"When a great moment knocks on the door of your life," Boris Pasternak once wrote, "it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it."
Gillian Armstrong's poetic and poignant new film Oscar and Lucinda is about such a great moment in the lives of two oddballs who are destined to meet and to fill each other with delight. The director calls this romantic drama an exploration of love, faith, and chance.
Aboard an ocean liner, Oscar (Ralph Fiennes), a clergyman on the way from London to serve as a missionary in the Outback, meets Lucinda (Cate Blanchett), an heiress who owns a glass factory. Their hearts beat wildly when they realize they share a love of gambling. Inwardly, Oscar bears the burden of betraying his severe father while Lucinda carries on the legacy of her strong-spirited mother. As their relationship unspools in Australia, Oscar learns of her high regard for the Rev. Dennis Hasset (Ciaran Hinds), a clergyman who has been sent away to an isolated outpost in New South Wales. In order to prove his love for Lucinda, Oscar decides to deliver a glass church (a symbol of their mutual passions) to the exiled minister. It is a long and arduous journey that turns out to be fraught with danger.
This beautifully produced and visually stunning drama set in the Victorian era heralds the slow budding intimacy of two soulmates who cherish the inner artist and rebel in each other. With great skill and finesse, director Gillian Armstrong has brought to the screen all the sweet surprises and grace that are at the core of Peter Carey's 1988 Booker Prize-winning novel.