|Ladies in Black|
|Directed by||Bruce Beresford|
|Based on||The Women in Black|
by Madeleine St John
|Music by||Christopher Gordon|
|Edited by||Mark Warner|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing International|
Stage 6 Films
|20 September 2018|
Ladies in Black is a 2018 Australian comedy-drama film directed by Bruce Beresford. Starring Angourie Rice, Rachael Taylor, Julia Ormond, Ryan Corr and Shane Jacobson, the film is based on the 1993 novel The Women in Black by Madeleine St John, and tells the story of a group of department store employees in 1959 Sydney. The film was released on 20 September 2018.
Lisa is hired as a new assistant at Goode's department store in Sydney during the 1959 Christmas season. She makes friends with Fay, who is initially wary of immigrants, Patty, who seeks more attention from her husband, and Magda, an immigrant from Slovenia who introduces her to her other European friends. Patty buys a pink nightdress that gets her the attention from her husband that she seeks, but he believes that he has upset her with his attention and disappears for the season. Magda invites Lisa and Fay to a New Year's Eve party at Magda's house and introduces Fay to Rudi, a Hungarian immigrant who is looking for a wife. Lisa is introduced to Michael, the son of Hungarian immigrants to Australia. A dress Lisa wants to buy is marked down from 150 guineas to 75 guineas during the next summer sale, then later to 50 guineas.
Patty's husband returns and they reconcile when she explains that she wants his attention, and Patty soon becomes pregnant. Lisa gets honours on her school leaving exam and applies for a scholarship at Sydney University after getting the approval of her father. Rudi buys a new apartment and proposes to Fay in it. Lisa is upset that the dress she likes is no longer on display, but Magda has only hidden it away now that it has been reduced to 35 guineas, which Lisa can now afford. She buys the dress and wears it to a party celebrating her test scores. Magda says that she has picked out a location for a store where she will sell high-end fashion. Magda asks Lisa what she will do after finishing her studies at Sydney University and Lisa says that she wants to be an actress, or a poet, or a novelist, or maybe all three.
Ladies in Black was twenty years in the making, with writer-director Bruce Beresford attached to the project. Beresford and novelist Madeleine St John, who wrote the book of which the film is an adaptation, were university friends, and Beresford had promised to one day adapt her novel into film since first reading it around its original publication. In October 2017, the cast was announced, with principal production commencing that month in Sydney, Australia.
Prior to release, Ladies in Black was projected to have "a sizable opening weekend and a long run sustained by word-of-mouth and repeat business." On its opening weekend, the film earned $1,865,134 in Australia, placing second behind Johnny English Strikes Again.
Ladies in Black received generally positive reviews from critics. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 88% based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 6.88/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Ladies in Black gleans socially relevant observations from Australian history with entertaining flair, embroidering a tale that touches on immigration and female empowerment with a fashionable pizazz [sic]."
Neil Young of The Hollywood Reporter said of the film, "Ladies in Black quietly but effectively points out the seldom-stressed positives of immigration and integration, and thus deserves attention far beyond its own native shores". Jake Wilson in The Sydney Morning Herald says the period details "carry the authority of first-hand experience". Australian film critic David Stratton, writing for The Australian, wrote "Ladies in Black may be seen mistakenly as lightweight or slight; it isn't. It brims with subtext and nuance and at the same time succeeds in being a thoroughly enjoyable entertainment."
|Best Film||Sue Milliken||Nominated|
|Best Direction||Bruce Beresford||Nominated|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Julia Ormond||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Noni Hazlehurst||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography||Peter James||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Mark Warner||Nominated|
|Best Original Music Score||Christopher Gordon||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Wendy Cork||Won|
|Best Hair and Makeup||Anna Gray||Won|