Lilian's Story

on September 25, 1998 by Ed Scheid
   "Lilian's Story," with a script based on a novel by Kate Grenville that itself was inspired by actual events, is about the tenacity to survive. Lilian (Ruth Cracknell) is released after spending 40 years in a mental institution. Adapting to her new surroundings is difficult; her great joy is in speaking Shakespeare's verse, so she recites the Bard on the street to support the family she forms with other outcasts. Lilian gradually remembers the incidents with her stern father ("Strictly Ballroom's" Barry Otto) that lead to her incarceration. Cracknell is outstanding, showing a wide range of emotions as Lilian expresses herself through her "Sir William." In flashbacks, the young Lilian ("Muriel's Weddings'" Toni Collette) has a youthful optimism that is eventually destroyed. Jerzy Domaradzki, a Polish director working in Australia, brings a sense of discovery to this absorbing film as Lilian finds a world very different from what she remembered. As in Kieslowski's "Blue" and "The Double Life of Veronique," the cinematography of Slawomir Idziak focuses on subtle feelings found n the expressions of a woman's face. Starring Ruth Cracknell and Toni Collette. Directed by Jerzy Domaradzki. Written by Steve Wright. Produced by Marian Macgowan. No distributor set. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 96 min. Screened at Telluride.
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