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A VILLAGE AFFAIR

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Based on the bestselling novel by Joanna Trollope

Recently returned to England from New York City, vivacious heiress Clodagh Unwin befriends a couple new to her village. The husband is entranced by the young aristocrat, but Clodagh has eyes for someone else: his wife, Alice.

Alice has a gilded life--beautiful children, a handsome husband, and a stately home. Secretly, she’s depressed after the birth of her third child and unhappy in her marriage. Clodagh proves irresistible. But when tongues start wagging, the women learn that love might not be enough.

Based on the bestselling novel by Joanna Trollope (Friday Nights, The Rector’s Wife) and filmed in picturesque countryside, this British production stars Sophie Ward (The Shell Seekers), Kerry Fox (Welcome to Sarajevo), Nathaniel Parker (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries), Jeremy Northam (Emma, The Tudors), Michael Gough (Batman), and Claire Bloom, with a young Keira Knightley in one of her first screen roles.

DVD FEATURES INCLUDE cast filmographies and Joanna Trollope biography.

Amazon.com

Some people, like Sophie Ward's Alice Jordan, seem to have it all: picture-perfect house, handsome husband (Nathaniel Parker, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries), and charming children (Keira Knightley plays her daughter). Soon after she and Martin, an attorney, move back to his village, however, her mother-in-law, Cecily (Claire Bloom), tries to control their lives. And a bout with post-partum depression, has left the couple's marriage bed cold. At a party, the Jordans meet uninhibited heiress Clodagh (Kerry Fox) to whom Martin takes a shine, but Sophie finds her discomforting. Despite the thriller set-up, Moira Armstrong's sympathetic adaptation of Joanna Trollope's 1989 bestseller doesn't depict an outsider trying to worm her way into another woman's life, but an extravert who helps to bring an introvert out of her shell (Joanna claims Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope as a relation). Once Sophie realizes that Clodagh isn't after her husband, they become friends, and Sophie even begins to paint again, but when friendship turns to romance, coinciding with a visit from Martin's wastrel brother (Jeremy Northam), Sophie risks losing everything she holds dear. If Alice is too sensitive to qualify as a femme fatale, she isn't exactly a heroine either, since she can be just as controlling as Martin's mother and still depends on her parents to provide her income (Michael Gough plays her soft-touch father). In the U.K., Ward made waves when she came out of the closet shortly after making this better-than-average TV movie, unintentionally adding to the story's verisimilitude. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Claire Bloom, Kerry Fox, Michael Gough, Nathaniel Parker, Sophie Ward
  • Directors: Moira Armstrong
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: May 12, 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001O4C6KS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,969 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
Having read the book and now seen the film, still dissatisfied with the ending, but won't spoil it for you. Good characterization around a strong tale. Sophie Ward plays the unhappy, lonely Alice, ripe for an intense relationship with Clodagh, the persistent local extrovert who pursues her. The very talented Kerry Fox obviously enjoys the role, but not even she can carry a jarring change in personality mid-way through. And the writers fail her badly with some cliched, melodramatic lines towards the end. But Sophie Ward is luminous as the blossoming Alice. She manages some extremely difficult emotions with an admirable honesty, and skilfully portrays Alice's changing circumstances. As for art mirroring life, I doubt that she imagined when she played this role that it would be so true for her. Sophie's real life `ending' was a whole lot braver than Joanna Trollope could manage. Certainly worth seeing for quality acting by the main characters, and a sublime supporting cast. END
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
This writer's work has been "bowdlerised", that is, expurgated, andheterosexualised as to be acceptable for mainstream cinematic viewing. The scriptwriter, producer and director (all women, incidently - for shame) are directly responsible for the way that Ms Trollope's novel about self-discovery, via an unsuccessful marriage and cathartic love affair, has been transformed into a cautionary tale about the kind of woman your mother warned you about. Upon discovery of the affair in the film, Alice (our heroine) goes to her husband and asks for a second chance; in the book, she asks for a divorce. In the book, Alice is a weeping wreck and Clodagh (the 'other woman') determined to show her how to appreciate herself and life; in the film, Alice is post-natally depressed and Clodagh a shallow seducer. In the film, Alice harangues Clodagh for not concealing their relationship; in the book, Alice says she would like to tell everyone. In the film, everyone wants a piece of Alice; in the book, Clodagh loves her as she lets her go, reluctantly, to find her own way. And Alice loves Clodagh as they let each other go, knowing too much emotional baggage would not see them through. In the film, Alice drives 'off into the sunset' (and then...?); in the book, Alice learns to be sufficient unto herself. I rest my case; a good queer story, skewed straight. Hand out the awards to Sophie Ward and Kerry Fox (yay, fabulous Kerry, fellow Kiwi!) who, not for a moment compromise their acting (including some sumptuous lip-locks) to a skilfully doctored script. And another award for Joanna Trollope's excellent story. Watch the film - it's well worth it. And read the book to find out what the author REALLY intended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By wombat on May 12, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The story is boring and predictable. It is a waste of money. For the major characters, the acting is marginal, the set is OK. The only positive is that the movie will make you glad that you do not live in a village.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Justin McCann on June 12, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I found this film a pleasure to experience. Sophie Ward is stunning. She carries the film as she beautifully captures in a subtle, complex, and very compelling performance, the emotional changes her character is going through. I look forward to seeing it again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kona VINE VOICE on July 13, 2010
Format: DVD
Alice (Sophie Ward) and Martin (Nathaniel Parker) have just moved from the big city to their dream house in a quaint village. Alice finds the adjustment to village life difficult and is depressed and unsatisfied with her mama's boy husband. Things get even worse when a pushy socialite (Kerry Fox) seems to make a play for Martin, when in fact, she's attracted to someone else.

The story is a good one, but I didn't like any of the actors; they were bland and boring with the exception of Claire Bloom who injects some life into the film, playing Martin's overbearing mother. Sophie Ward's Alice is too colorless and dull to care about and she conjured up no romantic sparks. Kerry Fox overacts constantly, always making loud, pleading speeches when a whispered one would be better. I didn't like her so the story fell flat.

This BBC movie takes a good look at life in a village where everyone knows everything about everybody - not a good place to carry on a lesbian love affair. It's an acceptable but lackluster film that could have been better with a stronger cast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Miller on January 26, 2014
Format: DVD
I totally enjoyed this dvd. I had no idea of the plot other than what was described on the DVD cover. I was not disappointed as the superb acting, excellent character rolls portrayed by the residents of a small English Village, all reinforced a plot which developed very nicely into an entertaining story. Well Done !
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Fred on June 16, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I found this film to be most interesting - having a lesbian in the family made it far more compelling as I tried even more to understand the writer's story below the surface. I found it well done and feel I understand more deeply what the characters are trying to present - a deep and undying love that is only possible through in-depth meaning.
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Format: DVD
Based on a 1989 book by romance author Joanna Trollope, this soapy 1995 UK flick follows the lives of pretty Alice Jordan and her boring husband Martin once they move into a quaint little English village with their 3 children. Alice is restless and unhappy... she doesn't paint anymore and blah blah blah I forget what else. She seems lonely in her wealthy and perfect life. This vulnerability leaves her open to a conniving and manipulative LeSbiaN!!! [cue dracula music] who takes the form of a pushy socialite who weasels her way into this godly and good marriage... which must be saved at any cost. All the villagers give Alice pitchfork eyes and burn bridges with her when they find she is a sinful harlot. And the evil lesbian, who is destined to a loveless life of loneliness and unhappiness, is shunned by her family and abandoned in a state of suicidal grief.

Something like that. Ack. Sooooo overdramatically depressing!!!

Some spoilers this paragraph only. So Clodagh Unwin is the desperate lesbian... I didn't think she had an ounce of chemistry with Alice. She was just an odd character who swoops in and seems to be after Alice's husband. Somehow she charms the kids, gets Martin a job, and gets Alice painting again. And suddenly they're in love and frolicking about having tea and crumpets in their little lesbo fantasy. She expects Alice to just abandon her life... when this doesn't happen, their secret little affair falls apart. Alice realizes her family must come first... and despite feeling Clodagh is the love of her life... she tells her to beat it, basically. Now Clodagh is always coming out of the trees to show up at Alice's house like some sneaky ole snake with forbidden fruit in hand...
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