Look, there's really no excuses to not catch up on cinema right now - after all, there's literally nothing else to do. We all have a bit of extra time nowadays, so why not dive into some local flicks about Australian music? Whether you're keen on kicking it to a light hearted Aussie comedy or want to get stuck into the finer details of the lives of some of our musical icons, here's our top picks for the best Australian movies about music to get stuck into in isolation.
Everybody knows and loves this 2012 classic, but we reckon it’s time for a re-watch. Starring former Australian Idol contestant Jessica Mauboy and the IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd, it’s based on a true story about an Aboriginal girl group who were found by a talent scout, and together they perform in Vietnam for soldiers. The movie’s filled with soul classics of the 1960s - it’s the perfect choice for a Saturday night sing along. Watch it here.
Bran Nue Dae
Another Jessica Mauboy musical classic, it’s the story of how an aboriginal boy escapes boarding school, and tries to make his way back home. It’s filled with feel good original songs, many of which were made famous by the stage show, which was the basis for the movie. Missy Higgins and Dan Sultan star, both of them showing off their musical skills throughout. It’s a great watch to get your mind off everything that’s going on. You can rent it online here.
This 1994 film is about the socially inept Muriel, and the story of how she tries to turn her life around. Muriel’s favourite band is ABBA, their music fills the film. The feel good music of the band makes this a great watch, and a fun singalong. Even though this wasn’t a musical movie, its great soundtrack led it to become a popular musical, written by Australians PJ Hogan and Kate Miller-Heidke. Check it out online!
A forgotten gem from the past, Thunderstruck is about five mates who love AC/DC, and make a pact that whoever dies first will be buried by the remaining friends next to the late AC/DC frontman, Bon Scott. It stars Australian film and tv icons like Sam Worthington and Steven Curry. As you could guess, the movie is jam packed with AC/DC classics, making for a great watch when you feel like rocking out, or if you just miss the pub - and let's face it, who doesn't? Pour yourself a cold one and flick it on.
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Last year’s documentary on the late INXS frontman received worldwide acclaim. If you still haven’t caught it, now’s the perfect time. He documentary is built from a lot of previously unseen video and home footage of the Aussie sex symbol, painting the picture of his crazy life. The film is narrated by a stellar lineup; Kylie Minogue, John Farris and Bono, among others. You can watch this one for free in its entirety via ABC iView.
Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy
The 2018 documentary is based on the Cold Chisel frontman’s 2016 memoir of the same name, it is the story of how we came to know the Working Class Man. The movie is comprised of various stories from Barnsey's life, interspersed with live performances of his hit songs. We also see him joined by the other musically gifted members of his family, such as his kids David Campbell and Mahalia Barnes, as well as his brother in law, Diesel. Rent it online here.
We all know the name, now it’s time to watch the film about the Indigenous musician’s life. This documentary was produced well before the incredible singer-songwriter passed away in 2017, with Gurrumul tracing his journey as he travels the world and meets famous figures such as Barack Obama and Sting. Of course, we also get to bare witness to some breathtaking performances from the musician. His voice and musical ability will make a long lasting impact: dive in.
Recovery: The Music and The Mayhem
Recovery was a staple of early morning music TV in the '90s, and now you can go behind the scenes with this 2018 documentary. The host of the popular show, Dylan Lewis, takes us through those weird and wonderful moments the show gave us for its short run. This is a nice quick watch, perfect for those weekday nights where you're just looking for something light-hearted to escape the grind of life in isolation. Whack it on and reminisce on the glory days.
The Song Keepers
If you don’t have time to watch all the movies, just watch this. It's an amazing story of an Aboriginal Women's Choir, who travel to Germany and perform in the German language. We see many performances by the choir, who will take your breath away, and it's just a wonderful story at the end of the day. Rent it here.
Another great family watch, Goddess is the story of a woman who dreams of finding her voice when living on a farm with her family, and via webcam becomes an overnight musical sensation. It is a fun, feel good flick. It stars honorary Aussie musician Ronan Keating, so you know this’ll be a good one to watch. Check it out here.
Need some more content to dive into? Check out these 10 Aussie rock deep cuts from the '70s.