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Top Customer Reviews
The miniseries is based on the classic novel by George Eliot, and is essentially two plots woven into one. The first is an utterly heartless and wretched marriage for a spoiled young Gwendolyn in the form of the evil Grandcourt, a landowner whose sole pleasure lies in torment. Be it his wife or dogs, our heartless villain never takes greater pleasure than in dangling something before them and tearing it away again, only to feed it to someone else. We see a kind of barbarism in this act, be it with the family spaniel or his impoverished, abandoned mistress.
The second plot line is about the film's lead, Daniel Deronda, a presumed illigitimate boy who has been raised a country gentleman. One day while out boating he saves a Jewish singer from drowning herself, and sets out to discover his own true identity through finding her family.
The acting is very stellar. There's not a weak link in the cast, although I have to say seeing Barbara Hershey seemed a little out of place in this Victorian paradox. The film makes numerous contrasts between good and evil, selfishness and humility, lies and deception. It's actually quite an achievement, and I was pleased at the amount of restraint showed by the filmmakers. The sexual tension between man and wife will go over most younger viewer's heads.Read more ›
Set in England in the 1870's, the viewer is given a glimpse into the lives of British Jews, a society-within-a-society, though Daniel Deronda. Interestingly enough, most of Miss Eliot's contemporaries were oblivious to the Jews, who lived totally outside their frame of reference. Through her heroine, Gwendolyn Harleth, (Romola Garai), who marries for money and power rather than love, Eliot and the film explore a side of human relations that leads only to despair.
Daniel sees Gwendolyn, for the first time, at a roulette table. He is fascinated by her classical, blonde English beauty, and vivacious, self-assured manner. When Miss Harleth is forced to sell her necklace to pay gambling debts, Deronda, a disapproving observer, buys back the jewelry, anonymously, and returns it to her. This is not the last time the deeply spiritual and altruistic Deronda will feel a need to rescue Gwendolyn.
Daniel was adopted as a young boy by Sir Hugo, (Edward Fox), an English gentleman. He has received affection, a good education, and to some extent, position, from his guardian. However, Deronda has never been told the story of his true parentage, and sorely feels this lack of roots and his own identity. Not content to play the gentleman, he always appears to be searching for a purpose in life, and a spiritual center.
Daniel's and Gwendolyn's lives intersect throughout the novel.Read more ›
the movie version of George Eliot's last novel is one of the fairest productions which is based on a book i have ever seen; the characters are presented as brilliantly here as they are in the book (with the small exception of Jodhi May as Mirah-- she was far too old to play her!). The sections of the novel which seem long-winded are presented fluently and gracefully, and the iterations which are wonderful to read are an even bigger joy to watch. Hugh Dancy as the title character does not overplay Deronda's inward contemplation nor does he downplay the spurts of emotion. Romala Garai as the beautiful Gwendolen Harleth-Grandcourt portrays her complex and difficult with ease and candor; a true triumph!
I would definately recommend this movie to anyone whose got a rainy afternoon to spare and fans of BBC productions to boot! You will not be disappointed!
I found that the film did in fact crystalize all of the details from the book that I had somehow missed, and for me this was one of those rare cases where I found myself enjoying the film much greater than I had the book. The pacing is different and one or two events are rearranged to heighten the story telling, but I do not believe this hinders the original story. I found myself completely taken in by this superb adaptation and I believe that any of Eliot's admirers, or any period movie fan for that matter, would revel in this wonderful retelling of a classic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting. Different. I'm not used to seeing Bonneville as a villain. I never expected to see a film about Jews!Published 3 months ago by S. Shannon
This is a haunting story. I understand it was the last novel completed by George Eliot - but an engrossing film if you like this type of production. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kristin Zhivago