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Special Features » Movie Of The Month
As part of a new monthly feature here at Nicole's Magic, each month we will be taking a look back at one
of Nicole's films or acting projects. Nicole has an immense body of work behind her, and there's no better way to be
reminded of her talent and how much we love her than immersing ourselves and taking an in depth look at those works.
For the month of June, the month of Nicole's birthday, the Movie Of The Month pick is Vietnam. Although
technically not a movie, we're going to include all of Nicole's acting projects! What with June being the month
of Nicole's birthday, Vietnam seemed like a good pick as it was one of Nicole's first breakthrough roles and
undoubtedly one of the standout performances from her career. Vietnam helped to turn Nicole into a sensation
in Australia upon it's airing in 1987, and her highly emotional radio breakdown scene is remembered as one of the
early signs of her incredible talent. Vietnam is without a doubt a defining role in the career of Nicole Kidman.
Set in the 1960's to 1970's, Vietnam is an Australian TV mini-series about Australia's involvement in the Vietnam
war. On the homefront it mainly focusses on the Goddard family - Douglas (Barry Otto), Evelyn (Veronica Lang) and their
children Phil (Nicholas Eadie) and Megan (Nicole Kidman). At the age of 15, Megan is only interested in boys, hanging
out with her friends and going to parties, and has to deal with her annoying older brother Phil winding her up! When
she meets the charismatic Serge she pretends she is at University so she can go out with him.
The announcement of Australia joining the war in Vietnam rocks the family as Phil is enlisted and leaves to fight for his
His family say an emotional farewell to him. Once in Vietnam, the soldiers are pushed to their limits and beyond,
dealing with landmines, civilian casualties, capture and the other horrors of war. The war puts a massive strain on his
family back at home too - Douglas Goddard works in the Government and is involved in policy and decision making regarding
the war, which creates tension between him and his family. As Megan grows up and gets closer to Serge, she begins to
feel frustrated at not being allowed her independence at home, so runs away to Sydney where Serge is at Uni.
Much to the embarrassment of her father, Megan and her friends become publicly involved with anti-war demonstrations, and
Megan begins to challenge her father on his war policies. The family are re-united - on the surface - when Phil returns
home on leave. Once her annoying older brother, Megan and Phil are now happy to hang out with each other, and go to
a club together with friends.
But it doesn't last long, as Phil has to return to Vietnam. Megan becomes increasingly frustrated with her father up to the
point where she moves out and goes to live with Serge. Serge and Megan are key figures in anti-war and draft resistance
protests. Her parents separate, and Megan introduces her mother to her new friends involved in anti-war protests, allowing
the two to relate to each other in a new way and develop a real bond.
Meanwhile, on the frontline in Vietnam Phil is continuing to deal with endless horrors, and is seeing more of his friends
die or become injured. When he is able to come home to Australia, he doesn't make contact with his family, and for months
they are left without news of his safety.
Now an important part of the Vietnam anti-war protests, Megan is asked to take
part in a radio interview about her groups efforts. Megan is informed and assured and answers questions with confidence.
But she is rocked to her core when a man calling himself Tom calls up and immediately recognises the voice - it's her
long lost brother Phil. Megan struggles to retain her composure, and tries to defend her protests when her brother
questions her support of the troops. When he hangs up, she breaks down.
Following the end of the war, Megan and her parents are able to be civil to each other again, and have a mutual respect
for each other now.
Vietnam is a 10-part tv mini series, with each episode lasting 45 minutes. It first aired in Australia on February
23rd 1987, and ended on April 27th 1987.
Megan Goddard starts off as your typical 15 year old girl who's only interested in boys, and wants to rebel against her
parents. Megan is taller than your average 15 year old though, and she complains that no-one will ever go out with her
because she is so tall - something Nicole fans can have a little laugh about knowing that Nicole went through exactly
the same thing! But as the years pass we see a huge transformation in Megan - she goes from a superficial schoolgirl to
a passionate, free-thinking young woman who knows what she wants and believes in what she does. "Watching her, there
wasn't a dry eye in the whole country," director John Duigan said of Nicole's radio scene. Nicole's performance earned
her an Australian Film Institute award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini Series, and a Logie for Most Popular
Actress in a Single Drama or Mini Series.
The defining scene for Nicole's character in this project - the radio scene.
Tom/Phil: "I'd just like to ask Miss Goddard what she thinks of Australian troops in Vietnam"
Megan: "Umm ... I understand you were over there yourself, Tom?"
Tom/Phil: "That's right. There's a good friend of mine who's in Concord Repat Hospital this afternoon for his fifth major operation
to remove shrapnel from his spine. What would you say to him?"
Megan: "Umm ... I think that many soldiers who served in Vietnam went believing they were doing the right thing. But I think
the issues of Australian and American involvement are much clearer now."
Tom/Phil: "Well I don't give a stuff what you think, I'd just like to know what you'd say to my friend who's in a wheelchair now
because he was an Australian who believed in obeying Australian law."
Megan: "I would say ... that it's very difficult for any of us who didn't go through what you and your friend experienced over
there to um, to understand how you feel about everything. But, um, probably what you went through also makes it very
difficult for you to understand our feelings. We are not against our troops in any way! We want them safely back
because we believe that it is a brutal war ... that's not Australia's war, and that's not America's war either."
Vietnam features a host of high calibre Australian television actors. Veronica Lang, Barry Otto and Nicholas Eadie
made up the Goddard family, playing Megan's mother Evelyn, father Douglas and older brother Phil, respectively. Barry Otto
is a 5-times nominated Australian Film Institute actor, who built up a solid body of work since his debut in the mid 1970's.
He was recently seen in Australia in the small role of Administrator Allsop. Playing Evelyn is Veronica Lang, an
English actress who was a familiar face on TV screens in England and Australia from 1965. She starred in Winners
alongside Nicole in 1985, playing Alison Trig. Both Barry Otto and Veronica Lang also starred in Aussie soap A Country
Practice, in which Nicole also appeared. Playing the pivotal role of Phil, Megan's older brother who gets drafted into
the army, is Nicholas Eadie.
Megan's boyfriend Serge was played by John Polson. John Polson started out as an actor, but has recently moved behind the
camera as well, and has directed episodes of such big-name US shows such as The Good Wife, Without A Trace
and The Mentalist. He also runs the Tropfest film festival, which is the largest short film festival in the world,
and Nicole has supported this festival over the years, acting as a judge and donating money. John Polson is good friends
with Nicole's best friends Naomi Watts and Russell Crowe, and probably with Nicole too, seeing as how they are a close-knit
Casting and Filming
Being a smaller, old Australian tv mini series there are few details available around about it! The project was filmed in
New South Wales, Australia, and Phuket in Vietnam, presumably in 1986. Nicole would've been just 19 years old at the time.
Kennedy-Miller, the producers behind the show, later cast her in Dead Calm.
Release & Reception
The first episode of Vietnam aired in Australia on February 23rd 1987, and received some strong reviews from the
Australian press. Reviews praised the shows accuracy in portraying society's changing attitudes towards the war, as well
as the family dynamic and character development. "There is much to admire and little to criticize in Vietnam. Personal
relationships inside and outside the family and the shift in society's attitudes have been penetratingly and evocatively
observed. All the characters, including the South Vietnamese for once, have been given an empathetic point of view,"
wrote The Age on the day of the shows premiere. The paper added that, "The direction elicits absolutely involving
performances from a top-drawer cast who endow the piece with subtle flourishes and delightful finishing touches." In
another review a few days later, the paper highlighted Nicole and Nicholas Eadie as the strongest points within the
show - "Especially fine are Nicholas Eadie as Phil, beginning as a finely crafted ordinary bloke and ending as a man
who has experienced too much, and Nicole Kidman as the little sister who grows up. It is their relationship, brother
and sister, which holds the whole thing together." To many it is considered one of Australia's greatest television
Vietnam aired in the UK in 1988.
Jess - Nicole's portrayal of Megan is so natural and endearing, and I just love seeing how Megan develops.
The writing, acting and character development is excellent, and I love the balance between the scenes in Vietnam and
then the family back home in Australia. The scenes in Vietnam give a fascinating insight into the experiences of the men
fighting the war, and with help from the music score, it's an emotional journey. You'll want to watch all ten episodes
back to back!
Watch ... and then re-watch ... your favourite scenes, plus find some DVD extras and interviews.
These clips are all thanks to Kelly.
Clip - Megan goes off with her new boyfriend
1:31 mins | 6.58 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
Clip - Douglas sees Megan protesting on TV
1:47 mins | 7.53 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
Clip - The radio scene
3:36 mins | 14 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
View the Movie Of The Month Archives
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