The Well is a 1997 Australian film, based on the novel by Elizabeth Jolley.


Pamela Rabe in The WellThe film is about a young girl named Katherine and her older friend Hester who live on an isolated farm run by Hester (Pamela Rabe) and her father Francis. Katherine works as a maid and wants to leave because there’s too much work. Hester, however, becomes attracted to Katherine and holds her there, promising to give her less work in the future. When Francis dies, Hester decides to sell the farm for cash. They move to small cottage on the edge of the farm and plan to go to Europe. But a tragic accident and the theft of their money change their plans.


Sandra Levy bought the rights to the novel and hired Laura Jones to adapt. They worked on the project for around six years then Samantha Lang became involved as director.


  • In 1997 it won three AFI Awards presented by the Australian Film Institute: Best Achievement in Production Design – Michael Philips, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Pamela Rabe and Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source – Laura Jones.
  • In 1997 it was nominated for eight AFI awards: Best Achievement in Cinematography – Mandy Walker, Best Achievement in Costume Design – Anna Borghesi, Best Achievement in Direction – Samantha Lang, Best Achievement in Editing – Dany Cooper, Best Achievement in Sound – Anne Breslin, Gethin Creagh, Bronwyn Murphy, Best Film – Sandra Levy, Best Original Music Score – Stephen Rae, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Miranda Otto.
  • In 1997 it was nominated for the Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival
  • In 1997 Pamela Rabe received best actress at the Stockholm Film Festival.
  • In 1998 it won the FCCA award presented by the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards: Best Screenplay – Adapted – Laura Jones
  • In 1998 it was nominated for three FCCA awards: Best Actor (Female) – Miranda Otto, Best Actor (Female) – Pamela Rabe and Best Cinematography – Mandy Walker

Box office

The Well grossed $393,920 at the box office in Australia.

Source: Wikipedia

Photos by Elise Lockwood


  • Pamela Rabe … Hester
  • Miranda Otto … Katherine
  • Paul Chubb … Harry Bird
  • Frank Wilson … Francis Harper
  • Steve Jacobs … Rod Bordern
  • Geneviève Lemon … Jen Bordern
  • Simon Lyndon … Abel
  • Kati Edwards … Molly
  • Luke Harrison … Bordern Child
  • Daniel Harrison … Bordern Child
  • Jennifer Kent … Marg Trinder
  • Stephen Rae … Murray Trinder
  • Cameron Shanahan … Bordern Child
  • Miles Shanahan … Bordern Child
  • Paul Caesar … Jock
  • Annalise Lise … Lover
  • Jamie McLeod … Hitchhiker