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Valentine, Shmalentine – Have a Picnic Instead


I’m back baby. (lol, like you missed me.) Yes, I’m back on the Internet and, like a precariously placed 3M hook, I will attempt to stick around.

So my darlings, I know you know what this Sunday is. And I know you don’t have any plans and are looking for the perfect Movie to watch that won’t make you want to kill yourself because you don’t have any plans but also doesn’t make you seem like an anti-social shut in who scoffs and spits on the ground every time someone mentions that day.

What’s that? Oh… it’s… it’s just me? Well, too bad, you’re invested in the post now. 

Well kids, raise a glass to St. Valentine, read your Hallmark cards out loud and tie your corsets extra tight, because you’re in for a doozy.

Because what could be better for celebrating the commercialized Day of Love than a semi-horror film about young women vanishing without a trace, loaded with subtle digs at Victorian sexual repression and class struggle? Probably having a date. But that’s obviously off the table.

I give you the seminal Australian gem Picnic at Hanging Rock.

This is really THE Valentine’s Day movie of all Valentine’s Day movies (that only feature Valentine’s Day in a tangential way as a vague plot device to get all the characters into an unfamiliar place where strange, eerie things can happen).

In other words, the best use of Valentine’s Day in cinema.

Set in 1900, this movie centers itself around three students and one teacher from Mrs. Appleyard’s School who go missing during a Valentine’s Day Picnic at the mysterious natural formation Hanging Rock (which I recently found out actually exists, and now is at the top of my “Gotta Get My Ass Over There One of These Days” list) and the rippling effect that their disappearance – and especially Miranda’s disappearance, as she seems to be the only one that anyone cares about – has on the school and the nearby community.

This movie has something for everyone:

Young ladies

Girls in White Dresses (sorry, no blue satin sashes)

Refined Gentlemen

Dignified Young Dandies (and shadows, everywhere)

Clueless teachers

Clueless Teachers (with terrible accents!)

The Grand High Bitch

And the Grand High Bitch herself, Mrs. Appleyard, in all her Queen Victoria realness

Not to mention the subtle homoeroticism, gorgeous fashion, Victorian morals, palpable hysteria and Hanging rocks. It’s truly a smorgasbord.

Full disclosure time: I’ve seen this movie like three times, and every. single. time. I’ve fallen asleep. Just like the schoolgirls in the sun.

just chilling

Nothing to see here.

But I love it, for all that. It’s really about the atmosphere of the whole thing.  The dreamy etherealness The heat wavering over the frames. The sense of dread suffocating you like one of the girl’s corsets. The Pan Flutes. Oh Lord, everything for the pan flutes!

So this Valentine’s Day, curl up with your boyfriend pillow (but make sure you have a chaperon), check to see if your watch stopped exactly at 12, and get ready to be transported back the days of English colonization in Australia, when the heady streak of Her Majesty’s morality clashed with the rugged, mysterious, unforgiving wilderness of the god-forsaken rock. And make sure you’re laying down, because if you spontaneously enter the void, the fall could kill ya!

Valentine's cake

My feelings exactly, Miranda

I’ll see you soon, my dears. I promise.

Picnic at Hanging Rock is available on HuluPlus (and, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but it’s also up on YouTube, the whole thing! So there’s no excuse.)

This post first appeared on Clare The Heckler | I Make Fun Of The Films You Sh, please read the originial post: here

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Valentine, Shmalentine – Have a Picnic Instead


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