In a radio interview Ward said she got fed up of the limited and stereotyped roles for women in films and turned to writing and then film-making as a more satisfying career. She said she was attracted to making Beautiful Kate because it had the sort of roles she would have loved to have played when she was an actress.
And what great trio of roles they are: a tactless trophy girlfriend, a perceptive but overlooked stay-at-home sister and a teenage femme fatale.
Set in a remote Australian outback settlement, Ned (Ben Mendelsohn) a successful writer is returning home after 20 years absence, to see his dying father with his much-younger, trophy girlfriend Toni (Maeve Dermody) in tow.
Ned's father Bruce (Bryan Brown) is being cared for by youngest daughter. the ever-patient and good-hearted Sally (Rachel Griffiths back with her natural Australian accent). It is not a happy reunion for Ned and his father, the latter quickly seeking to criticise and belittle. Naturally Ned bristles but not only because of his father's bitter words but because the family home holds a lot of painful reminders as to why he ran away 20-years earlier.
As the story unfolds we learn that Ned had a twin sister Kate (Sophie Lowe) on whom he doted and an older brother Clifford. Kate died in a car accident and Cliff hung himself. Switching from present to past, the story of the fateful summer before his departure and his siblings deaths is told.
Tensions mount between Ned and Toni and his father. Toni abandons him but not before advising Sally that it might be just as well to leave the two men to get on with it which she does for a few days and so the scene is set, the layers of denial and blame stripped away to reveal the shocking truth.
Beautiful Kate is a simple film and an emotional tour de force about facing up to the truth, no matter how painful. It is superbly acted, gripping and moving and deserves every accolade it gets.
Rev Stan Rating 5/5
Mixed views from the professionals:
Oh dear Tim Robey in The Telegraph wasn't impressed giving it two stars saying too much was given away too soon describing it "as a pretty effortful cathartic exercise".
The Independent did like it though and gave it four stars: "Only at the end does it stumble into cliché – a bonfire of family memorabilia too facile a token of emotional leave-taking – but it never undermines the feeling that real art has gone into this picture."
Rotten Tomatoes UK gave it a rating of 86%
No Metacritic rating which means it probably hasn't been released in the States yet.