Hotel Coolgardie

This wryly observed documentary is set in a tiny mining town somewhere between Kalgoorlie and Perth. Two Finnish girls on working visas, Lina and Steph, head to this remote spot for a three-month stint behind the bar of the local pub. It's a tough gig. The girls contend with drunkenness, relentless sexual advances, and a belittling, bullying boss. The booze-addled patrons rant about failed relationships and female duplicity; it seems the girls' only ally is the toothless, odorous local, Canman. The barmaids struggle to negotiate this unhealthy environment, with little by way of distraction.


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  • ★★★★★ review by Matthew Murray on Letterboxd

    Every bit as fascinating as it is terribly uncomfortable, Hotel Coolgardie offers a unique insight into the behaviour of the sexually starved, oafish men of a small Australian  mining town.

    These men are gross. The feelings of repulsion quickly give way to pity, however, as the doco slowly reveals the extent of their desperation and loneliness. That same pity then shifts straight back to repulsion ss the residents behaviour gets worse. I was genuinely fascinated by this one, though there is often an uncomfortable tension that comes with watching two young women navigate through a territory full of unashamed brutes.

    I'd definitely recommend this, as long as you can handle a little glimpse into uncivilised civilisation.

  • ★★★★ review by michail on Letterboxd

    In a sentence, I could smell the beer breath while watching this film. It was so uncomfortable to see the girls get harassed as much as they were (even though there were some really nice moments). But I think the best quality about this film is that it's so personal and up close, with seemingly invisible camerawork. A really great example example of observation documentary that made me feel like I was there with these girls on their journey. So engaging because it was just so real.

  • ★★★½ review by ReedRothchild on Letterboxd

    Hotel Coolgardie follows a pair of Finnish backpackers as they try and save up money by working as bar-staff in rural WA. That the bar happens to be THE WORST PLACE ON EARTH quickly becomes apparent. Subject to misogynistic abuse from their boss and patrons, they try their best to survive by befriending locals (many of whom are awful) and making the most of their time there. The film shows how loneliness and isolation can fuel bigotry and even though the film never condones the actions of the people of Coolgardie, it is not hard to see how they became the way they are. I was a little confused about the circumstances under which this doco was filmed as there is definitely a cameraperson but nobody acknowledges them and there are many car trips in which they are not present.

  • ★★★★ review by Andy Diep on Letterboxd

    A tip for the Australian Government: instead of spendingmillions of taxpayer money on anti-immigration online campaigns and telling everyone you're gonna stop the boats...

    Just show them Hotel Coolgardie

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