Running barely 85 minutes including credits, Bran Nue Dae is a whisp of a musical, a brightly-colored, briskly-paced confection based on a popular Australian stage show. The songs aren't exactly the catchiest, its message of tolerance far from new, but it sure is lively while it lasts.
It's 1969 in the harbor town of Broome, and clean-cut Aborigine teen Willy (Rocky McKenzie) is torn between his mother's insistence that he become a priest and the prospect of summer love with Rosie (Jessica Mauboy). It isn't long until a real stud, cowboy crooner Lester (Dan Sultan), comes along and makes up Willy's mind for him by luring Rosie away with a singing gig in a saloon. Defeated, our young hero leaves for boarding school in Perth to study under Headmaster Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush), but once it becomes apparent that the priest has no mercy for the natives he's trying to teach, Willy hits the road, soon faced with constant trouble and temptation as he heads back home to his sweet Rosie.