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22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Judi Dench stars as a lonely middle-aged divorcee who suddenly decides to stop doing what's expected of her and start Behaving Badly.
When her husband of 20 years falls in love with a younger woman, Bridget quietly moves on. For five years she accepts her fate, filling her days with part-time work, church-going, and evening classes until a chance encounter makes her face the emotional desert her life has become. She decides to stop being so "perfectly splendid" about it all and to start breaking rules and taking risks--happily impervious to the cries of dismay from those around her.

Starring Judi Dench (As Time Goes By, A Fine Romance) in a role that won her a BAFTA award nomination, with costars Ronald Pickup (The Mission), Frances Barber (Prick Up Your Ears), and Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck, Lady Chatterly).

Based on the book by Catherine Heath. the 1989 four-part British miniseries Behaving Badly is not to be confused with the Britcom, Men Behaving Badly. Judi Dench, as ever, commands the screen in her BAFTA-nominated performance as middle-aged Bridget Mayor, who, like Jill Clayburgh's character in An Unmarried Woman, is initially shattered, but gets a new lease on life after her husband of two decades (Ronald Pickup, Fortunes of War) announces that he intends to marry his mistress younger Rebecca (Frances Barber). After a somewhat dreary first hour, dutiful and obedient Bridget blossoms and shines as she declares that "with only myself to think about, and not much to lose, I've stopped caring about other people's good opinions." Declaring her conformist days are over, she shocks family and friends, first by moving back in with her ex and his new wife, and then in the flat her daughter, Trudy, shares with a close-knit group of young professionals. She further scandalizes one and all by falling in love with one of them, and considers accompanying him to America. "My mother has stopped being splendid," Trudy frets. Less compelling is Trudy's own romantic pursuit of a black pastor.

Behaving Badly deftly mixes melodrama and comedy. Gwen Watfordias costars as Bridget's former mother-in-law and champion, who torments Rebecca and makes Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond look like June Cleaver. In an early performance, Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck) steals her scenes as a nerves-frayed, stressed-out schoolteacher. Behaving Badly anticipates the current so-called "chick lit" movement with this empowering personal odyssey that ends on an optimistically exhilarating high, as Bridget heals all family wounds, and "risks everything" to embark on her "grand adventure." --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • Biographies of Judi Dench and writer Catherine Heath
  • Cast filmographies

Product Details

  • Actors: Judi Dench, Ronald Pickup, Frances Barber, Gwen Watford, Francesca Folan
  • Format: Box set, Color, NTSC, Miniseries
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2005
  • Run Time: 203 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00080ZG4C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,003 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "BEHAVING BADLY" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Tiggah on July 24, 2005
Format: DVD
Behaving Badly is a 1988 four-part British comedy-drama (with 50-minute episodes) starring Judi Dench (As Time Goes By, A Fine Romance), who puts in a wonderful performance as a dowdy, middle-aged woman named Bridget. Like so many women, Bridget has spent her life sacrificing her own interests and desires in order to please others (in her case, her husband Mark). And what does she have to show for a life as a self-sacrificing door-mat? A husband who, after 20 years of marriage, has divorced her and married a much younger woman. The irony is that Mark's new wife Rebecca (Frances Barber) is a spontaneous, vibrant woman who is full of life and who has no intention of leading her life according to the dictates of others. In short, she is everything that Bridget is not--or to be more accurate, she is everything Bridget, years ago, had chosen not to be.

The series opens five years after their separation, and Bridget has basically been putting in time--taking pottery lessons, attending church, and generally doing the things lonely, middle-aged women seem to be expected to do to fill in their days. Bridget, however, realises she's in a rut and leading a humdrum, unsatisfying life, and she decides, for the first time in her life, to put herself first, to buck the tide of expectation, and to search for a way to move forward out of the bleak, monotonous existence her life has become. That decision results in her making some very dramatic moves which are disruptive both to Mark and Rebecca and to her daughter, Phyllida. It also results in the title of the series, for almost everyone thinks that Bridget is behaving badly by doing what feels right to her regardless of the impact on those around her; what's worse, she simply couldn't care less what others think or say about her.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By bunnielover on October 17, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First off,I love Judi Dench... But I did not like this flick very much. I found that I didn't like most of the characters, and did not care what became of them. The husband is a dog! and my thought was why pine over this sorry example of a man? Judi's character is at the beginning such a mouse,that you can see why no one including her daughter wanted to hang around her. and why no one buddied up with her even after the divorce, and even after she decides she is going to do what she wants, she goes back to the old man, and plagues him and the new wife rather that get on with a worthwile existence. Her mother in law is horrid, and it shows just what a wimp the son is, that he continues to live with her and allows her to insult and try to humiliate the new wife. (who was stupid enough to allow herself to get stuck in such a verbally abusive situation.) The daughter is lame, and her roomies are lame, and the one sniveling girl who has a breakdown is so annoying, that i will never watch this again, because i would have to listen to her sniffling and whining again. The one character i liked, they killed off, and that was the roommates granddad. He was way smarter, and more observant that anyone else in the whole movie. He was also the most sincere protrayal in my mind of what all to often happens with the elderly, getting shunted here and there, because no one wants to care for them. I agree with the one reviewer too about story lines that don't seem to add to the original plot. like the Minister of the Black Church, and the daughter trying to seduce him. What was that in here for? Go figure,I guess just give this a view, and enjoy Judi's great acting talents, and don't try to get to involved. It will make you crazy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Anderson on September 15, 2008
Format: DVD
I loved Judi Dench in "A Fine Romance" and "As Time Goes By." Unfortunately, "Behaving Badly" is just bad.

While A Fine Romance and As Time Goes By are classic character-driven comedies, "Behaving Badly" doesn't succeed at drama or comedy. It's too short to grow truly fond of the characters and what's meant as humor just isn't funny.

I slugged through all the episodes, hoping for something better. No such luck. Spend your time and your money on one of Dench's other splendid movies or series.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julian Kennedy on March 18, 2010
Format: DVD
Behaving Badly: 1 out of 10: I have a very high tolerance for cinematic pain. I'm willing to sit through almost anything. Heck forget Jar Jar Binks that's child's play, forget got some undubbed Japanese ghost story sans subtitles' cakewalk, forget some sixties experimental film feature two characters in a white room for six hours.

Behaving badly broke me.

I kept watching all the way through and it kept getting worse. I like Judi Dench but she is simply unwatchable in this. She plays a dowdy church mouse whose husband leaves her for a younger woman and she decides to think for herself. The choices that she makes are insane and distinctly unfunny.

Ah the pain. Joey Richardson as the younger husband stealing harlot suffers from theater acting disease common in BBC productions but it's the grandmother/mother-in-law (Gwen Watford) that did me in. Gwen plays the most painfully irritating stereo type in television history. (Overbearing Jewish shrew that performs voodoo) Oh and the series features "kids" each more banal than the last. (The girl under going a nervous breakdown may send you to your own she is that contagious) Why the kids are even in this series is beyond me. (A younger demographic perhaps?) They are a Real World episode gone horrible wrong. Why is there a black American preacher/love interest? Why would anyone steal Judi Dench's husband? (He is such a wimpy cad and come with more baggage than the Howell's on Gilligan's Island.) In four episodes there is not one laugh. There is only confusion and pain. It is like a Mike Leigh sitcom.
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