#SXSW: “THE DROVER’S WIFE: THE LEGEND OF MOLLY JOHNSON”
By Amanda Gilmore
This Feature is a reimagining of the acclaimed play and Henry Lawson’s classic Short Story. The Film takes place in 1893, where Molly Johnson (Leah Purcell) struggles to raise her children while her husband is off droving sheep. When Aboriginal fugitive Yadaka (Rob Collins) lands on her doorstep a bond develops. When word breaks out that Molly’s husband is actually missing, a constable is sent to question Molly as a suspect. But things turn deadly between Molly, Yadaka and the constable which results in a tragic chain of events.
Purcell does double-duty by also directing this feature. Her landscape and close-up shots paint a picture of an unforgiving and harsh bushland setting that parallels those in charge during the period. Molly becomes a symbol for feminism and anti-racism through the plot and Purcell gives an outstanding performance. Although it drags in moments, particularly in the first act, it speeds up in the third — which is when the story delves into Molly’s revenge and the majority of the action takes place.
The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson screens at SXSW: Thursday, March 18th 3PM ET.