The Nostradamus Kid (1993) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Nostradamus Kid is an Aussie coming-of-age film about a kid raised as a Seventh Day Adventist who struggles to adapt to a secular world when he enters the university in Sydney, and must find his place among atheists and Presbyterians. Given his intellectual curiosity and his natural state of randiness, he is more than willing to move into a more mainstream belief system, but like the rest of us he is never able to shake his childhood faith completely. The entire "end of the world" concept is so deeply embedded in his subconscious that the Cuban Missile Crisis sends him into a tizzy, whereupon he drags his girlfriend into the interior, in search of a fallout-free zone.

Writer/director Bob Ellis is a syndicated columnist, a regular raconteur on Aussie TV chat shows, and the author of more than a dozen books.  He has acknowledged that this film is essentially an autobiography, and has offered the very specific estimate that 93% of it consists of his own life experiences. (What, no decimal points? Such imprecision.) "I had several adventures with the possibility of the end of the world. The first was during the Suez Crisis of 1956, when I thought the Bible proved cetera. The second was the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, where I took the daughter of David McNicoll to the mountains in her own father's stolen car, and found to my amazement the world hadn't ended. There wasn't a mushroom cloud over Sydney, and I had to bring her back and face down David. And I had this plan that we would marry in Broken Hill and slowly cough ourselves to death with the radiation, after long hours of making love."  

The film has the usual lessons and epiphanies of the genre, and some laughs along the way. I found myself interested in Bob's unusual youth, but I'm afraid that I'm just not as interested in his life as he seems to be. That's understandable, of course, but I still had to endure the two hours of running time along with him, and I'd have been much happier with about a 90 minute overview. Or even the Cliff's Notes. It's actually a fairly enjoyable movie, but could really have benefited from more economical storytelling. As it stands now, one must endure the author's self-centered ruminations and mental masturbation in order to experience the worthwhile insights, and he is very much in love with the sound of his own voice. (He narrates the film looking back from the present, and recites the voice-over in the sing-song tone of an undergraduate reciting poetry.)

The Nostradamus Kid DVD Miranda Otto (1993)


  • No meaningful features
  • No widescreen
  • The full-screen transfer is not bad at all.
  • Not available in Region 1. The link to the left goes to the American importer of a PAL DVD from Australia. The box says "Region 4," but it is an all-region DVD. If you play DVDs on your computer, just pop it in and play it anywhere. (If you play on a stand-alone, make sure you know what to do with a PAL disc.)



One element that eases the passage of the two hours is some modest nudity (breasts and bum) from a young Miranda Otto, the Aussie actress who would become Peter Jackson's Eowyn in Lord of the Rings. Miranda was 25 when she made The Nostradamus Kid, but looked younger and played a younger character

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C, a quirky, original, highly personal coming-of-age story that isn't a bad watch, but might have been quite a good movie if it had been paced faster, with less repetition.

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