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One Way Ticket to Sydney is a 2019 Australian-American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Ifan Barber and starring real-life couple Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban.

Plot

Alex Weathers (Nicole Kidman) is a recently-divorced middle class housewife from Suburban Melbourne, Australia. Having just sent her daughter Macy (Alycia Debnam-Carey) off to University, despite her protests of wanting to move to America to pursue her career goal of a songwriter. Alone for the first time in decades, she and her best friend Emma (Isla Fisher) decide to go to a concert of their favourite singer, Danny Hart (Keith Urban). While at the concert, Danny announces that he's split from his long-term girlfriend and is on the search for the one. Unearthing her long-time crush, Alex is determined to track down Danny, now off tour, and have them fall in love so she can finally get the happy ending she deserved; with the help of the 3 most important women in her life, Emma, Macy and her mom, Jackie (Jessica Lange).

After learning that Danny now resides in central Sydney, she purchases the four of them a one way ticket to the city, determined not to return to Melbourne until they're together. Jackie uses some connections from her youth as a dancer in Sydney and gets Danny's address, so the girls go incognito to get into Danny's inner circle.

Meanwhile, a newly-single Danny is settling into his new Sydney home with the help of his manager Kurt (Geoffrey Rush), but they're surprised by the arrival of Danny's ex girlfriend, the psychotic Claire (Rose Byrne), who's determined to win back Danny after their messy breakup where he caught her cheating. When quickly rushing away from what might become a tense confrontation, Kurt bumps into an incognito Jackie in Danny's lobby, and she quickly introduces herself as Alex's talent manager and invites him to dinner that evening.

At the dinner, Jackie claims she's a singer looking to duet with Danny. Having seen a slump in Danny's sales lately, he naively agrees and sets up a recording session. Once he leaves, an outraged Alex, who was eavesdropping a few table over with Macy and Emma, confronts her mother, telling her that she can't even sing. Jackie laughs and says that she remembers Alex singing as a child, and it's just she lost her confidence since marrying her ex-husband.

Danny kicks Claire out after an intense fight and she swears revenge on Danny for dumping her and ruining her modelling career in the process. The next morning, Kurt emails Jackie asking for the details of the original song she had implied that Alex had prepared for their duet. Stumped, Alex insists on cancelling the session, but Macy steps forward and offers Alex the song she wrote as a teen when coping with her parents' divorce. Alex initially declines, refusing to take credit for Macy's work, but Macy says she wants her mom to be happy and insists on Alex using it if it helps her find her happy ending.

As Danny heads to the recording studio, Kurt tells him about Alex and what Jackie had told him about her. Despite being excited to potentially meet someone new, Kurt is still skeptical, having not heard of Alex before. When Kurt introduces the pair, there's an instant spark. Macy, pretending to pose as her assistant, presents Danny with her song. He begins singing, and urges a shy Alex to join in. She is resistant at first, but soon overcomes her self doubt and sings her part perfectly, delighting everyone. Once everyone steps out, she gets a one-to-one moment with Danny and they share an impromptu kiss, with Danny asking Alex out on a date. She agrees to meet him at Sydney Harbour that evening at 7pm and she quickly leaves to tell her mom, daughter and Emma everything.

After they leave, Claire shows up again and Danny dismisses her, telling her he's moving on and has a date with Alex that evening. Angered, Claire sneakily swipes Danny's phone and leaves abruptly. She opens the phone and texts Alex posing as Danny, telling her to meet at 6pm instead.

Alex excitedly gets ready for her first date with the help of Jackie, Macy and Emma. When she receives the text, she panics, worrying she won't be ready in time. Jackie then reveals that she has to leave too, as she's set up a second date with Kurt. She wishes her daughter luck and leaves, Macy reveals she's going to head back to university and leaves too, happy for her mother. Emma agrees to stay and wait for Alex, just in case. As they arrive at the arranged meeting spot, Alex doesn't find Danny but Claire waiting for her. Claire tells her that Danny sent her to tell Alex the date was off as he's reunited with Claire. Devastated, Alex heads back to the hotel and has a heart-to-heart with Emma about loneliness and how she thinks she'll never get a happy ending.

Claire returns Danny's phone and tells him his plans with Alex have been cancelled due to her intervening. Angry, Danny has security removes Claire from the premises, but she swears this isn't the last he's seen of her.

Back in Melbourne after a rough trip, Alex phones Macy and tells her what happened. Back at university, a confused Macy does some digging and discovers Claire has been arrested for trespassing on Danny's property and realises that Claire has lied to Alex. She contacts Danny and tells him the situation, trying to convince him to come to Melbourne and win back Alex.

Alex gives up on her dream of being with Danny and potentially becoming a singer and returns to her job at the local travel agency. As she heads to her car after her first day back, she's shocked to find Danny standing on top of it with his guitar with Macy, smiling, sat on the bumper. Danny begins singing the song Macy wrote, dedicating it to Alex. Macy explains the entire Claire situation, and promises that Danny genuinely likes her. The pair reunite, and Danny promises an even more exciting real first date and he hands her a first class one way ticket to Sydney, along with front row tickets to his next concert, so he can sing directly to her when he performs.

At the concert, Alex is delighted, in the company of Emma and Macy. Danny then surprises Alex and brings her up on stage, introducing her as his girlfriend. Danny then insists on them performing Macy's song, Alex gives up the ghost of her anxiety and grabs a microphone, and passionately performs the song with Danny. The film ends with them sharing a passionate kiss on stage.

In a mid-credits scene, Jackie and Kurt arrive backstage after the concert, and Jackie reveals to Macy and Alex that she's engaged.

Cast

  • Nicole Kidman as Alex Weathers
  • Keith Urban as Danny Hart
  • Alycia Debnam-Carey as Macy Weathers
  • Isla Fisher as Emma Crawley
  • Rose Byrne as Claire Cassidy
  • Jessica Lange as Jackie Monroe
  • Geoffrey Rush as Kurt Russo

Reception

One Way Ticket to Sydney premiered in Sydney on January 25th 2019, and was released in theatres worldwide a week later. It received generally positive reviews from critics, with an average rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics praised the performances of Nicole Kidman and Jessica Lange particularly, with Lange achieving an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the 2019 Academy Awards.

At the box office, the film was also a success, earning a global gross of $288 million, against a $32 million budget.

Sequels

Shortly after the release of One Way Ticket to Sydney in 2019, Universal Pictures announced a sequel Return Ticket to Melbourne to be released sometime in 2020. A third film, Overnight Ferry to Auckland was also announced as being in development.

Musical

In late 2020, Keith Urban announced he was working on a musical stage adaptation set to premiere at Sydney Opera House in 2021 before transferring to Broadway in 2022. Urban confirmed he'd be writing original music for the film, as well as including Macy's Song from the original film.

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