Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock ★★★★

Slowwwww-burn mystery done right and an early-career triumph for Peter Weir. Adapted from a novel of the same name, it is a deceptively simple outline of a story. A group of girls attending a college in 1900 venture out to nearby landmark Hanging Rock for a day trip and four of the girls disappear without explanation. At times it feels like it may lean supernatural, at others like it's headed towards true crime, but ultimately never does exit a state of dreamy in-between that can't be explained in genre terms. There must be a dozen loose threads you could drive yourself mad pulling at but it crucially lacks the definitive explanation you may find yourself craving. Running underneath it all is a potent undercurrent of same-sex desires, missed connections, and the symbolic turning literal only to be forgotten in real time just like the details of that day. Above all it's a mood piece and a damn good one.

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