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Lilian's Story


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DVD 1-Disc Version
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Editorial Reviews

Lilian's Story is an Australian film based on a novel by Kate Grenville, which was inspired by the life of Bea Miles, a famous Sydney nonconformist. Toni Collette won the Australian Film Institute award for supporting actress for her performance as the young Lilian in this film. The film was also nominated for best score.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Toni Collette, Barry Otto, Ruth Cracknell, John Flaus, Jeff Truman
  • Directors: Jerzy Domaradzki
  • Writers: Kate Grenville, Steve Wright
  • Producers: David Court, Jeremy Bean, Marian Macgowan, Mike Wilcox
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Vanguard Cinema
  • DVD Release Date: June 27, 2000
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1892649462
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,386 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lilian's Story" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R Bruce Kehl on June 17, 2002
Format: DVD
As a former psychotherapist, it's appealing to view a film that doesn't try to "diagnose," but rather simply tells the story of a heroine who sought to surface through harsh parental abuse and family secrets over the course of 60 years.
If those reading this review intimately knew the tenuousness of life on the street or beach, in an institution of any kind, you would feel a tug of familiarity in this film. Although I'd not rate it as a great film, it's going to touch many if not most of us where it counts. Although I don't know the true story of this woman, I know that the struggle to both survive through the tangled psychological jungle of the human heart and spirit is well exemplified here. Although the quality of sound (what there is of it) and picture is very poor (the worst I've ever experienced on DVD), it's a salute to the story and the filmmaker that many times I felt moved by the journey this woman took ... to haltingly restore herself from horrendous abuse, some of which is only hinted at over the first 20 odd years of her life.
Reminescent of Shine, Slingblade, Joe Gould's Secret, The Fisher King, Breaking the Waves and other films about marginalized imbalanced people, this film retains a core of truth and courage beyond what any of us should have to bear as children and young adults.
Too bad the DVD quality positively stinks, for it does dislodge the viewer from focussing on fine performances in a fine film. Although the heroine's style seems somewhat stilted at times, I'm content to recommend this flick as wholly plausible given its context. I think it's good enough to own and watch again...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Maley on June 13, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
i purchased this dvd for my best friend who has been trying to buy it for a number of years. i finally found it on your site. she has watched it 3 times since it arrived and is thrilled with the film. it was every thing she wanted it to be. i now have a very happy friend. thanks for the follow up. i will definately use your site again. regards, cathy
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Peter Shelley on June 30, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This adaptation by Steve Wright of the Kate Grenville novel directed by Jerzy Domaradzki is a misfire. Using ideas from Janet Frame's story of An Angel at my Table (which was memorably filmed by Jane Campion) and also the Australian urban legend of Bea Miles, this tale of a girl imprisoned for 40 years in an asylum and released as a new actress has great gothic potential, but the best the director can do is use European tints in the lighting and add a melodramatic score. And don't even get me started on the politically correct dreamtime ending! One ponders why Grenville herself did not do the screenplay. As it is, the division of screen time between Ruth Cracknell as the modern Lilian and Toni Collette as the young Lilian, mixes the tone, and things aren't helped by the actors not matching up well. Of the two, Collette is the more successful with her mute retarded vulnerability, allowing Domaradzki to shoot her naked, and the scene of her being chased by a black dog on the beach is probably the closest to the Grenville we want. Playing 3 roles - the father in both time frames and Lilian's brother- Barry Otto gives the best performance, controlling his usual mannered style and using it for character, and as the brother is given a soft sounding tuba as metaphor for his ineffectualness. (His father unfortunately gets lines like "You tight steamy little vixen"). However, Cracknell is doing a great lady of the stage condescending to make a movie, and gets an unintentional laugh when she says she opposes "posturing, posing and affectation".Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By nelly123 on October 2, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I would recommend anyone who loves ruth cracknell it is a wonderful story I found it to be very entertaining and the actors are fantastic
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Format: DVD
This is a wistful story set in urban Australia in the 1970s, a time when atttudes to mental health were different to the present. Lillian. Lillian's childhood was dominated by her rigid, abusive father who belittles her extremely and belts her from an early age. He has her put in an assylum run by thugs where she spends forty years. The film mostly covers the periods before and after the assylum. On her release she receives scarcely any rehabilitation. Her life is however now much better than her childhood to which there are flashbacks. She has many adventures, mostly mild, such as busking as a reciter of Shakespeare. The itinerant life is more possible in warmer parts of the world.
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