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THE ROAD FROM COORAIN

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An extraordinary coming-of-age story set in the vast Australian outback

Born in the 1930s on a remote sheep ranch in New South Wales, Jill Ker learns early to love the untamable land—and the allure of books. While her brothers attend boarding school, she stays at Coorain, working beside her beloved father and learning from Eve, her strong-willed mother. Theirs is a stoic family, but years of drought take their toll on Coorain and on the Kers. Jill endures several family tragedies, growing into a young woman of passion and ambition. But Eve buckles under the weight of grief, inspiring her daughter to break free and find her own way.

Winner of numerous awards, this visually lush, emotionally compelling drama is based on the celebrated memoir by historian Jill Ker Conway. Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply) delivers an “invariably superb” (The Hollywood Reporter) performance as Eve. Also starring Katherine Slattery (Young Lions), Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge!), and Tim Guinee (Sweet Land).


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Juliet Stevenson, Richard Roxburgh, Katherine Slattery, Tim Guinee, John Howard
  • Directors: Brendan Maher
  • Writers: Jill Ker Conway, Sue Smith
  • Producers: Penny Chapman, Rebecca Eaton, Richard Clendinnen, Tim Pye
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002V3AM8Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,712 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "THE ROAD FROM COORAIN" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This Masterpiece Theater film, based on a true story, is wonderfully told. Jill Ker's life in Australia, her relationship with her strong mother, and the tragedies they face are emotionally drawing. I think Masterpiece did a wonderful job and this has also encouraged me to read more of Jill KerConway's memoirs.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I think this is a wonderful adaptation of a wonderful novel. The acting is superb. The cinematography exquisite. Juliet Stevenson and Tim Guinee are extraordinary. It is well worth your time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on January 14, 2010
Format: DVD
Coorain: Aboriginal meaning is "windy place." Intellectual, feminist, historian, writer Jill Ker Conway's bestselling memoir "The Road From Coorain" is dramatized, never capable to equaling the book, but in it's own way, becoming an informative, Outback-drawing, powerful coming-of-age rendition of this remarkable lady's life. Conway recognized the winds of the Aussie Outback as being something like Van Gogh's swirling painted suns. This movie provides a stark background to swirling emotions and family relationships that turned a child in a lonely location into a remarkable scholar. An overcomer.

The story of Jill Ker (Katherine Slattery-"Young Lions") begins more about her mom Eve (Juliet Stevenson-"Truly,Madly, Deeply"). Evelyn Mary Ker began Jill on book-learning as a distraction while lancing her boil. Mom's a tough lady, plus loving, determined to make a life on a 30,000 acre arid sheep ranch. Drought and wars took it's toll on family, lives, and success eventually leading school in Sydney. There is tragedy.

Jill's determination, as rugged as the God-forsaken grassland of remote New South Wales, presses her drive toward exceptional scholarship in history. With Jill's increasing intellectual success comes a more demanding mother. Eve is also reliant on alcohol. Will a dysfunctional home end Jill's future success? Of course if you know the story of Jill Ker Conway you know the answer, if not the means. Will Jill be Outback-content or seek other books to learn from in other world places? Of course there is the up & down of romance in both the Ker women's lives.

A great story of a solitary child, abiding an emotionally-defendant mother, enraptured with knowledge, and experimentally free with life. A feminist without the intent to be such. A natural Queen of women.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Smith on August 31, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The movie differs in significant ways from the superb autobiography by author. in the book the affair between Jill & Alec is between 2 unmarried people. Alec is determined to marry in his faith - he is not a married man. The couple find they are approaching a decision to marry or not - given Jill's agnosticism it is not going to work.

In the movie Alec is portrayed as a married man with wife & 2 children. Gratuitous sex is thrown in to sell the DVD. Jill discovers she cannot rob other children of a father even though Alec proposes to divorce & come to Boston.

The acting is excellent and the scenery breathtaking but the book takes one on a journey of the soul. One of the book's themes explores Jill's discovery of her martyrdom to her mother's illness with Alec's insights. Sadly the DVD takes Jill Ker Conway, former President of Smith College, on roads she never traveled.
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When a movie declares itself to be based on a true story or a book--fiction, memoir or history--it would be more truthful if the producers declared it was 'inspired by'. Granted that a work of fiction can be truer to the sense of a story than a fact-based account, when script writers get there hands on a story the original is often hard to recognize in the finished product.

Aside from the sweeping vista of salt-bush shown over the opening credits, a few shots of sheep, and a grassy track of road one gets the sense that most of this movie was shot on the backlot of some movie studio. An evocation of the windy outback which gives Coorain its name is largely missing. The storyline centres on interior shots of Jill and her Mother Eve. Her father who died when she was 11, (was it suicide), and her brothers are minor players in the story. A brother who died of snake-bite is dropped from the piece entirely. Uncle Angus, her Mother's brother (?) appears irregularly at meals and Alec (Conway), an American entrepreneur, figures prominently in the final third in some rather torrid love scenes.

What is made clear is the fact that this is a Man's world even though the story features two very strong women. The boys are sent off to boarding school, Jill is educated at home by her Mother. Her Mother may be the more astute business woman but Bill, her Father is deferred to while he lives and later her brother Bobby, who by his own admission is no station manager, is sent to run Coorain. A strong attachment to the land and identification with it is embedded in this family's psyche.
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