The Drovers Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson

The highly anticipated film, The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson arrives in cinemas on May 5, and just in time for Mother’s Day! A thrilling outback western revolving around a mother who will do anything for her children, described by the film’s writer, director and star Leah Purcell “It’s about love, protection, identity and the survival of family with a soul of ancient proportions.”

Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka Murri actor and writer Leah Purcell’s reimagining of the classic 1892 Henry Lawson short story began in 2014 when Leah was awarded the Balnaves Fellowship at Belvoir St Theatre and set about writing the play. In 2016, the play debuted at Belvoir to critical and audience acclaim, receiving numerous awards including the Helpmann Award for Best Play and Best New Australian Work. Since then, Leah has adapted her work into the novel and the screenplay, as well as directing and starring in the film; making The Drovers Wife the first Australian feature film with an Indigenous woman writing, directing and starring in the lead role, all whilst making her directorial and writing debut.  

Leah has repeatedly been drawn to The Drover’s Wife as a way of placing her Indigenous family’s story before a broad Australian audience. In rewriting Lawson’s colonial classic, Leah was inspired by her own lived experiences and ancestral history, and she has used the original story as a basis for her own clear-eyed reimagining through an Indigenous feminist lens, and finally giving a name to the drover’s wife.

A hauntingly beautiful film, The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is a powerful, compelling and thought-provoking experience that should be experienced on the big screen. Watch the trailer here.