Rated 3.0

In Australia before and during World War II, a prim British widow (Nicole Kidman) and a virile cattle drover (Hugh Jackman) find romance while struggling against an unscrupulous rival (David Wenham). Director Baz Luhrmann and co-writers Stuart Beattie, Ronald Harwood and Richard Flanagan try for the sort of grand romantic adventure that used to be David Lean’s stock in trade (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago). But where Lean was meticulous and disciplined, Luhrmann is unruly and garish, and his movie is overlong and top-heavy with climaxes and Hollywood references. Still, it’s watchable, thanks to the presence of Kidman, Jackman and the cream of the down-under acting profession. In his kitschy way, Luhrmann delivers the goods, even when his big moments inspire tears of laughter rather than emotion.