My Brilliant Career
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Both actress Judy Davis and director Gillian Armstrong made a big splash on the international scene with this charming Australian film that examines late 19th century Australian society from the perspective of a headstrong woman who refuses to follow convention. The film charts the developing self-awareness of Sybylla Melvyn (Judy Davis) as she grows from an insecure tomboy to a self-assured woman. Sybylla wants to be a writer and stuns her family and friends by her insistence on following her dream. Despite the objections of her family acquaintances, she rejects the marriage proposal from the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This is a modest, clear sighted film, and it profits considerably from a lack of the bravura landscape photography that most directors would have used to puff up a movie set in Australia."
‑ John Skow, TIME Magazine
"My Brilliant Career marks the beginning of exactly that for both the film's daring, assured, high-spirited Australian director, Gillian Armstrong, and its rambunctious young star."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The continent is distant, the backdrop strange but, as American women will deduce, the problems are very familiar."
‑ , People Magazine
"A seminal part of Australian cinema, made at the end of the 70s, when local filmmaking was no longer just a wild dream; in some ways we can see a symbolic metaphor for Australia itself in the story of strong willed Sybylla aspiring to be heard"
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"My Brilliant Career is a near perfect film exploring the efforts of an independent-minded farm girl to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"This Australian film is a charming look at 19th-century rural days in general and the stirrings of self-realization and feminine liberation in the persona of a headstrong young girl who wants to go her own way."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The action and sentiments are familiar to the point of cliche, and there isn't much life in Gillian Armstrong's academic direction."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The mise-en-scene is well composed, and the story is well told in this wonderful Australian work."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A remarkably assured -- and unfailingly attractive looking -- look at the life of a young woman in 1897 Australia."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Slow but rewarding character piece that delivers its message of female emancipation with subtlety and grace."
‑ , Film4
"The period atmosphere is evoked with careful delicacy, but the characters rarely become more than stereotypes with performances (Judy Davis excepted) to match."
‑ Tom Milne, Time Out
"Armstrong's subsequent sojourn in Hollywood never yielded a film as engaging and passionately felt as this, her brilliant feature debut."
‑ Angie Errigo, Radio Times
"This charming coming of age Australian film marks the debuts of two talented women: Director Gillian Armstrong and actress Judy Davis."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Davis is charmingly cynical in the film, and Neill's a winner, but ultimately this period piece gets so caught up in its own cleverness and wannabe shock that it comes off as trite."
‑ Christopher Null,
More reviews for My Brilliant Career on Rotten Tomatoes