In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a trek across the Outback.
The true story of three Aboriginal girls of mixed race who escape from a settlement camp after being removed from their outback community has been turned into a powerful cinematic folk ballad celebrating their courage. The movie attacks the racist program of legalized kidnapping practiced by the Australian government between 1905 and 1971, in which children of mixed race were forcibly taken from their homes and prepared for integration into the general population. A story that could have been milked for horror and suspense focuses instead on the girls' amazing resilience as they undertake the 1,200-mile trek home on foot. Everlyn Sampi is radiant as 14-year-old Molly, the oldest of the three, and Kenneth Branagh cannily underplays the fiendishness of the program's self-righteous executor. — Stephen Holden
2002-11-29 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Rabbit-Proof Fence