The Nightingale


The Nightingale is a brutally honest film showing the horrors of Australian invasion, set at the turn of the 19th century.

The film follows Clare, a 21-year-old native Irish wife and mother held captive beyond her 7-year sentence, desperate to be free of her obsessed master, British lieutenant Hawkins. Clare's husband Aidan intervenes with devastating consequences for all.

When British authorities fail to deliver justice, Clare pursues Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north.

Unfamiliar with the Tasmanian wilderness she enlists the help of an orphaned Aboriginal tracker Billy. Marked by their traumas, the two fight to overcome their distrust and prejudices against the backdrop of Australia's infamous 'Black War'.

Director Jennifer Kent defended her decision to show extreme depictions of rape and murder, saying that the film contains historically accurate depictions of the violence and racism that colonial power inflicted on Aboriginal people of that time.

We've made this film in collaboration with Tasmanian Aboriginal elders, and they feel it's an honest and necessary depiction of their history and a story that needs to be told.

— Jennifer Kent, Director [1]



Aisling Franciosi - Clare
Sam Claflin - Hawkins
Baykali Ganambarr - Billy
Damon Herriman - Ruse
Harry Greenwood - Jago
Ewen Leslie - Goodwin
Charlie Shotwell - Eddie
Michael Sheasby - Aidan
Matthew Sunderland - Davey
Magnolia Maymuru - Lowanna
Christopher Stollery - Major Bexley
Nathaniel Dean - Stoakes
Claire Jones - Harriet
Luke Carroll - Archie
Dallas Mugarra - Lowanna's Husband
Release dates
6 September 2018 - Venice Film Festival (world premiere)
2 August 2019 - USA (limited)
29 August 2019 - Australia
29 September 2019 - New Zealand
29 November 2019 - UK & other European countries
2018 AACTA Award Special Jury Prize (Jennifer Kent) 2019 AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress (Aisling Franciosi) 2019 AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress (Magnolia Maymuru) 2019 AACTA Award for Best Film (Jennifer Kent) 2019 AACTA Award for Best Direction (Jennifer Kent) 2019 AACTA Award for Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted (Jennifer Kent) 2019 AACTA Award for Best Casting (Nikki Barrett)
R18+ - Restricted
IFC Films (United States) and Transmission Films (Australia)
Jed Kurzel

Filmed on location in Derwent Valley and Oatlands, Tasmania.

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View article sources (1)

[1] 'Sydney Film Festival controversy as audiences walk out of The Nightingale', ABC News 19/7/2019

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, The Nightingale, <>, retrieved 22 September 2020

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