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The Getting of Wisdom

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The Getting of Wisdom (1980)

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There is hope, there is hurt . . . there is loneliness, there is love . . . there is wanting and there is joy in . . . The Getting of Wisdom

Flowering inside a perfectly ordinary girl is a totally extraordiry woman.

The Getting of Wisdom is a 1977[2] Australian film directed by Bruce Beresford and based on the 1910 novel by the same name by Henry Handel Richardson.

The film is set in 1890s Victoria, when Laura (Susannah Fowle) enters an exclusive Melbourne ladies' college based on Presbyterian Ladies' College. The film follows her struggle for acceptance, conformity, romance, friendship and achievement over the next four years. The lesbian overtones between two school girls are obvious in the film, more so than in Richardson’s novel.

It also starred Barry Humphries, John Waters and Terence Donovan, and featured early career appearances by Kerry Armstrong, Sigrid Thornton, Noni Hazlehurst, Maggie Kirkpatrick and Julia Blake.

A musical theme runs through the story, with piano works by Beethoven, Schubert and Thalberg played by Sarah Grunstein

The Getting of Wisdom grossed $982,000 at the box office in Australia,[4] which is equivalent to $4,517,200 in 2009 dollars.

The suffocating repressiveness of the Victorian era is superbly realized by director Bruce Beresford in The Getting of Wisdom. Thirteen-year-old Laura (Susannah Fowle), an incorrigible free spirit from the Australian outback, is enrolled in a prestigious girl's boarding school. The indoctrination process is a rough one, and Laura very nearly loses her individuality and sense of self-worth. When she does mature, however, it is on her terms, and not the school's. Intriguingly, The Getting of Wisdom is based on the reminiscences of a 19th-century female writer who used the pen name of Henry Handel Richardson. Despite its somber dramatic overtones, the film contains moments of uninhibited humor, a trademark of director Beresford.


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