Based on the novel by Madeleine St John and directed by Bruce Beresford, this Australian movie sets the stage in Sydney, with the theme of multicultural integration and women's liberation. It put the spotlight on the female employees of a department store in the late 50s, all wearing black in accordance with the dress-code, including the 16-year old temp worker Lisa Miles (Angourie Rice), Fay Baines (Rachael Taylor) who had a hard time looking for a gentleman to love, Patty Williams (Alison McGirr) who longed to conceive although her husband was growing distant, and a Slovenian "refo" (refugee in derogatory slang) Magda Szombatheli who was seen as a stuck-up due to her sophisticated demeanor.
Lisa loved to read and dreamed of getting the university scholarship, supported by her proud mother to face the 'traditional' father. While waiting for her graduation result, she began her temporary work in the busy time of Christmas. Hardworking and bright with no prejudice, Lisa quickly became everyone's darling. Even Magda took Lisa under her wings and introduced the young girl to vibrant high-fashion views and the lively refo community, including her husband Stefan who she met in the refugee shelter. The movie went on to tell the stories of the ladies in black, their relationship with each other and their dreams.
The movie's strongest points are easily the nostalgic and feel-good atmosphere along with the likable characters. Audience would want to root for them and wish them the best. No one is unlikable save for some background characters, each only got to appear in a single scene. It's not a perfect movie, and some would find it playing on the 'safe' side of the heavy themes - if not boring. But if you're looking for a laid-back, heartwarming movie with little conflicts, 'Ladies in Black' is for you.