Subplot: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Nearly forty years since it came out, Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock is still a visual poetry of an enigmatic kind, as fascinating as the mystic clairvoyant that is Miranda (Anne-Louise Lambert).
Princess Sara Loves Queen Miranda

During the film’s opening credits, Miranda is seen waking up to the morning fog as her roommate Sara (Margaret Nelson) approaches and opens the window, glances and smiles tenderly at Miranda, letting their room inhale the misty air. This very scene quickly establishes Sara’s devotion to Miranda, opening the window the way she opened her heart to Miranda.

This is immediately followed by a montage of the other girls at Appleyard College, an all-girls boarding school that looks more like an open secret — a haven that is bare yet so locked like a lady in a tight corset. For Sara, the college is a kingdom wherein she is the princess, and Miranda is the queen, her queen.

The name Sara means “princess,” while Miranda means “admirable.” Their names are no accident, novelist Joan Lindsay lets the characters’ names speak for themselves.



Shy and soft-spoken Sara is an orphan, at times lonely, often drifting to her own world, a kingdom so monolithic yet so secret. She rules her own kingdom until she let Miranda take over, “demoting” herself from queen to princess. Just like her name’s definition, gracious Miranda is admired — not just by Sara — by almost all of the characters in the film.

Also during the opening credits, Sara politely watches and waits until Miranda is through washing her Venus-like visage, almost like a princess-servant admiring her queen’s every detail. Then Sara hands Miranda a card in which she wrote An Ode to St. Valentine, a poem especially dedicated to Miranda. Sara would intentionally leave her Miranda poems in the ladies’ room, proclaiming her love for Miranda. Lovestruck by words, the other girls read Sara’s poem, which goes:


Meet me, love, when day is ending.
I love thee for thy highborn grace,
Thy deep and lustrous eye,
For the sweet meaning of thy brow,
And for thy bearing so high.

I love thee not because thou art fair,
Softer than down, smoother than air,
Not for the cupids that do lie
In either corner of thine eye.
Woudst thou then know what it might be?
‘Tis I love thee ’cause thou lov’st me.



Now don’t give me that bullsh*t that Sara doesn’t love Miranda in a sapphic sense. Although it is evident that Miranda sees Sara as nothing more than a little sister or a friend, Sara is obviously in love with her queen. (But it’s the Victorian era, so I don’t know if they even gave a f*ck about labels like “straight” and “lesbian.”) Miranda noticed that Sara read more into it and is head-over-heels in love with her, that’s why she told the hopeless romantic Sara:


You must love someone else apart from me, Sara, I won’t be here much longer.

Building a castle just for Miranda and Miranda only, Sara wouldn’t do as Miranda ordered her. She would cling on to every trace of Miranda she can find. Faithfully bowing down while longing for Miranda, in a facedown manner as if she is kissing her queen’s feet.



Sara would later perish, her corpse face down, her very last heartbeat yearning for Miranda…

A one-sided love story worth telling: Princess Sara will always love Queen Miranda.

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