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on January 30, 2011
I won't repeat the other rave comments about the film because I agree with them. First, though, the problem with this film is that it isn't completely true to the novel and drops important plot points. Therefore, it becomes rather obtuse. However, it's brilliant for what it is. Read the book and see the film and all your problems are solved! (And the book is so short, it won't take but a moment to read and is well worth lingering over.) The scene that I found the most moving -- one that hasn't been mentioned yet -- is the close conversation between Firth and Branagh in the pub in the village. Branagh is wilting into his beer in a private moment when Firth sees him and joins him at table. Branagh is literally incurably sad and, in a moment of raw honesty, tells Firth why. When he bemoans the futility of war medals, my heart breaks a little bit. His eyes fill with tears and so do mine.

Oh, see this film!!! But, read the book first.
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on October 11, 2013
Well-acted, however doesn't quite capture the mood of the original story. The religious significance of the book is passed over too lightly (and uncomprehendingly?); although the film does its best to portray the doomed love interest, but fails to tie this in with the tragic tone of Birkin's world-weariness and the post-war loss of spiritual being .
Still worth a look.
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on October 17, 2012
The most important point I would make about A Month in The Country is to offer my thanks: a) that it finally became avaiable on DVD; and b) that Amazon chose to carry it at all, as it is hardly mainstream material.

I saw this film in a repertory cinema when it was first released all those years ago. I always wanted to have a copy of it, but as old fashioned as it might seem, I didn't want to download it from 'wherever'. I don't know that has ever been available that way, and I hope not. For many years I Google searched for a DVD version, and then simply gave up. I don't know what made me decide to search again, but I did just recently. Thank you Amazon.

As to the movie itself, I did a quick read thru other reviews already posted here. I don't feel I can add much insight beyond that provided. As noted, it's value lies as much in capturing the early work of the three principles, as it does in the story itself. Of course no one knew at that time the career path that would follow for Firth, Branagh and Richardson. I grieve the loss of the kind of talent that Natasha Richardson possessed. We are left to be grateful for the contribution she made to films such as this. Her final scene with Firth is a compelling study of a woman, trapped in an emotionally barren and suffocating marriage, who knows that she is on the brink of falling deeply in love with another man, but cannot see her way clear to realize that vision. Her predicament is underscored by the fine performance that Patrick Malahide provides as the lifeless and wholly unlikable Reverend Keach.

Achingly beautiful indeed. I don't find they make films like this much any more. They are not 'box office hits', and their value is scarcely acknowledged as a result. How sad it is.
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on August 2, 2011
First off, the quality of the DVD transfer is quite good. Definitely worth purchasing.

Update for the Blu-ray version. The blu-ray quality is quite good. The whole of the film is brightened up and the colors, especially of the countryside, pop in 1080p, far more than the DVD transfer. Still no subtitles, but the sound quality of the BRD is better than the DVD.

As to the film. This is simply a lovely, gentle, quiet period piece. Two young war-shattered men spend summer in the country where their time facing the horrors of the trenches in WWI slowly begin to heal and fade as they spend time in this quiet Yorkshire setting.

I will not dwell on the plot details as that is one of the pleasures of this small film as the story, especially that of Mr. Birkin (Firth), unfolds.

I will say that twenty-something's Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh, looking so very young!, are both terrific in their parts. It is more Firth's film and the potential of this future multiple acting award winner shines through as he carries the heart and soul of the story.

I can go no further than to recommend this wonderful film if one wishes to see these two actors in two of their earliest roles. Both have become giants in their profession and this film certainly shows you why.
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on March 2, 2011
A Month in the Country, starring Colin Firth, Kenneth Branagh, and Natasha Richardson many a long year ago when they were young (it is Firth's second or third movie), is a poignant and deeply felt story about the shattering effects of World War I on the young Englishmen who fought in it--and also, a story about love, integrity, and different kinds of longing.

All three young actors are wonderful in it, especially Firth as Mr. Birkin.
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on August 7, 1999
It's a pity this video is out of print. I just loved it. The performances are wonderful and some images are just unforgettable.
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on August 1, 2011
This is a touching story of a young man re-entering civilian life after serving in The Great War.
Sensitive and moving, the plot shows him given no comfort nor advantage; but has him looked upon as adding to the
unemployment and poor economy as he finds work, at a rural church, in the restoration of an ancient mural.
His interaction with, and treatment by, some of the local folk is often heart-rending, and leaves one
longing for him to find a meaningful relationship with someone. Meanwhile, his association with another former
soldier, also working on church artifacts, proves to uncover the latter's darker side.
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on March 25, 2007
WW1 was called the "WAR to end all Wars" and those English chaps that survived were tagged "the living dead".With so many of their chums falling around them,those that survived often felt guilty that they had survived and often were treated as such by the countless families who had lost a son.Thus we come to A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY which concerns itself with one such young man,simply called by his last name,Birkin(an endearing Colin Firth),who has "physically" survived the War albeit with shellshock,ticks and stutters.Birken has received a commission from an ancient Yorkshire Church to uncover a 14th fresco (that has been hidden for 5oo years above the nave)) much to the Rev.J.G.Keach's consternation ( a very stern Patrick Malahide).Birkin is greeted with anything but Christian charity and compassion by the Reverend Keach,yet Birkin is there to do the job and has to accept sleeping in the Church belfry.What transpires over a summer month is a very precise and mystical transformation in Birkin's soul as he lovingly and painstakingly removes years of paint to uncover the fresco so long ago covered up.We watch Birkin's icy and troubled heart start to unthaw with every scene as he allows the warmth and kindness of those in Yorkshire,the Rector's wife(Natasha Richardson), and another War survivor/casualty working as an archaeologist at the Church,Moon(Kenneth Branagh),as more and more of the ancient painting is revealed.Even physical renewal comes to Birkin allowing the nervous ticks to disappear day after day.
This is a rare piece of filmmaking!!!! The story is about inner transformation, and much of what the viewer takes from this film is captured in the long gazes into the eyes and soul of Birkin and the his relationship with the painting.The script has minimal dialogue and much of what is uncovered is through the media of outstanding camera work coupled with music,both secular and religious. to explain what is happening inside Birkin.This is a quiet,deliberate and very pensive movie,almost best if watched in complete solitude.The film clocks in around 90 minutes,but seems so much longer in the good sense!In the USA the film is only still on vhs,but it is a marvelous print and completely worth your time and money.A PAL dvd has been released.5*'s is not sufficient to rate this haunting tale of restoration of the soul.
In conclusion,as magnificent as the short novel is, this movie actually does an amazing job at not only following the book practically verbatim,but illuminates parts of the book that could merely be described that even rivals the book itself! Now that's a rare feat!
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on August 11, 2014
The film itself is magnificent. 5 stars. One of my all time favourites. Slow and atmospheric and true to the book. I bought this copy as my old VHS version taken from the TV many years ago was showing signs of visual breakdown before I was able to copy it to disc. However this new DVD has poor sound by comparison ... hence the 3 stars. If your ear is good or you don't mind some lack of clarity in speech .... buy it! Maybe I got a poor copy?
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on December 5, 2003
The 1980s was a decade of costume dramas, with Merchant Ivory as the quality benchmark. Surprisingly perhaps, it was the Edwardian era (1900-1920-ish) that seemed to be the most popular period. Award-winning TV series Brideshead Revisited pioneered the movement but it was Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire that opened the floodgates, and suave young men in stripy blazers and floppy haircuts reigned supreme for ten years. Merchant Ivory of course pretty much cornered that market with Howard's End, Room with a View, etc. but there was no shortage of contenders to the English Costume Drama throne. A Month in the Country capitalised on the seemingly neverending demand for soft-focus costume movies, and indeed, the usual crowd of young, arty film-goers of the mid-80s, me include, lined up for tickets. The story - based on the novel of the same name - sees shell-shocked World War I survivor on an assignment to a remote (and of course idyllic) Yorkshire village to uncover a mediaeval mural in the local church. So far so good. Colin Firth puts an tastefully understated performance as the well-spoken Charles Birkin, while Kenneth Branagh, Jim Carter, Patrick Malahide, Natasha Richardson and just about every other ubiquitous British actor add their own special touches. To be brutally honest, however, nothing much really happens. Passions are thwarted, loose ends are left untied and feelings slowly simmer underneath phlegmatic British exteriors but everything remains unresolved. In short we are left with an overwhelming feeling of anti-climax. Even the drama is deliberately toned down, suggesting perhaps that Month in the Country would have come across better on television - perhaps as a series. A very nice movie, but a blockbuster this most definitely is not.
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