Troy Patterson
June 04, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Oscar and Lucinda

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Gilliam Armstrong, Geoffrey Rush
director
Gillian Armstrong
genre
Romance, Drama

We gave it an A-

Oscar Hopkins (Fiennes), an Anglican priest whose pathological gambling is an extension of his religious fervor, sails to New South Wales in the mid 1800s and meets Lucinda Leplastrier (Blanchett), an heiress with a near-orgasmic passion for cards and dice. Elaborating on Peter Carey?s Booker Prize-winning novel, director Gillian Armstrong (Little Women) coaches a twitchy geekiness from Fiennes and a frisky, Pfeiffer-esque sensuality from Blanchett, lending the film more soul than the usual overcivilized period piece. I wager the tape will get shelved under Romance, a gross reduction of a love story in which chance and fate are philosophical concerns, not just tools to get lovers together.

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