If you're looking for a film with any sort of real substance of originality, this one isn't for you. It's a throwback to all the things we've already seen in the movies; romance, melodrama, comedy, high-falutin' adventure, all of it over-the-top. Baz Luhrmann embraces the cliches but is sure to add a bit of his own eccentric twists as well (the kangaroo scene is a gasser!).
Hugh Jackman stands out in a role that allows him to give the most layered and nuanced performance of the picture. Kidman expectedly overacts, but not intolerable effect. Newcomer Brandon Waters more than holds his own with these two superstars.
The editing is a bit choppy and the camera work a bit too showy at times (not that it isn't beautiful). You can clearly tell what's being bluescreened and what hasn't, but that's a minor quibble. Catherine Martin's sets are indeed terrific
More jaded critics than I would complain about the length and the ending, but I can't find it in my heart to do so. I found that I really cared about the characters by the film's end, and not once did I find it boring, which is no small feat for a 2 hour and 45 minute picture.
I can see a handful of craft nominations (cinematography, art direction, costume design, etc.) but nothing beyond that. It doesn't have the reviews, the box office potential, nor the insider connections to make a big impact in the major awards. But that's probably for the best. This isn't the sort of movie that's meant to receive prestigeous accolades - it is what it is.
*** out of ****