Getting of Wisdom (1977) - Rotten Tomatoes

Getting of Wisdom (1977)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Based on the novel by Henry Handel Richardson, this Australian film follows the struggle of Laura (Susannah Fowle), a young girl from the outback, as she is sent from her country home to a Victorian boarding school in the city. Picked on by the snobby city girls, Laura must come to terms with her new surroundings.

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Susannah Fowle
as Laura Tweedle Rambotham
John Waters
as Rev. Shepherd
Sheila Helpmann
as Mrs. Gurley
Barry Humphries
as Rev. Strachey
Patricia Kennedy
as Miss Chapman
Julia Blake
as Isabella Shepherd
Dorothy Bradley
as Miss Hicks
Kay Eklund
as Mrs. Rambotham
Max Fairchild
as Mr. O'Donnell
Jan Friedl
as Miss Snodgrass
Diana Greentree
as Maisie Shepherd
Candy Raymond
as Miss Zielinski
Terence Donovan
as Tom Macnamara
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Critic Reviews for Getting of Wisdom

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

This is a charming, sensitive and discreet portrait of female adolescence set in turn-of-the-century Australia.

April 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Rightly regarded as one of the finest films ever made about Australian adolescents, the director Bruce Beresford's 1978 drama The Getting of Wisdom exists in a space unaffected by time

August 20, 2015 | Full Review…

In a world that's harder to like, it gives you a heroine who is often no moral peach and whose attractions are more difficult to understand.

August 15, 2019 | Full Review…

The Getting of Wisdom demonstrates the painful aspects of trying to win the approval of one's peers during adolescence.

January 29, 2004 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Getting of Wisdom


Wanting to see more of the outside world and naturally ambitious, Laura Tweedle Rambotham(Susannah Fowle) looks forward to attending boarding school in Melbourne, run by Reverend Strachey(Barry Humphries), a 'lugubrious spaniel.' That all changes the instant she gets off the train in the dress made by her postmistress mother(Kay Eklund), making her the focus of ridicule. At least her roommate Lilith(Kim Deacon) likes the candy she brought with her, even as Mrs. Gurley(Sheila Helpmann), school enforcer and holy terror, points out that having food in the room is against the rules, before listing all of them in their entirety. As occasionally as unformed as some of its subjects, "Getting of Wisdom" is still a witty and engaging look at an awkward teenager trying to fit in to school society in Victorian Australia while quietly modifying the rules to help others. It is not only her unique fashion sense that sets her apart, as she also seems to be a head shorter than everybody else.(I know everybody else makes fun of her name, but I rather like it.) Even for some of us who went through something similar in our own school years, the movie is not painful in the least to watch, except for the poor character who is accidentally hit in the nose by the cricket bat.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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