Movie review / ‘The Australian Dream’ (MA)

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Adam Goodes in “The Australian Dream”.

Reviewer DOUGAL MACDONALD says “The Australian Dream” is a movie we should all see. It offers mind food to help us think not about an us-and-a-them but about an all-embracing us, regardless of race, skin colour, place of birth or ancestry. 

DANIEL Gordon’s documentary illuminating AFL star and 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes is the most difficult film it was my job to review in more than half a century.

I respect and admire Adam Goodes, although I don’t give a fig for which team wins the Grand Final. And I have compassion for the plight of Australia’s indigenous population and shame for how four of my six generations of Australian forebears have treated them. 

My shame includes no personal guilt about, for example, the 1861 Cullin-La-Ringo massacres, the biggest of them all in terms of Aboriginal deaths and from which, my family history names one survivor. Forgiveness, that liberating experience of painful truth, cuts both ways, especially when it was not you who did it.

I have thought long and very hard about the Australian Constitution, the annotated Centenary text of which sits on the bookshelf before me as I write, and the growing pressure for it to recognise the first human occupants of our continent and their calls for a treaty. I have not yet heard a convincing statement of what the documents setting down the fundamentals of Australian society need to provide that is not already available, together with, I have no shame in reminding readers, considerable expense of public monies. 

Some of us whose forebears came from across the sea exhibit a prejudice against indigenous Australians that 231 years of European presence and economic development haven’t eradicated. That prejudice diminishes my respect for fellow Australians. 

So all I can tell readers about “The Australian Dream” is that we should all see it and afterward think very carefully not about an us-and-a-them but about an all-embracing us, regardless of race, skin colour, place of birth or ancestry. The film offers mind food to help us in that process.

Nor am I telling what the film tells us. You must discover that for yourself.

At Palace Electric, Dendy, Limelight and Hoyts Belconnen

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"The Australian Dream" (MA) *** and a half
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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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