Anzac Girls (TV Mini-Series 2014) Poster

(2014)

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8/10
First World War Story from another point of view
katherineforbes8 November 2014
A number of the reviews here have taken issue with the nurses flirting etc in the early episodes. I don't see this as being inconsistent with their roles, most of these were young women in their early twenties many of them away from home for the first time. These were the girls that would have left fairly repressive by todays standards home so the fact they may have been interested in the blokes isn't really a surprise. As the series went on all of the characters got more sad and wise as anyone in that situation would. The book The Other Anzacs is a very good read and this show follows it fairly faithfully.

I think this is worth a look if nothing else for the way Nurse Alice Ross King gives the VD lecture.
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8/10
Great period drama of WWI
magnus19417 September 2014
Have so far thoroughly enjoyed this offering of nurses serving in World War I. The emphasis on their personal lives has meant that it has not been necessary to dwell on the actual battle scenes and the horrors that entailed. Was hard to follow who was who in the first two episodes but it became a lot clearer after that. The development of the relationships over the episodes means it is a continuing story rather than just an episodic one and this has kept us waiting for the next chapter (episode). We will be sorry to see this excellent period drama end next week at episode 6. This has been a sterling effort by the producers and an ensemble cast using minimal sets and sometimes ordinary outdoor settings. The series also gives an insight to how the allied armies behaved in that conflict.
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10/10
Well done effort to convey Great War horrors
scotkruize30 June 2016
We're halfway through the Centennial of 'The Great War', which our President, back then, labeled 'The War To End All Wars'… Modelers like me, all over the world, try to recreate in miniature the technology of World War I. So many new things were introduced: giant dreadnoughts, submarines, gigantic artillery pieces, and tanks. And especially airplanes: the whole world had perhaps a few hundred of them before the war broke out. By the time it ended, over a hundred THOUSAND of them had been made and deployed in every conceivable role.

What's beyond our abilities to recreate: what these great advances in technology were used for. Rolling barrages along hundred-mile fronts; poison gas warfare; unrestricted submarine attacks on every ship on the high seas; total blockades as economic warfare raged among whole huge empires; shelling and bombing of cities far behind the front lines. Something especially new and disastrous: civilians were previously noncombatants as long as they weren't directly in the path of battling armies. But now they could now be shelled and bombed anywhere, even at home hundreds of miles away from any battlefield. Those incredible advances in technology were purchased with rivers of blood shed by millions of people. It's hard for us to even contemplate, much less understand.

But the producers of 'Anzac Girls', and the author of the book on which this series is based, at least try to convey some of this heroism and suffering.

Mobilization of all the resources of all the combatants resulted in unprecedented carnage and consequent large numbers of casualties. So the need for medical services also reached levels never before imaginable.

This miniseries tells the story of five young women from Australia and New Zealand who volunteered for nursing duty with their expeditionary forces. They were young and full of energy and idealism… and of course had no clue whatsoever what they were getting themselves into. But who did? Certainly not the fighting men they had to try to put back together, in enormous numbers, after an endless stream of battles. "I'm so sick of this bloody war!" one of the nurses blurts out, after yet another man under her care succumbs to his wounds despite her best efforts. And this is 1916. We viewers knew there were still two years to go… participants in the Great War must have thought it would never end.

These episodes are mostly drama, with a little romance creeping in here and there. With youthful hormones running in such emotionally-charged conditions, how could there not be? But the budding attachments are just as fragile as the forward tent-housed 'hospitals' the Anzac girls work at, and the war wrecks everything indiscriminately. Some of the wrecking is just psychological: strain and burnout and personal loss and trauma. But some of it is flaming physical fury: there are several horrific scenes within these episodes. One occurs at a forward casualty station. When the nurses arrive, the camp commander reassures them that the railroad marshalling yard – a legitimate military target—is easily more than a hundred yards away! A night bombing raid—with big German bombers fleetingly, terrifying visible directly overhead—show how insignificant that separation is. While cringing at the scene, you can't help but make the connection to the 'Doctors Without Borders' trying to cope with the multitude of wars we have nowadays. Each may be small compared to the Great War, but there are so many of them, and the medical personnel get bombed, along with their patients, just like back then… Over the course of the series, the nurses move around: from a decent hospital in Cairo, to an unequipped island near the Gallipoli invasion, later to the Western Front, near the Somme River valley. Watching their skilled perseverance, as they actually save large numbers of men who would certainly have died otherwise, is inspiring enough. Watching them exhibit physical and moral courage in the midst of catastrophes is almost beyond belief.

This miniseries can't be said to be enjoyable, but it's certainly well done. All the production values are high. My wife Sandy and I watch lots of dramas on PBS, but have never before seen any members of the cast of 'Anzac Girls'. It's produced with the cooperation of the national film boards of Australia and New Zealand, however, so the actors and actresses may be experienced players in the film industry there. In any case, everyone does a fine workmanlike job of portraying the drama and trauma of serving in 'The War To End All Wars'.
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4/10
Anzac drama falls short of the mark
Bert4515 January 2015
I had high hopes for this series at the beginning but those hopes were progressively dashed as it went on. Obviously a lot of money was spent on it but much more should have been spent on the script and acting. Much of it came across as wooden and forced, and seemed to be trying too hard to idolise the nurses the series portrayed, instead of showing them as real people in an extraordinary situation. By episode four, the relentless romantic interludes had become boring, and any factual or historic features in the script nearly had signposts shouting IMPORTANT HISTORIC FACT COMING UP! The anti-British message was delivered with a sledgehammer at every opportunity, as was the emphasis on how wonderful it is to be Australian. All in all, a missed opportunity, I think. It was the sort of thing that Australian television made in the 1980s - not what it should be making in 2015.
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9/10
Accurate portrayal of our Aussie diggers
lizziemcnally14 September 2014
I don't fully understand why some reviewers thought the script and dialogue was cringeworthy. I have just finished re reading and cataloguing in excess of 150 letters written to my grandma from Gallipoli, Egypt and the trenches of France during WW1, most of them from my grandfather, and several of his "cobbers". The series script echoes a lot of these letters' dialogue and terminology - taking leave in "old Blighty", referring to the enemy as "fritz", and so many Aussie terms and phrases from that era - bonzer, cobber, doing the trick, doing their bit for King and Country, kiddo, and many more. The dialogue could have been almost copied from my grandpa's letters. Loved the series.
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4/10
I'm sorry,but Anzacs warrant a far better epitaph.
ianlouisiana3 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Before Mr M Gibson became a social pariah in Hollywood he starred in "Gallipoli"which told the story of Australian and New Zealand soldiers in the Dardanelles campaign without reducing the subject to the level of an afternoon soap opera(albeit an expensive one). Sadly "Anzac Girls",presumably to catch what its makers regard as the "yoof" element piles cliché after post - "Neighbours" cliché in an attempt to dumb down a long and complex tale into "bites" its intended audience can digest without yawning and reaching for their mobiles. This is not only sad,it's downright insulting to the nurses and soldiers it portrays. There are no characters,merely caricatures,naive Aussie troops,nasty Brits ready to fight to the last drop of Aussie blood,flirty nurses that the"Carry on" team would find it hard to top. The scenes of Kensington Gore are not convincing to people weaned on "24 hours in A & E". I appear to be the first person outside of Australia to have commented on "Anzac girls" and I truly wish I could have been more positive about it. Watch "Gallipoli" instead;and weep. Literally.
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8/10
Enjoyable Australian Series
ashley_rox_907 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I have been enjoying this series and its stories show the issues with WWI. I have found the love stories interesting as they highlight how these nurses did FIND love and did LOSE love in war. It also shows the conditions that these Anzac nurses had to work in. I have been interested in the use of great actors such as John Waters and Caroline Craig. The use of young actresses are utilising the newer talent of Australia. while some may say it is "romanticising" war, it shows the perils and hardships of war. The fact it is a 6 weeks series makes it great for weekly viewing. Also allusions to great battles is very evident and very useful in people following the "timeline" Use of the first ANZAC day was very poignant and demonstrated how much the nurses/patients knew about what was going on in the war. It is a great series. Congratulations ABC.
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9/10
A wonderful Aussie production
Lizzi-J8 September 2014
An excellent series sharing the stories and experience of the amazing ANZAC nurses. Each episode has a focus on a particular nurse and her experience of the war - whether it be adventure, romance, opportunity, the depths of grief or the sheer exhaustion of nursing the wounded day after day. It provides an important insight into the essential work of these women who put their lives on the line in so many ways. I was particularly inspired by the story of Sister Olive Haynes and her great generosity of spirit, commitment to serve and big heart for all the men she cared for. Matron Wilson, too, was an exceptional woman who demonstrated inspirational leadership, compassion and determination in the face of enormous hardship and challenge. A very moving series, well acted - a great Aussie production we can be proud to watch.
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9/10
Great Miniseries
roseydosey518 April 2018
Having had two great uncles fought in World War 1, and having a great grandmother who was a nurse in France, I have to say my anticipation was not disappointed. These young actors were superb portraying the young soldiers and nurses from that war. The script is amazing. The story moves at a good pace without any boring bits.

I wanted to correct some of the misconceptions that have been expressed here. Someone mentioned the nurses flirting with the soldiers. Really, of course they would have. They were teenagers and young men and women and healthy ones at that with all the hormones of any young healthy generation. Of course they were Bible trained with good morals but temptation was always going to be a problem for them in a foreign country.

And as far as the language was concerned. I knew these people as the older generation in my life and they spoke just like that. I felt like I was watching them as youngsters. The cast did such a good job of convincing the audience that they were from a past age. I also love the way Harry read poetry. That was a great pastime for people of that time who often recited poetry as a form of entertainment to others. There was no tv or radio then. I loved this series. I think it was spot on and everyone should watch it as at least to learn about a historical bunch of brave young people facing one of the world's greatest catastrophes, the First World War. Watch it. You might just learn something about courage and perseverence. I did.
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7/10
OK, some great moments but doesn't quite hang together
FlagSteward6 June 2015
Perhaps the best bit of this is the premise, it's telling the story of WWI from an unfamiliar angle, certainly to British eyes. And there are some good moments, a great scene where they are being bombed at night, the chaos of a ward when a new batch of casualties come from the front, the hardships of trying to set up a new hospital in the early stages of the campaign, the VD class, the increasing responsibilities thrust on the nurses. Conversely there are some fails - there are still trees standing on the site of a recent battle, when they would have been shelled to splinters.

The main problem is that it comes across as very episodic - meet new soldier, talk, then he dies/falls in love - and as a result it just doesn't quite hang together as a story. I think the editing is probably the biggest problem, perhaps an extra episode or two could have given them the time to deal with the post-Gallipoli story in the same depth as the Dardanelles campaign, which would have helped. Obviously the script is a bit constrained by trying to stick to history, but they could have eg had more of the matron's story which was hinted at but not really developed. She wasn't as pretty as the nurses so gets less screen time, but perhaps would have been a better way of addressing some of the big themes. The main cast do an OK job but there's a bit too much "now look sad" that never quite convinces. Some of the supporting men put in good performances, particularly Brandon McClelland.

Overall it's OK, I almost gave up after the first 20 minutes but it was just about worth sticking with. But I'd prefer something like Our Girl if you're looking for a story of women in the military with a better narrative to hold it all together.
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6/10
Social Values Not Very Realistic
cosmax106 October 2015
My relatives grew up in this period and some were nurses. The problem I have with this show is that the flirting and eyeing up the soldiers is done with the standards of today. Women would of been far more subtle and would not make such flirtatious gestures so obvious. They were there to serve as nurses, they were not women back home going to dances. The problem with many period pieces is that they might get the costumes historically correct, furnishings, food and surroundings etc but they do not get the social values, manners, interactions between the sexes, and appropriate behavior correct. I agree with some of the other comments about the show.
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10/10
Brilliantly told and performed
nancyldraper24 November 2018
I loved this series and didn't want it to end (not the war, I was well ready for it to end, but not the acquaintances with these phenomenal women). This series is brilliantly told and performed. It is the story of five real women who served the Australian and New Zealand war effort as nurses, researched through their journals and letters, at the time. The actors fully embody their characters and win our hearts. From the fledgling excitement of their new postings to the decent into the midst of the horrors of war, their tales are told. Greg Haddrick, Executive Producer, summed up this 6 hour limited TV series rather nicely, "...after watching it you have experienced the pointlessness of war and are left with a feeling that human compassion and decency toward each other is more important than many other things in life." I can't speak highly enough of this production, it just did everything right. I give it a 10 (brilliant) out of 10. {Historical War Drama}
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9/10
Stunning history, well rendered
sergelamarche1 June 2018
History in film and miniseries, what a treat! Feeling a little bit like being there is so much more instructive. Here is history less known with an epic transformation of the women. Many behind the scene of war, scenes. Great on many levels.
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1/10
Disappointing
ynot50016 August 2014
This was a great concept and could have been a magnificent series. Unfortunately a weak script, bad dialog, poor acting and unconvincing sets/locations let the show down. The plot was shallow, full of silly, unnecessary little dramas and romance and unlikely, anachronistic behavior/reactions from characters I felt no empathy for whatsoever. From the moment the nurses stepped foot off the train they were making eyes at soldiers. I can't help but think that the minds of those nurses would be on other, more important matters than romance when arriving in an exotic country after a sheltered life back home in Australia or New Zealand but it seemed that was all one of the main characters could think about. Their interactions with each other didn't seem realistic or what would have happened. Scenes or lines which were obviously meant to be light hearted or humorous fell flat. I was cringing within five minutes of the show starting. I can't decide if the actors are bad, or whether they were just struggling with an impossible script with awful dialog.
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1/10
Disappointing
tonyfitz7774 June 2015
This is a dreadful take on a period of human history that deserved so much better. Stylised, trivial nonsense with characters that would struggle to engage the average chick-flick lover. Gallipoli was a massacre, a tragedy, and an damning indictment on the level of stupidity and cruelty of which our race is capable. We are dealing here with one of the bloodiest and most sombre episodes of the first world war (if you ever go to the place and just soak in the almost pervasive atmosphere you will know) and yet it is treated here as though it was high a school teen drama with a few mutilated soldiers thrown in for effect. Respect for the fallen? This rubbish doesn't even have respect for itself.
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3/10
awful embarrassing typical
grantelewis25 August 2014
Such a disappointment. But typical of how we do shows. More like Summer bay than Egypt. Girls eying off soldiers just as they get off the boat, Please The script is more like summer bay than a serious Drama. Such amateur scripting. Is this a draft? Although I do hope that this rubbish does not stop good drama from being attempted in the future. Nurses and soldiers wondering around a campfire. Oh my God Oh now the doctor turns out to be a sleaze. Can't wait now for the first racist. I'm sorry, really wanted to like this. Now its Gallipoli, I will give it a couple more minutes. Next week may be an improvement.I certainly hope so.
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