September 29, 1980 12:00 PM

There are currently two films about young women growing up in Australia—this and the far superior My Brilliant Career. Both center on a girl’s attempt to break away from her rural background, but where Career’s heroine, Judy Davis, showed the character development essential to a good drama, Susannah Fowle should have stayed down on the farm. As a stupid, willful teenager who is sent off to a finishing school in Melbourne, she’s immediately ostracized by her snooty classmates. All the predictable sequences follow—her urgent need to conform, rebellion against the school’s confinement and, in a mildly interesting aside, her infatuation with the handsome young rector of a nearby church. Though she eventually wins a scholarship to study piano in Germany, she is in the end still the same stupid, willful girl of the first frame. She’s done nothing to gain any sympathy—blame the flaccid script by Eleanor Witcombe. Australia is turning out a lot of provocative movies; this isn’t one of them. (Not rated)

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