Sirens

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Elle MacPherson Nude in the Australian Bush

Jul 31, 2000 (Updated Jun 26, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Lots of humor, some serious issues, beautiful landscapes, and tasteful nudity

Cons:Elle can't really act, but they don't call her The Body for nothing

The Bottom Line: Sirens tackles serious themes with a healthy dose of humor. This movie is a joy to watch, and not just because of Elle and her naked friends!


I went to see Sirens at the cinema when it was first released in Australia back in 1994. The cinema was jam-packed, though there were only a handful of females in the crowd. Not surprising really. Elle MacPherson is totally nude quite often in Sirens, as are the other females, Tara Fitzgerald, Portia De Rossi and Kate Fischer. But Sirens is far more than a vehicle for naked beauties.

The basic plot is fairly simple: Anthony Campion (Hugh Grant) is a young Anglican minister sent by the Bishop of Sydney to dissuade the famous, real-life painter Norman Lindsay (Sam Neill) from exhibiting a painting of a naked woman on a crucifix at a prominent Sydney gallery. Campion and his wife Estella (Tara Fitzgerald) stay with the Lindsays and their models at Lindsay's home in the stunning Blue Mountains outside Sydney for several days. While Campion makes numerous unsuccessful attempts to dissuade Lindsay from exhibiting his erotic, "blasphemous" paintings, Estella is led down the path of sexual awakening by Sheila (MacPherson) and her fellow sirens. She is unwilling at first, but quickly learns to enjoy the ride.

Lindsay is at work on his interpretation of the Greek myth of the Sirens, naked beauties who lured sailors to their death. Campion and Estella are continually confronted with the nudity and sexual liberation of the models. They are forced to re-evaluate their stuffy English attitudes by Lindsay and his willing entourage.

Grant, Neill and Fitzgerald all deliver fine performances. Elle MacPherson is not known as "The Body" for nothing, but to say that she acts well would be overly generous. Fischer and De Rossi (known to many as Nell on Ally McBeal) may not be as hot as Elle, but are much better actresses. Viewers will notice that the women actually have curves and bellies - no starving, flat-stomached waifs here! I think this is a good thing, as it shows that women don't have to starve themselves to be beautiful. After all, one of the central themes of this movie is the celebration of the beauty and power of the female.

Writer and Director John Duigan includes much imagery, some subtle, and some not so subtle, to convey a number of religious and sexual messages. His favorite is a snake that constantly slithers through Lindsay's Garden of Eden. Sharp viewers will notice that Lindsay is reading Spengler's Decline Of The West in one scene. The spectacular Blue Mountains are used to stunning effect, and several shots of Australian wildlife, such as kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and a wombat, are thrown in for good measure.

While Sirens tackles some serious themes, such as religion, censorship, and sexuality, it always does so with a healthy dose of humor. This movie is a joy to watch, and not just because of Elle!


Recommend this product? Yes

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