HEARTWARMING STORY OF A VAGABOND FATHER & YOUNG DAUGHTER DUO
Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 02/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the same awesome landscape beauty of "Rain Shadow" this DVD, "The Shiralee", will touch your senses and then your emotions. Again, like "Rain Shadow", the action takes place down-under, in the Australian outback. This time the story lead is a rough Aussie bloke, rather than a female vet. Byran Brown (from the recent 2008 movie "Australia") plays "Mac" Macauley. His manner is backwoods-bush, but his performance is 5-star. He will evoke just about every emotion from hatred to love as he takes on life wildly and eventually the responsibility of a 9-year old daughter. Don't cross Mac, he packs a mean punch, often.
Lily (Noni Hazlehurst)is his true love, from first sight, but alas, do you know how hard it is to hang on to good love in the outback? Tough, like the country, like the men. Lily is tough too.
The wonderful star and joy of "the Shiralee" is Buster, the child of Mac, played by Rebecca Smart. What a great job by a young girl. Buster is the Pollyanna of the Outback. Like Dorothy of Oz, she takes on life in her own way, tough if needed, sweet often, and in love with her dad--no matter what. Her smile is as wide as the Australian bush horizon. How dare Mac consider Buster a Shiralee (burden).
What a delight to find this story on film. Acorn has done a wonderful job of presentation. OK, one negative, no English sub-titles for us blokes that can't catch all of the down-under slang and dialect. But it's not a huge problem. Use reverse if needed. It is sure not worth turning your back on this delightful and heartwarming tale of father and daughter.
It's not your normal "Father Knows Best" 40s/50s story of Dad and girl. Actually, Mac has a hard time taking care of Buster since his desire and ambition is walking the road and roaming for work and a livelihood. He takes his daughter to spite his wife, and has to learn parenthood on the road. Many time he relates to Buster miserably. At these points, Mac deserves the viewers rage and hate. Mac is just to tough on Buster, to lacking of empathy. Mac shows almost no love or tender emotion to the young child. Boo, Hiss, for the dad. Then, Buster will chew on him a bit, smile wide, and all is well for a few more dusty kilometers on the road.
Before the 3+ hours are over, you will begin to wonder why you bothered watching the nasty, beastly-dad, Mac. But don't give up, enjoy the drama, the scenery, and eventually you'll come to find out why this is a 5-STAR film, worthy of the $$$ and time.
There is absolutely no reason why someone can't write a sequel. D'Arcy Niland wrote the novel. "Siralee" (Aussie slang for "burden") leaves the viewer with their own Siralee. No more segments of hardships to overcome for this "Odd-couple road pair".
I recommend buying. Then, consider "Rain Shadow.""
M. Fuller | College Grove, Tennessee United States | 02/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've searched for this movie for years. Couldn't even get it on VHS. It's a wonderful story and Bryan Brown is at his best. M. Fuller"
NOT the Disney version
S. JAMES | 10/09/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"We bought this dvd set, remembering a sweet tale that we had seen years ago on the Disney channel (called "McCauley's Daughter"), about a tough man learning to appreciate his little daughter, as they trudged the Outback together. We were a bit puzzled by the fact that this dvd was termed a "mini-series", as we only remembered a MOVIE that seemed about 2 hours long. After only watching the first disc of the set, we got rid of the whole thing. It was so full of the "seedy" side of life, that we were dismayed to be sitting there watching it with our children. We had known that the Disney channel often edited their "nightime" movies but we didn't realize that they had edited this one so much as to take out nearly half the mini-series, thus removing half of the story!
As we found on the first disc, the story is basically this: when "Mac Macauley's" first attempt at the "love of his life" is thwarted, he joins a carnival and, finding out that his "love" is married some years later, he marries a carny girl for whom he has no regard. After leaving her and their only child alone for months at a time, he returns to find his wife is unfaithful (big suprise). He throws a hissy fit, takes their daughter, "Buster", and leaves. He begins to drag his little girl everywhere across the Outback, as he searches for work, often treating her very bitterly, and not giving a thought to the situations he puts her in. The poor little girl is reduced to a pawn in the war between two very selfish adults, as Mac and his ex try to figure out how to get revenge on each other.
We were so looking forward to getting this DVD because of what we had seen on the Disney channel, that it was quite a shock to find all of the "details" of a "seemy" life exposed. Editing can change a story quite a bit, as we found out. We LOVED the music and Australian scenery and chuckled at the feisty "Buster"; but we wish that the movie had been what we saw on the Disney channel. We could have really enjoyed it.
Very Fine Film
Mary Valentine | 10/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Saw this film when it aired in the US on Masterpiece Theater in the late 80's/early 90's. Superb performance by Brian Brown and his child co-star, Rebecca Smart. Story had so many unexpected turns while maintaining a powerful central plot. I would love to own it, so it is quite frustrating that it is not available on DVD in US format."