Beautiful Kate

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Beautiful Kate
Beautiful Kate.jpg
Directed by Rachel Ward
Produced by Bryan Brown
Leah Churchill-Brown
Screenplay by Rachel Ward
Story by Newton Thornburg (novel)
Starring Ben Mendelsohn
Bryan Brown
Maeve Dermody
Sophie Lowe
and Rachel Griffiths
Music by Tex Perkins
Murray Paterson
Cinematography Andrew Commis
Edited by Veronika Jenet
Distributed by Roadshow Entertainment
Release dates
  • 6 August 2009 (2009-08-06)
Running time
101 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget $4,300,000
Box office $1,618,490

Beautiful Kate is a 2009 Australian film directed by Rachel Ward and starring Rachel Griffiths, Bryan Brown (Ward's husband), Sophie Lowe and Ben Mendelsohn. Ward adapted the script from a 1982 novel of the same name by Newton Thornburg; this was the first novel by Thornburg used for a movie since Cutter's Way (1981). The film was shot on location in the Flinders Ranges.

The film premiered in June 2009 at the Sydney Film Festival and was released in limited release across Australia on 6 August 2009.[1]


A writer, Ned Kendall (Mendelsohn), is returning to the remote and isolated family home inhabited by his sister Sally (Griffiths), to say goodbye to his father, Bruce (Brown), who is dying. Ned also brings his fiancee, Toni (Dermody), who has trouble getting used to the isolation and harshness of rural Australia.

Ned starts reliving memories of his childhood, many involving his beautiful twin sister Kate (Lowe) and his older brother Cliff (McFarlane). These memories awaken long-buried secrets from the family's past. He begins writing, and his fiance reads that he had an awkward sexual encounter with Kate, and leaves him without giving him a chance to explain.

Kate continues to entice Ned despite his obvious revulsion, and after a drunken night out with friends, the young Ned (O'Donnel) goes for a swim in the family dam. He is joined by Kate, who seduces and subsequently has sex with him on the banks of the dam. Ned shows immediate remorse while Kate remains unperturbed.

After Ned's refusal to have further sexual relations with Kate, Kate instigates a fight between the brothers by suggesting that Ned made unwanted advances towards her. As punishment, Bruce makes Ned accompany Kate to the Christmas dance. During the dance, Ned leaves Kate, who is left to go home with Cliff. Ned leaves separately and on his way home he finds his sister's dead body in Cliff's crashed car, and then finds that Cliff has hanged himself.

Fearing that Ned will tell Bruce the truth about Kate, Sally reveals that she knew of Ned and Kate's secret. She also reveals that the car's clock stopped on impact of the crash and no one could figure out what took Kate and Cliff so long to get home from the Christmas dance. Sally speculates that Kate also had sexual relations with Cliff, who then crashed the car in which Kate dies. She tells Ned she believes that Cliff's guilt from his part in Kate's death was multiplied knowing he had committed incest. But Bruce still believes that Kate was an innocent victim, the best of his children, and she doesn't want him shattered with the truth.

Ned then makes amends with Bruce and says that he is sorry for blaming him over Cliff's suicide. He doesn't tell Bruce the truth about Kate and lets him die still believing that Kate was everything he thought she was. Before he leaves, he tells Sally that Bruce died never knowing that she (Sally) was his greatest achievement.



The film holds a 83% Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[2] Beautiful Kate received four and a half stars from both Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton on At The Movies.[3] Until the debut of the Paul Hogan-starring Charlie & Boots in early September, Beautiful Kate held the title of the largest opening weekend for an Australian title for 2009.[4]

Box Office[edit]

With an estimated budget of $4.3 million,[5] Beautiful Kate grossed $1,618,490 at the box office in Australia.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Rachel papers" by Eddie Cockrell, The Australian (23 May 2009)
  2. ^ "Beautiful Kate Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 11 August 2009. 
  3. ^ Review on At the Movies (ABC)
  4. ^ "Box office: Charlie & Boots breaks $800K" by Brendan Swift, Inside, 7 September 2009
  5. ^ IMDb (2009)
  6. ^ Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

External links[edit]