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777 Ratings

Top of the Lake

Directed by Jane Campion, Garth Davis
New Zealand, Australia, 2013
Crime, Drama, Mystery


A 12-year-old girl stands chest deep in a frozen lake. She is five months pregnant, and won’t say who the father is. Then she disappears. So begins a haunting mystery that consumes a community.

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Top of the Lake Directed by Jane Campion, Garth Davis

Awards & Festivals

BAFTA Awards

2014 | 2 nominations including: Best Director Fiction (Television)

Screen Actors Guild Awards

2014 | 2 nominations including: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Golden Globes (USA)

2014 | Winner: Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

2014 | Nominee: Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

It’s not quite auteurist TV a la Twin Peaks, so it doesn’t fill that (rumbling) void — Campion directed most but not all of it. So we’ve just had two episodes directed by Garth Davis. It’s all beautifully photographed by Adam Arkapaw, reminding me of the first True Detective in its landscape work. But you do notice the difference when Campion’s not at the tiller. The shots cut together less fluidly, the changes in shot size are less intelligible.
September 27, 2017
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Mullan’s performance channels incredible sensitivity in this moment, letting the audience in to feel his sadness for his lost daughter, but not letting viewers deep enough to truly understand why. Images of his self-flagellation and brutal retaliation showcase his dangerous instability, and only Sam Peckinpah has ever come close to capturing the dangers and insecurities of masculinity as well as Campion on screen. Both position the force of masculinity as incredibly alluring but inherently toxic.
June 30, 2016
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Top of the Lake is far warier [than Happey Valley and The Fall] of the authority of institutions, suggesting that Griffin and Tui are best off depending on themselves. As a result, of the three shows it best reflects contemporary feminist critiques of the inherent paternalism of law enforcement and the deployment of the police against marginalized communities and those who resist the establishment.
April 20, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • Addy K.'s rating of the film Top of the Lake

    A lovingly crafted homage to Scandinavian Noir and David Lynch, TOP OF THE LAKE is impressive and ridiculous all at the same time. When you're not curious about by the disgusting secrets of a sleepy town in New Zealand, you're probably laughing at Holly Hunter as GJ, a spiritual teacher in a bad wig who hams it up with such zingers: "Stop. Stop thinking" and "What are these crazy bitches doing?" Welcome to Paradise.

  • J. O.'s rating of the film Top of the Lake

    Set in a hauntingly beautiful rural New Zealand, this mini-series features a cast of bizarre, despicable, but ultimately interesting characters weaving stories of violence and mystery. Despite the mystery being thin (disguised as complex), it was photographed incredibly well and the performances were outstanding. That is, except for Moss' accent - please, never again, Australia. Just cast one of your own.

  • OFF_FRAME's rating of the film Top of the Lake

    Thoroughly engaging for the first 4 eps, the writing goes awry in the 5th and 6th with character choice pushed to the background to serve a plot bordering on the preposterous that finally redeems itself in the finale. Unique characters flesh out a vibrant world that would have done well to leave 'guitar girl' the forest sex and the belt slapping (ala Boardwalk Empire) on the cutting room floor. 3 stars

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film Top of the Lake

    Holly Hunter does some more hair acting (See 'Saving Grace'). Elisabeth Moss stops being annoying (See 'Mad Men'). Peter Mullan is powerful as usual (See 'My Name is Joe'). The script isn't great, but I thought it got much better towards the end. I really liked the characters and the setting and wanted it to come back for another season.

  • ig_____or's rating of the film Top of the Lake

    Hauntingly beautiful. Jane Campion, Gerard Lee and Garth Davis put together an amazing little story set in this tainted paradise called Laketop, in New Zealand. Elisabeth Moss is incredible and her role as Robin complemented by a nice supporting cast. It was so sad to see the similarities between Robin and Tui unfold throughout the 7 episodes. Glad this is coming back for another season.

  • Kyle Lewis's rating of the film Top of the Lake

    Great to see Elizabeth Moss get a lead role. Campion brings out the best in all her performers. Especially Peter Mullen at his sleazy best.

  • revelintheview's rating of the film Top of the Lake

    Really, really solid. I love that the "mystery" is pretty evident from the very first episode. This is a story from a female perspective, and so of course the most interesting tensions result from the central character having to push through various walls of overt systemic and interpersonal misogyny that try to convince her and the people around her that her instincts are incorrect. A nice subversion of the genre.

  • Jacques de Villiers's rating of the film Top of the Lake

    This is a perfect example of what long form filmmaking can achieve. I'm still reeling from how well the narrative parts are put together. The writing nails its themes with laser precision, while never sacrificing dramatic complexity or being less than emotionally compelling. Performances are outstanding, Elisabeth Moss's wobbly accent notwithstanding, and the use of location approaches the best of Herzog's work.

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