The Return of the Native (Gold Crown Collector's Edition)
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Fans who have followed Zeta-Jones' high-profile career in movies such as 'Entrapment', 'Traffic' & 'Chicago' will be interested to see her here, long before Michael Douglas and Oscar came calling, in her debut role outside of her native UK. She displays all the beauty and cool self-possession of the star she would later become. She's had her teeth capped since, and been otherwise glammed up, Hollywood-style, but all the fundamentals are there. The setting is breathtaking (shot on location in Northern England), and the simple yet vivid costumes Eustacia wears add to her characterization. Eustacia/Catherine is dressed simply but vividly in tones of scarlet, yellow and turquoise blue, setting her in sharp relief to the browns and grays of the landscape, and the dull clothes worn by the other characters.
The entire cast does a superb job, but this is really Zeta-Jones' show. Whether you're a Zeta fan, or a student of Thomas Hardy, this production should be on your shelf.
I admit that I'm particular to Catherine Zeta-Jones as she looks a lot like one of my daughters, and I think she did a fine job in this movie silently conveying inner passion and frustrated dreams. She is hypnotic and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Admittedly, Ray Stevenson was rather light and played his part like a kid playing at being an actor, but he was pretty much ignorable next to Catherine and Joan Plowright as his mother, and Steven Mackintosh as Diggory. In fact, Diggory comes across as the wisest and most stable person in the story.
In spite of the fact that it was made for TV, it was well-done and the scenery was beautiful. I've watched it twice with my children and used it as a jumping off point to discuss life and they enjoyed the movie and the discussion after!
It's no wonder Thomas Hardy's novel is a classic and this TV-movie does it justice. The acting is uniformly excellent, the location is, in turns, bleak and wonderful, the sorrowful mood is enhanced by a plaintiff folk score, and the literate script stays close to the book. The hypnotically beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones captures Eustacia's willfulness and pride and is perfect in the role. Clive Owen plays Damon Wildeve, a local man who lusts after the elusive Eustacia. He's very good, as is Ray Stevenson, the 'native' blinded by Eustacia's charms. Together, they form a powerful and tragic love triangle. Recommended.
Thomas Hardy being a favorite author, I believe that this masterpiece of a classic deserved so much better than this poorly-acted and presented piece that resembled nothing more than a day-time soap opera.
Nothing more than eye candy (the beautiful landscape coupled with Clive Owen and Catherine Zeta-Zones as a striking pair), the adaptation was mediocre at best, and quite honestly painful to watch in some scenes. Any hope of improvement as the film continued was abandoned as the final credits rolled.
Do yourself a favor and give "Return of the Native" a miss. Better yet, check out more faithful and worthy Hardy adaptations by the peerless BBC, such as "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", "The Mayor of Casterbridge", and "Far From the Madding Crowd" (a particular favorite) - all amazing films that I can say enough about.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this novel in high school. My book report was awarded 100 %. by lit.tchr.
This film is exceptional at telling the story
As the sole film adaptation of this novel, it is pleasing and memorable. The one thing I wish had been different is the visit of Clym's mother to his home after his marriage. Read morePublished 9 months ago by A. Moss
After Far from the Madding Crowd, it was a let down. I was disappointed.Published 12 months ago by K. Savino
I received the items as agreed, but I got them a day later than promised (which was 8/6). I have not had the opportunity to view this video yet, but will probably do so soon. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Peggy