Hotel Coolgardie

Directed by Pete Gleeson

Described as “a nightmare version of Cheers” (POV Magazine) and “one of the most captivating Australian documentaries in recent memory” (Cinema Australia), HOTEL COOLGARDIE is a gripping portrait of outback Australia, as experienced by two ill-fated backpackers who find themselves the latest batch of “fresh meat” to work as barmaids in a remote mining town.   Sometimes amusing, often confronting, the film has been applauded for its no-holds-barred, fly-on-the-wall storytelling, as it explores hot-button themes around misogyny and xenophobia via its depiction of two women attempting to adapt to living and working in a hyper-masculine, foreign environment.


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  • ★★★★ review by - Jacob - on Letterboxd

    A frighteningly real insight into the darker side of Australian machismo and vile misogyny. I've never experienced more cultural cringe regarding my own country (and my home state) in my whole life.

    There's a palpable sense of dread to the very simple format of the weekly title cards rolling on by, knowing that each one will be worse than the last, and seeing these women (Lina and Stephie) become more and more cornered and coerced by the men of the town. Similarly, it's deeply saddening to hear the stories that strike at the hearts of the vulnerabilities of these men, stories all too quickly covered up with mentions of violence out of fear of appearing like a "softcock".

    Hotel Coolgardie is a wonderful and dark slice of Australiana - Lina, Stephie and Pete Gleeson see pointedly into this often sinister heart.

  • ★★★★ 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

  • ★★★★½ review by Sarah Watt on Letterboxd

    Sensational documentary about young women backpackers settling to work for a few months at the titular pub in Australia's outback, and the things they have to put up with.

    Yes, the Finnish lasses had to audition for the job, and sort of know what they're getting into - but it's still breathtaking (not in a good way) as we watch the sexual harassment, well-meaning-but-inept come-ons and a climactic weekend away with a couple of the local chaps which provides the film's devastating turning point.

    Fascinating, appalling, is this "just how it is" in a small town, or part of a bigger picture we should be more concerned about? (Rhetorical.)

  • ★★★★★ review by louiseagostino on Letterboxd

    Delightful but honest, Australian fly-on-the-wall documentary focusing on a pub in the small town, Coolgardie, east of Perth.

  • ★★★★ 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.

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