I'd heard about this quintessential Australian film for years. Really good. Nice to see a young Judy Davis and Sam Neill in these strong roles.
This 1901 story shows the plight of a young woman with ambitions besides "having a baby a year," as our fore-mothers so often did, in Australia or elsewhere, until worn out. The good old days of hearty pioneer women! Or, at least, of many children sometimes by several mothers, as each wife was replaced.
Tempting to blame husbands of the time, but really, how much choice did men have? Men needed household labor! But sex and even love, family affection, and companionship were also kind of nice things in a hard pioneer life. Besides, the link between sex and pregnancy was not always understood - at least by women - certainly never discussed; birth control was crude, hard to come by, and considered immoral or irreligious; but human nature was then what it is now... a baby a year was almost inevitable. As for serial wives? Once a man had three or six kids what could he do when his wife died except replace her fast! with someone else to change diapers and feed and wash for them all? And probably produce kid # seven?
Recently, a board of American health experts studying low-cost interventions to improve women's health recommended that birth control be paid for by health insurance. Wait for that fuss!