THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Brandy McDonnell

A twisty, slow-burning thriller, “The Nightingale” is both shockingly violent and profoundly poignant as it unflinchingly counts the costs of cruelty, revenge and colonialism. The film’s blunt depictions of rape, murder and dehumanization may make it too difficult for some to watch, but for those who can bear it, the payoff is deeply moving.

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Women at Melbourne International Film Festival 2019 – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Topping off a stellar year for the work of women filmmakers at the 68th iteration of the Melbourne International Film Festival, that Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale won The Age Critics Award for the year – the festival’s most esteemed accolade – comes as little surprise. Writing in The Age newspaper (the award issuer), Australian film critic Sandra Hall wrote of Kent’s fearless sophomore feature “We found Jennifer Kent’s depiction of early 19th century Tasmania utterly convincing…the film’s portrayal and condemnation of violence against women is just as pertinent today as it was then.”

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Jennifer Kent on THE NIGHTINGALE and Witnessing Violence -Jessica Zack interviews

Sexual violence is excruciating to watch. So is any violence motivated by racism. And with her new film The Nightingale, an elemental, near-mythic 19th century revenge tale told from a woman’s perspective, Jennifer Kent wants to remind us that they absolutely should be.

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THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Martha K Baker

If The Nightingale were just about that specific time and place in history, it would signify. But it is also about timeless issues of race. class and gender. It is about a man who must humiliate himself before his superiors and, in turn, treats those beneath him like night soil. Laden with symbolism, this grim fairy tale is set in dark, deep woods, where death lurks around every moss bank.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 9, 2019: Jennifer Kent’s THE NIGHTINGALE

Beautifully filmed yet brutal to watch, Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale is a revenge drama that will resonate with any woman who’s been assaulted — or, for that matter, dismissed by society. Set in 1825 Tasmania, it follows the plight of Clare, an Irish convict who’s suffered years of abuse at the hands of a British officer and is driven by his brutality to seek brutal revenge. The Nightingale is difficult to watch, but it is most certainly a must see.

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THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

In Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, the monsters are white human males of privilege who commit horrifying atrocities in order to maintain their presumed superior status. Set in early 19th-century Tasmania, the gorgeous primordial surroundings are in stark contrast to the constant acts of ugliness and brutality primarily committed by British soldiers against convicts from England and Ireland who are constantly debased and abused. Women and native Aborigines are placed on even lower rungs, meant to serve the needs of the ruling military class.

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THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Loren King

Writer/director Jennifer Kent knows just what she wants in The Nightingale. There’s no soft-pedaling around the brutality and violence central to her story about the dehumanizing and vicious treatment of women and the indigenous people of Australia by men with power during colonization.

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THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Sheila Roberts

Jennifer Kent’s masterful writing and direction foster empathy for the plight of all the characters, both good and bad. She avoids the usual cathartic violence and exploitative storytelling tropes of revenge thrillers we’re accustomed to, and elicits strong, compelling performances. She takes an unflinching look at Colonialism — how racism and gender violence affect us, how they have always been used as weapons of war to marginalize and destabilize a vulnerable society, and why compassion is so essential.

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THE NIGHTINGALE -Review by Leslie Combemale

Chilling, haunting, bracing, repulsive, heartbreaking…these are all apt descriptors of various parts of writer/director Jennifer Kent’s sophomore feature. It may be excruciating to watch, but it is also spectacularly good, and likely to remain on the top of my best of 2019 list. But I’m not watching it again to make sure. If you are as a viewer triggered by scenes of rape, torture, and murder, move along. This is not the feminist revenge drama you’re looking for.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Jennifer Kent’s New Projects

Following The Nightingale‘s success at Venice Fillm Festival, Jennifer Kent is close to completing a new draft of the screenplay for her third feature, “Alice + Freda Forever,” based on the true story of two young women who fall in love in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1890s. The Australian filmmaker is also busy preparing a “Tiptree,” a television series based in the United States. It’s about science-fiction writer Alice Bradley Sheldon.

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