A Handful of Dust
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The story is set in England of the 1930's. Tony and Lady Brenda, and upper class couple who live mostly in the country, have been married for seven years when Tony invites a man from his club to come and stay, Mr Beaver. Brenda gets an odd hankering for their guest, even though Mr Beaver proves himself to have feet of clay over and over again - but then so does she. There is a slow decline in Tony and Brenda's relationship, the deterioration filtering through layers of genteel gossip and impeccably good manners. The ending has a marvellous twist to it also. The script retains some of the sharpness of the Waughs novel, and much of the humour.
The film stars James Wilby as Tony Last, so involved in trying to live a nineteenth century lifestyle, and keep his estate Hettam afloat, that he fatally fails to notice his wife Brenda (Kristin Scott Thomas) is bored silly. Rupert Graves appears as John Beaver, (he's what they used to call a bounder); Brenda mistakenly turns to him for solace and fun. (And, of course, by doing so, she gives London's bored silly smart set something to gossip about.) Dame Judi Dench plays Mrs. Beaver, John's opportunistic, shop-owning mother. Anjelica Huston appears as the helpful Mrs. Rattery; Stephen Fry as Brenda's callous brother. Alec Guinness turns in a bravura performance as Mr. Todd, a man you don't want ever to meet. But it can truthfully be said that each of the actors makes the most of his/her part.
The movie is beautifully filmed on location, in Brighton, East Sussex, and London, England. Carlton Towers, Selby, in the north of England, North Yorkshire to be precise, stands in for Hettam. "Dust" then moves on to what's supposed to be the Brazilian jungle, though it's actually filmed in Venezuela, around Angel Falls, the world's third highest. (Of course, we're to understand that this jungle is only slightly more bloodthirsty than that of London society.Read more ›
Feeling like a combination of Requiem for a Dream and Angels & Insects, this period piece film offers more than just torrid love affairs and snobbery, it gives us this brief, yet powerful, glimpse into a world turned upside down by the squandering of a woman. I don't mean to sound sexist, but Sturridge does paint a picture where Kristin Scott Thomas' portrayal of Brenda does not paint a pretty picture of the perfect marriage. When Tony is left time and time again with John Andrew while Brenda is off gallivanting around London with John Beaver, our emotions are not placed within Brenda's arms, we care about Tony and his reaction if he were to ever discover the truth.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good movie, quite unusual, not expected ending. 3 great actors, Rupert Grant, James Wilby, KristenPublished 18 months ago by Michael D. Stefan
Wonderful acting of a wonderful book, lots of surprises, makes you think. I would recommend it to people that like the great Gatsby and downtown abbeyPublished on January 23, 2014 by Sue
Waugh's Handful of Dust is a terrific and dark novel, with funny sharp dialogue. For reasons known best to the writers of this movie, precious little of this amazing dialogue... Read morePublished on November 11, 2012 by Bibliophile
At the end of the day, I'm not sure how to feel about `A Handful of Dust'. Part of me wants to say that it was a good film and the other part of me recognizes that the main things... Read morePublished on September 24, 2012 by Andrew Ellington
Evelyn Waugh is one of the crankiest and funniest writers of the 20th century. This is a man who converted to Catholicism and defended his religion/personality by saying that if he... Read morePublished on March 15, 2011 by Tim Lieder