The Australian Dream does a comprehensive job explaining the history of the plight of the Aboriginal People. But this is Adam Goodes’ story revisiting a significant turning point in his life and of all Australians. In 2013, during a game, Goodes was pushed off the field (typical for the game), and as he stumbled near the stand, a woman yells out, “Goodes, you’re an ape!” Rightfully incensed, Goodes confronted the fan and had security escort her out. Unbeknownst to Goodes, the woman was, in fact, a 13-year-old girl. The news and social media were ablaze. Social media questioned why Goodes was picking on a little girl, and news outlets questioned how the word, “Ape” was a racist term.
This became a publicity nightmare. To his credit, Goodes attempted to make this a healing moment. He held a press conference standing up for the girl and said he would gladly take her call to apologize. To Goodes, the important outcome of this event was peace and unity. Taking the humble approach, he says, “I believe racism is a community issue, which we all need to address and that’s why racism stops with me.” He took the moral high ground for peace, and his effort got him booed during every game and the sports broadcasters essentially calling him a whining baby. The backlash will ultimately take its toll on Goodes.
“I believe racism is a community issue, which we all need to address and that’s why racism stops with me.”
The Australian Dream stands up for its Indigenous people and a good majority of white folk comes off as amazingly racist. Some of whom sat down to be interviewed. There’s a “black-face” moment, that’s both incredible and shocking. That said, what sets this documentary apart from its U.S. counterparts is its message of peace and unity amongst all Australians and Goodes is amazingly patriotic to his homeland. It would be easy for U.S. audiences only to hear the outrage but remain deaf to its solution.
The film’s co-director Stan Grant states, “Our history is a history of violence and racism, and it’s a history of people overcoming that. People reaching across that divide.”
The Australian Dream screened at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.