“As Miss Quested, Judy Davis has none of the bloom that she had in My Brilliant Career; she's pale and a trace remote--repression has given her a slightly slugged quality about the eyes. But she's still very attractive in Western terms. Her broad-brimmed hats and virginal, straight-cut dresses are simple and uncoquettish. You like watching her--she has an unusual physical quiet, and her mouth is very expressive (despite the brick-colored lipstick she wears throughout). And it's clear that India represents her first chance to live. She longs for adventure, though she's frightened of it. And she's drawn to Dr. Azia, though she doesn't know how to get closer to him. So it isn't until the trial that we register that to the Indians she looks tall, flat-chested, and sexually undesirable. To them the charge of attempted rape is something of an insult to Dr. Aziz's taste. All along, there's a lascivious fear that runs through the proper behavior of the British--a fear of India's voluptuous erotic traditions…. [see what's left out, and then see how it also might make more sense to leave some of the preceding out] …. Judy Davis's performance is close to perfection; her last scene (in England) is a little skewed, but that's no more than a flyspeck. [I liked it.] Despite her moment of hysteria, this Miss Quested is a heroically honest figure who, in testifying as she does at the trial, escapes being raped of her soul by Ronny and the British colonial community.
“As Mrs. Moore, Peggy Ashcroft comes through with a piece of transcendent acting. She has to, because Mrs. Moore is meant to be a saint, a sage, a woman in tune with the secrets of eternity….”
The New Yorker, January 14, 1985
State of the Art, pp 302-303
[check over review?]