I have given a rating of 7 as the photography of one of the least pleasant landscapes in the world is stunningly beautiful, and the slow pace of the film is engrossing, particularly the lack of contrived melodrama: e.g. Robyn almost drowning in a flash flood and falling into his arms after being rescued by Rick or gangs of angry Aboriginals threatening her after straying into their sacred lands; but the subject matter really struck a nerve. Self absorbed misfit hippy decides to walk across the Australian desert with a small herd of camels, as long as someone else coughs up the money. Why? What was she trying to prove? Her father trekked across the Kalahari - so? She did not even do it alone anyway as she had a photographer hanger on, who saw a chance to sell a big story, while he bragged non stop about his exploits in various exotic and dangerous hotspots, and Aboriginal guides for part of the way. The photographer sold the story in advance to National Geographic, who even financed a search party by plane when she got lost. Sorry, but adventure seekers willing to risk their and others' lives in order to fulfill their fantasies don't exactly get my sympathy. Exploring the unknown is one thing, but walking across a desert which has already been surveyed by air and 4-wheel drive vehicles is pointless and to my mind, simply a way to avoid a proper job. Perhaps she should have contacted the makers of hiking boots and asked them to sponsor her trip. Since Ms. Davidson's trek she has made a living by seeking out Nomads and writing travel books about her life with them, and become a darling of the environmentalists and feminists.
To be fair, I have now watched the film three times, which means that they must be doing something right, and I have not read Ms. Davidsons's book which might answer a few of my questions. I should also note that I have copies of the books by Wilfred Thesiger, an aristocratic Englishman who worked for the foreign service starting before WW2 and served in Ethopia, and Iraq, was a personal friend of crown prince Ras Tafari (Emperor Hailie Selassie) and who wrote several books about his solo treks across the desolate Danakil, and his life with the Marsh Arabs of Iraq. In his case, Mr. Thesiger was not crossing deserts to 'find himself' but because he was genuinely interested in the nomadic people who inhabited the desert and how their nomadic lifestyle has enabled them to survive for many thousands of years.
I lived in Australia for several years, including the Queensland outback, and there were many intrepid souls running sheep and cattle stations in isolated areas who seemed at peace with the isolation and did not wish or need to be in populated areas. I have not visited Western Australia but understand that it is even more isolated. Still, the undeniable fact is that 90% of Australians live in the five big cities, and another 5% or more live in small towns near the big cities. Ms. Davidson's preference for solitude may not be all that unusual.
In the early 60's I worked for the Commonwealth of Australia and we could have papered the walls with requests for funding by enthusiastic but usually inexperienced 'explorers' planning expeditions to the outback, Papua New Guinea, and sailing the around Pacific islands in everything from reproduction sailing ships to catamarans to rafts, and all hoping to write a book or sell their story to the magazines. The response was a big NO - why should the taxpayer be expected to subsidize their fun and likely have to send out a search party when they got into trouble?