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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | October 24, 2021

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The Beautiful Lie - A Modern Tolstoy

The Beautiful Lie – A Modern Tolstoy

| On 24, Nov 2015

Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Modern Australian setting. Intrigued?

The Beautiful Lie, the latest entry into the lucrative Australian television market, examined the contemporary struggles and temptations born out of everyday life of three interconnecting families.

The ABC six part mini-series sees Sarah Snook as the central character Anna Ivin, a retired tennis star. Snook is memorizing, wearing the weight of the world in a single shift of her eyes and heartbreak in a forced smile.

Alice Bell (The Slap 2011, Puberty Blues 2012–) and Jonathan Gavin (Offspring 2010–) penned this re-imagining of Tolstoy’s doomed Anna Karenina.The creative decision to use sporting legends connects deep with the Australian psyche and quenches the thirst for relatable characters and local stories. Anna was living the perfect life – a loving husband (Rodger Corser), a beautiful child and a privileged lifestyle. However it became apparent to the audience that perfection is an illusion for uncertainty. Benedict Samuel’s Skeet complicates matters, meeting Anna under circumstances that force an instantaneous bond between the characters. Youthful, unpredictable and totally devoted to her, Anna found herself experiencing the opposite of her home-life and gave into the fantasy of a relationship that seemingly echoed the nature of ‘soul mates’.

However Snook’s narration reminded audiences that this story of passion was also one of heartbreak and tragedy. A fleeting moment between two people that initially shone brightly but then dissipated, similar to the light flare special effects utilised.

“Love is just like people. Love is born, it grows, it changes, it dies.” – Anna Ivin.


The Beautiful Lie-Image 1


Directed by Glendyn Ivin and Peter Salmon and produced by the Australian powerhouse team of John Edwards and Imogen Banks (Tangle 2009–, Offspring, Puberty Blues), The Beautiful Lie brought operatic filmmaking to the Australian catalogue.

Shot on location in Melbourne, the traditional, stain-glassed architecture combined with the modernity of urbanisation was the perfect setting to symbolise the coming together of two different literary worlds.

The cast included some of Australia’s most acclaimed stars. Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate 2009) portrayed joy and calamity in the same beat as Kitty. Celia Pacquola, Daniel Henshall, Alexander England, Dan Wyllie, Catherine McClements, Robert Menzies and Gina Riley round out the captivating ensemble.

Supported by Film Victoria’s Victorian Drama & Comedy Initiative, The Beautiful Lie proved a beautiful story and high-end drama could be made on a budget.

Image Credits: ABC Media