The “Smart and Rebellious” Female Oz Type: Nicole Kidman

In Vietnam (1988), an Australian TV mini series, Nicole Kidman plays a young rebellious girl, Megan Goddard. Megan revolts against her father’s conservative viewpoint of the war and his patriarchal dominance over the family’s structure. In one scene, Megan argues with her father over his his fowl treatment of her mother. Megan helps her mother gain confidence, and gain a voice against her father.  Below is a transcript of the dialogue from this scene in Vietnam. You will see the way in which Megan rebels against her father and brings female agency and empowerment  to her mother.

Douglas (Megan’s father), “That’s disgraceful…Children watching.”

Megan responds,…”Yeah, that’s right. It’s fine that it happens, just disgraceful that people might see it!”

Douglas, “I don’t condone random acts of violence.”‘

Megan, “But you refuse to see what bastards are on your side!’

Douglas, “It’s a war. Things get out of control. I don’t deny it. But that doesn’t effect the underlying moral and political issues.”

Megan, “He’s the guy you are supporting! You might as well be pulling the trigger yourself!”

Douglas, “I am not going to sit here and listen to a hysterical child that doesn’t know what she is talking about.”

Megan, “Oh run away, kill a few more before bedtime!”

Megan’s mother, ” I must say Douglas that I do think Megan has a point..I do wonder about our whole hearted support for people that do that.”

Douglas, At least the camera’s are allowed on the streets of South Vietnam. We don’t even get a chance to see what happens in the North”

Megan Mother “Ugh! Where there isn’t a level of corruption for the start”

Douglas, “And where did you read that darling? Hm? I would have thought you would have acknowledged that fact that I have a little more inside information than you reading some of the newspapers.”

Megan, “Oh go on, Put her down that’s right. Get your big jack boot and grind her into that carpet!

Megan’s mother, “Megan that’s enough!”

Douglas, “Alright, do I put you down?” (To Megan’s mother)

Mother, ” You can be very condescending towards me.”

Megan, “The way you treat her makes me throw up!”

Douglas, ” Get to your room!” (to Megan)

Douglas, “Alright, when was I condescending? (To Mother”

Mother, ” Douglas! There is no point in going through a list!”

Douglas, “Oh fine he hit me! But I can’t remember when!”

Mother, “You very rarely acknowledge that I have any intelligence at all! I’m just the kid’s mom as I am concerned!”

Douglas, “Oh not this bloody nonsense. Not again!”

Megan, “It’s not nonsense you are cruel to her!”

View this scene at: http://aso.gov.au/titles/tv/vietnam/clip3

In addition, Kidman’s “rebellious” character type can be described as revolting against the “traditional”  glamourous roles created for early soaps such as Julia in Autumn Affair (1958). Rather than having a drodgy, funny, glamourous , and traditional female type, Nicole Kidman’s melodramatic role gives female Aussies agency and independence wtihin the family. Her voice in Vietnam transfers to her mother’s empowerment, as well as female empowerment in Australian television.

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