My Brilliant Career

Synopsis: Sybylla Melvyn is an independent young woman who soon after arriving to live with her Grandmother Bossier and aunt Helen announces that she will never marry and plans on having a career instead. She does attracts the interest of several suitors. The bumbling Englishman Frank Hawdon has only been in Australia for three months and proposes that she return home with him as his wife. She rejects him out of hand telling her grandmother that she does not love him. Then there's her neighbor, the handsome young farmer Harry Beecham, who she is attracted to and eventually accepts his proposal. Time passes however and in the end refuses to marry him while she seeks to become a writer.
Director(s): Gillian Armstrong
Production: Westchester Films
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
100 min

"Possum Gully, Australia, 1897.

"Dear Fellow Countrymen,

'Just a few lines to let you know...

"that this story is going

to be all about me.

"So, in answer to many requests,

"here is the story of my career.

"Here is the story...

"of my career.


"brilliant career.

"I... make...

"no apology...

"for being...


"Because I am.

"I have always known...

"That I belonged...


"the world...

"of art...


Get up there!

"And the world...


"Literature and music,


"And the world...

"of culture...

"and elegance.


Go on, then. Take that

in the house for Mother.

Go on!

Get in the house!


Secure the windows!


Get out here!

I'm coming!

Sybylla, I want to have

a talk with you.

Talk away.

You're a young woman now,


I have been thinking about this

a great deal.

We can't afford to keep you

any longer.

Do you think you could

earn your own living?

Of course.

And how would you do that?

I'd like to be a pianist.

Oh, Sybylla.

That takes years of practice.

You know we can't afford it. You've

thought of something already, haven't you?

I've arranged a position for you.

A position?

As a general servant.


I won't.

We have no choice.

You just want to get rid of me.

I must do what I feel is right!

Oh, I prayed to God

for guidance.

And this is what

he told you to do?

God be damned!

It's a wonder God didn't

strike her dead at my feet.

Same as all your damned family.

Delusions of grandeur.

To have such a daughter-

useless, plain and godless.

What can I do?

I want to do great things, Gertie,

not be a servant.

I hate this life.

Should never have left

the mountains.

It's not Father's fault.

You can't blame him for the drought.

Gertie, don't you ever dream

there's more to life than this?

Don't you want to meet people

who talk about books and words...

and have visions?

Gertie, I can't settle

for a new dress,

a picnic now and then.

Living out in the bush for the rest of my life,

I might just as well be dead.

Don't say things like that.

Well, why doesn't Mother


Why doesn't anyone?

I think you're the nicest, cleverest girl

in the whole entire world.

I'm not.

I'm mad.

It'd be better if I didn't think at all.

It's no use for me.

I've no training, no money.

I haven't any time

to study or practice.

Just two states of existence-

work and sleep.


Sybylla, why do you never answer

when I call?

I want you to fetch your father.

It's all right.

I'll do it.

Looking for your dad, are ya?

Just missed him.

Left with the schoolmaster.

Blind leading the blind!

As usual!

Come on.

Hup! Hup! Come on.

I've had a letter

from your grandmother.

You'd better read it!

Says she's sorry to hear you're such

a source of grief and annoyance...

and thinks you might be in danger

of forming ties beneath you here.

Oh, Syb, you're to go

to Gran at Caddagat!


Good day! Good day, Jack! How are ya?

Go on.

Good day, Bill!

Good day, Jack.

Had a good trip?

Fine, Bill, just fine.

Not a bad run at all.

I say, driver.

Yes, sir?

I believe Mrs. Bossier's granddaughter was

supposed to have been on the coach. Oh! That's me!

Thank you, Jack.

- Hello.

- Miss Melvyn?

Yes. Where's Uncle J.J.?

Um, he's away.

On business.

I'm Frank Hawden.

- What are you?

- Ajackaroo.

That's poetry.


Thank you.

See you next week, then.


Bye-bye, Jack!

Bye, missy.

Go on.


You're a new chum,

aren't you? Certainly not.

I've been in the colony

well over three months. Oh.

Still wet behind the ears.

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Miles Franklin

Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, known as Miles Franklin (14 October 1879 – 19 September 1954) was an Australian writer and feminist who is best known for her novel My Brilliant Career, published by Blackwoods of Edinburgh in 1901. While she wrote throughout her life, her other major literary success, All That Swagger, was not published until 1936. She was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature, and she actively pursued this goal by supporting writers, literary journals, and writers' organisations. She has had a long-lasting impact on Australian literary life through her endowment of a major annual prize for literature about "Australian Life in any of its phases", the Miles Franklin Award. Her impact was further recognised in 2013 with the creation of the Stella Prize, awarded annually for the best work of literature by an Australian woman. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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