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on May 25, 2018
Wanted to like this despite all the bad reviews, but only made it through two episodes before I decided life it too short to waste on this. It's very interesting in bits and spots, but overall everyone is creepy and weird and hiding something. And how many scenes can you watch in semi-slow motion while someone looks around and ominous birds flap and fly away? I gave it two stars for Natalie Dormer & Don Hany - she has been excellent in everything she's ever been in, and I've loved him in Strike Back and Heartbeat.

If you're interested in the story, recommend the Peter Weir film or read the book instead of watching this. I'm a huge fan of Amazon Prime Originals, and they have produced some of the best series out today. But sorry, Amazon, this one is a swing and a miss.
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on June 1, 2018
There certainly seems to be a lot of hate for this miniseries but I thought it was very well done. Neither having read the book upon which it is based, nor watched the 1970's Peter Weir film, I was aware that this was the story of teenage girls at a "posh" school in the Australian Outback and the titular picnic at Hanging Rock, from which they mysteriously vanish. Going into it with relatively little information other than that, I have to say that I found it intriguing enough to binge-watch episodes 3-6, and really don't see it as deserving of all the hate it is getting.

The always-enjoyable Natalie Dormer stars as the sinister Mrs. Appleyard, a transplanted Londoner who has opened the girl's school bearing her name in the middle of nowhere. Mrs. Appleyard has many secrets and a past that may not quite be proper and pristine; certainly, it doesn't pay to cross the lady. Mrs. Appleyard is assisted at the school by a hatchet crew of volatile instructors, one of whom, highly-strung and hyper-religious Miss Lumley seems to particularly relish dishing out corporal punishment to unruly girls. As Miss Lumley, Yael Stone gives a terrifying performance as a woman consumed by her faith, yet ingratiating in her willingness to tattle on her co-workers for their perceived misdeeds. Miss Lumley functions as Mrs. Appleyard's henchwoman, and her devotion to the headmistress is almost as strong as her devotion to God. The other three instructors, Mlle. de Poitiers (Lola Bessis), Miss McCraw (Anna McGahan) and Mrs. Delange (Sibylla Budd), have their qualms about the strict discipline at the school but they all do what Mrs. Appleyard demands--up to a point. Eventually, each has her "aha" moment. The core group of girls consists of headstrong, free-spirited Miranda (Lily Sullivan), the group's reluctant leader; snooty and insecure heiress, Irma (Samara Weaving) who believes she's going to marry the very-wealthy boy next door; beautiful, aboriginal Marion (Madeleine Madden), nursing a secret and forbidden crush; whiny and petulant Edith (Ruby Rees); and young and resistant toughie, Sara (Inez Curro) who idolizes Miranda. On a picnic outing with the rest of the students, Miranda, Irma, Marion and Edith decide to explore the forbidding Hanging Rock, the subject of unsavory and unsettling legends. Most of this group, along with Miss McCraw, seems to vanish from the cliffs into thin air, and despite their best attempts, searchers come up empty-handed. As established in the story, each girl had her reasons for wanting to disappear, but the local lawmen doubt that they went willingly. Was it a supernatural occurrence or the dastardly act of an all-too-human perpetrator? The inspector in charge of the case thinks it's the latter though the further he digs into the mystery, the more obtuse it becomes. In the meantime, his prime suspect, Irma's boy next door, Mike (Harrison Gilbertson), has a surprise or two up his own sleeve.

Everyone in the large cast does a fine job with his/her assigned character. I thought Inez Curro, as Sarah, was particularly touching and, in light of her character's arc, very sympathetic, indeed. Natalie Dormer is appropriately witchy as Mrs. Appleyard; she reminded me a little of Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers in Hitchcock's classic "Rebecca". With her head held high and a deadly calm demeanor, she issues orders and demands subservience from her staff and the students, even as she endures the veiled insults of the area's wealthy residents, who doubt the backstory she's woven for them. In supporting roles, Nicholas Hope and Roslyn Gentle are effective as Mike's snobby relatives, and James Hoare, as their hired man, is also excellent. Ditto for Don Hany and Jonny Pazlovsky as, respectively, Appleyard's potential suitor and the sergeant in charge of the case.

Directors Michael Rymer, Larysa Kondracki and Amanda Brotchie do a fine job, and the hallucinatory photography is outstanding. I would have given this five stars were it not for the fact that it seems to be missing a few scenes that would go a long way towards explaining a few things without giving away the central mystery. I'm not sure if the these scenes were intentionally omittted or if they were cut in the editing room but I feel that it was a big mistake not to have included them in the finished product. I also felt the ending seemed rushed and underwhelming; it felt like the series was unfinished. All in all, I really enjoyed this creepy mystery from down under and am glad I watched it.
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on June 2, 2018
Even without comparing it to the original film or book (both were excellent), this was just unwatchable. Modern filmmakers (I guess) do not know the art of subtlety. Everything is oversold to the point of caricature. And in this case, they chose to be especially nasty. Instead of creepiness, it just feels like a show with creeps. Very disappointed.
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on June 2, 2018
Very enjoyable if you like an eclectic slow burn sort of series. Very funky, very weird and quite interesting. Reminds me a bit of Caryl Churchill's Dream Play
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on June 3, 2018
I thought this first episode was amazing. I am looking forward to watching the rest for sure. I love the music sound track. Really intersting and original and dynamic. I didnt know this was based on books or what the history is, so I am only writing based off a blank slate. Although I am aware of the white washing of history and am sadened to read some people feel this is what this series does. This review is based purely off the the first glance by someone that doesnt know the history of this story.
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on May 25, 2018
I think Natalie Dormer an excellent actress & quite frankly carries this mini-series. I really enjoy period pieces, the costumes were great & scenery was certainly beautiful, but the script lacked clear & cohesive vision. Also the young/old actors just don't seem to mesh well with each other. Sometimes conversations that are expected to be animated sound stilted instead. Too bad because I was really looking forward to this show. Still give it a go, because you may adore it, or not.
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on May 26, 2018
Well, I've watched episode one and I'm intrigued enough by the summaries of other episodes to continue. I am trying not to compare it to Peter Weir's film, although he is a favorite director of mine and his 1975 film leaves so much unsaid. Do I want the mystery solved? I'm not sure yet. It reminds me of Weir's The Last Wave with its supernatural undertones. I am also reminded of Deborah Kerr's The Innocents - a suspenseful "am I going mad?" version of A Turn of the Screw.. If you haven't seen these, give them both a try.

Finished the series. I was not impressed enough to change my rating. I really expected much more for my 3+ hours of time. Given so much extra time to extrapolate the story, it was really quite unimaginative. As soon as Miranda told Sarah the story of the wild horse that jumped into a ravine, I knew what the end would be. Sad. Such potential. That's 3 hours I can't get back.
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on May 25, 2018
Really wanted to love this, but I lost interest after the 4th episode. I am a period piece fanatic, but not so much that I can't enjoy some additional creativity and contemporary flair. I lost interest in the main characters early on except for Natalie Dormer's, Mrs. Appleyard which was the only really memorable one. But she just wasn't enough to hold the whole movie intact. The storyline also started to grow more convoluted as it progressed and I think there was supposed to be an element of mysterious indigenous superstition though it played off more like the girls were high on peyote.
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on June 2, 2018
I really wanted to love this series, even knowing the mediocre reviews going into it. The novel and original movie are among my favorites. But I just couldn’t get past the whitewashing of the character “Marion”. This is so deeply offensive to the indigenous Australians and those with indigenous ancestry. I am just appalled at the insensitivity of the series makers and shame on amazon for supporting them by buying the series.
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on May 25, 2018
First I should start by saying I haven't read the books, I've only see the original film so that is what I am comparing this to. I was so excited to see this being remade and with Natalie Dormer who I love but what a disappointment! The original did such an amazing job of being very creepy in such a minimal way. Beautifully filmed with a very eerie sound, the remake is very brightly colored and too loud for lack of a better word. It was dull, the original is slow moving but I was still scared at several points.

I suggest at least watching the first episode if you are a fan of the original but I'm not sure I recommend watching the entire series, not really worth the time.
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