but is is using the visuals to accentuate the emotions of the characters.

At 2 hours and 16 minutes, this is very hard to sit through because it is consistently brutal and emotionally draining throughout the runtime. I would not recommend this film to those who are very sensitive but if you can stomach this one, give it a watch. Jennifer Kent has proven herself to be a talent to see. It is important to shine a light on our past so we do not forget the atrocities that humanity has committed so we cannot repeat them. This film does not let you forget the horrific events that took place in Australia and Tasmania but it shows them to you in a way that does not let you forget. This is an important film to see and if you get the chance, go see this one in theaters.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English | Irish | Aboriginal

Release Date:

29 August 2019 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Nightingale See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$35,882, 4 August 2019

Gross USA:

$400,209

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$988,687
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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