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A Rather English Marriage

31 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Apr 07, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

As seen on Masterpiece Theatre – Based on the novel by Angela Lambert

Winner of the BAFTA Award for Best Television Drama, this bittersweet tale of class and friendship stars Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay as two recently-widowed men coming to terms with the deaths of their wives. Skillfully adapted by Andrew Davies (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Brideshead Revisited), this sharply-written drama is highlighted by the effortless chemistry of its outstanding ensemble cast.

After Reggie Conyngham-Jervis (Finney), a wealthy ex-fighter pilot, and Roy Southgate (Courtenay), a retired milkman, are both widowed on the same night, the “odd couple” decide to overlook their differences and move in together. At first the two become friends, until their unlikely relationship is threatened by the arrival of Liz Franks (Joanna Lumley), an alluring woman with a hidden agenda.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay, Joanna Lumley, Ursula Howells, John Light
  • Directors: Paul Seed
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: E1 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PCNZF4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,548 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Rather English Marriage" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 80 people found the following review helpful By on November 16, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
It's easy to see why this movie won several TV British Academy Awards (BAFTAs). The acting is superb from all the actors (even down to the bit players), the music is superb, and the writing and direction are first-rate. The ending is also the best in any movie I have ever seen, and comes round too soon. For me, the story is about the relationship between two heterosexual men following the death of their wives - and how they both come to terms with their bereavement. Tom Courtney's Southgate (which won him the Best Actor BAFTA award) grieves immediately after his wife dies. However, Albert Finney's multi-layered Sgt.Major (also nominated for the Best Actor BAFTA) takes longer to come to terms with his life and loss. If you want to see the Best of British, this movie is one of those surprising little gems that only come around so often.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By MegaMegaWhiteThing! on July 18, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
A story of two RAF World War II veterans who lost their wives in the same hospital on the same day, the film hatches into a work of reminiscence, mourning, moving on, deceit, and edges into a seemingly teasing plot of "what goes around comes around." Womanizing Squadron Leader Reggie invites the prudish and submissive Southgate to take over domestic duties and become a companion at the encouragement of a very sweet social worker. Whether dealing with the golddigging Joanna Lumley (remember Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous?) or coming to terms with a son's misery in prison, this film, while having low points, ends in a sweet, cheerful, and innocent manner. I definitely recommend it, and to think, I just found it by accident on a library shelf.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By meg on February 16, 2009
Format: DVD
Shown on Masterpiece Theatre (during the Russell Baker years), this reunites two spectacularly fine actors of British cinema's "angry young man" era. The virile Albert Finney of Saturday Night & Sunday Morning, and the subtle Tom Courtenay of Billy Liar or The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, may come to mind again as you watch them in this twilight story of two widowers learning to live without their wives of forty years.

Finney plays something of a lion in winter, a self-approving type who still expects people to address him as Squadron Leader. Courtenay plays a gentler sort, whose cherished memories of the war years are related rather to the love affair with his wife than glory past. The characters here may remind you also of roles the actors played in their middle years in The Dresser -- Finney's vainglorious Shakespearean attended by Courtenay as his backstage dresser. The script and the acting in this humorous, human drama actually teach us things -- about love and friendship, about regret and grief, about old age, about companionship and dignity, about the poignant sweetness of an old Glenn Miller song. Beautiful.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark Antony on April 27, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
When ex-RAF fighter pilot Reginald Conyngham-Jarvis (Albert Finney) and former milkman Roy Southgate (Tom Courtenay) both become widowers within minutes of each other, an unlikely bond between them begins to form. Both men are from the opposite side of the social spectrum, Reginald, verbose, and self confessed womaniser, nevertheless less fond of his late wife, no idea of domesticity,and Roy the dedicated husband, never looked at another woman, more outwardly gentle and caring, both begin to share the same house, the formation of an "odd couple" type of scenario.

The theme behind the relationships of this touching, superbly acted drama, based on Angela Lambert's novel, is both characters providing to the other what each person badly needs. As the story unfolds, both men have more in common than either thought, as they both harbour dark secrets of guilt over a lost child. Joanna Lumley is convincing as a local botique owner who sees Reginald, and the money she thinks he has, as a way of escaping from her own debt pressures.

At times humourous, other times sensitive and thought provoking, this wonderful drama is a tribute to the fine acting skills of the main performers, with excellent use of the haunting background music. A modern classic.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kona VINE VOICE on February 18, 2010
Format: DVD
Two elderly men are widowed on the same night in the same hospital. Pompous lecher Reggie (Albert Finney) and meek milkman Southgate (Tom Courtenay) would seem to have little in common, yet they become roommates at the suggestion of a social worker who thinks the situation will ease their grief. Reggie, however, starts bossing Southgate around and treating him like a servant while beginning a dodgy romance with a younger woman.

This well-intentioned "odd couple"-type drama almost hits a home run with top-notch acting from the two stars, but the script glosses over or eliminates much needed information and action. The supposed bond between the men never materializes and we don't know why Southgate allows himself to be bullied and treated like hired help. Courtenay is by far the more sympathetic of the two, giving a poignant performance as a truly grieving man with a family secret. Finney's blustery old windbag is quite rude and unlikable, but he does a good job playing him.

I think this could have been better with another half hour to develop the relationship between the two men. Still, this simple movie is quite watchable thanks to the talent and charisma of Finney and Courtenay.
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