Masterpiece Theatre: My Family and Other Animals
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
When the dreary English weather of 1935 gets to be too much for the eccentric Durrell family, they set off for the rustic, sun-drenched Greek island of Corfu, and the unknown. The lively clan is headed by Mrs. Durrell, a middle-aged widow who gives in to the whims of her children and who patiently tolerates their adventures. Her eldest son Larry, a budding avant-garde writer with wild friends, has no regard for his mother, while her second son, Leslie, is a gun-obsessed sportsman who shoots at everything in sight. Her only daughter, Margot, is a teen beauty who changes boyfriends as quickly as she does bathing suits. But her youngest son, 12-year-old Gerald, is the heart and soul of this lively saga. Filling his family°¶s villa with an impressive menagerie of animals and insects, Gerald discovers his life°¶s vocation in nature and animals, as well as his own voice as an author. Based on Gerald Durrell°¶s childhood memoir, Academy Award-nominee Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake), Matthew Goode (Match Point), and Eugene Simon (Casanova) bring My Family and Other Animals humorously to life.
"Why do we put up with this bloody climate?" moans Larry Durrell during the rainy prelude to this Masterpiece Theater presentation. It's 1935 and 12-year-old Gerald (Eugene Simon, Casanova) is living with his family in Bournemouth. His father passed away years ago. Much like Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents, his mother (Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake) sees widowhood as a chance to make a fresh start. On Larry's advice, she decides to relocate the brood to sunny Corfu (now Kerkira), so off to Greece they go: Mother, nature-obsessed Gerry, boy-crazy Margot (Tamzin Merchant), gun-happy Leslie (Russell Tovey), and literature-loving Larry (Matthew Goode, Match Point). Minutes after their arrival, a burly fellow named Spiro (Iranian comedian Omid Djalili, Gladiator) takes the quintet under his wing and finds them a roomy villa. Soon Gerald is collecting every manner of animal: turtles, rose beetles, rabbits. The other Durrells embark on adventures of their own, brassy jazz-pop punctuating their every move. Previously produced as a 1987 miniseries by the BBC, this fanciful film boils Durrell's enduring memoir down to a brisk 90 minutes. The structure may be episodic, but the attention to detail--the exotic fauna, the evocative costumes--is praiseworthy. As Gerry notes about his creatures, "They're just like us, aren't they--families. I want to know how they all work. Imagine if they weren't there?" While Gerald would go on to become a naturalist, brother Lawrence would find also fame with The Alexandria Quartet. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- DVD-ROM link to the Masterpiece Theatre website
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This is a group of superb actors playing off each other, generous to a fault, and having a ball. The fun they have is sublimely infectious.
The movie is a vibrant and winning portrayal of Gerald Durrell's memoir of his family, just prior to WWII, living on Corfu. Durrell, who became a leading zoologist and wrote 37 books, cut his chops on Corfu, scoping out scorpions and other forms of wildlife dangerous and benign. He was about thirteen, with an older sister and two older brothers, equally quirky, individual, and funny.
His sister discovers boys - and men - wreaking much havoc on the island. His older brother, played perfectly by adorable Russell Tovey (History Boys), has a mania for hunting and shooting. And Larry (author Lawrence Durrell), played by Goode, is an obsessed writer who smokes, lounges about, and poses. He invites an amusing group of eccentric friends, including author Henry Miller, who writes in the nude and considers clothing the last refuge of the bourgeoisie. His family find them somewhat less entertaining.
Their summer is also populated by other characters with whom they interact: two British tutors, a Turkish boyfriend, the family's Greek mentor, housemaid, and a customs agent who confiscates lingerie and linen.
Imelda Staunton, as the mother of this brood, holds the whole mess together and has never been more enjoyable.
Great episodic story, beautiful photography, clever editing, highly imaginative music, smart script, delightful acting. The 85 minutes fly by and leave us wanting much more of this endearing family.
PBS, always at the cutting edge of timidity, has seen fit to cut out about two minutes of the already very short film. Apparently, the sight of turtles on top of each other is too much for their sensibilities, or ours. And I find it annoying to pay for a DVD and still sit thru not only their annoying Masterpiece Theater intro but, worse, their tireless spiel asking for money. I suggest buying the BBC Region 2 version of this delightful concoction if you can play it.
Most recent customer reviews
It's as if someone mistakenly made a film based on the initial outline of a script rather than the scrip itself.Read more
Just can't trust PBS, they lie all the time.