Daniel Deronda

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  1. Charity Bishop "film critic" says
    136 of 140 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    “That’s not what this is about, Lush.”, April 19, 2003
    This review is from: Daniel Deronda (DVD)

    Having a familiarity with the field of psychology, I have always found morality plays fascinating. If you delight in thought-provoking films with careful layers of morality and virtue, Daniel Deronda will be just your cup of tea. In addition to being a magnificent piece from a purely artistic perspective (the gowns, horse-drawn carriages, and exquisite English countryside will stir the hearts of even the most ardent modernist), it also offers a magnitude of ideal conversation starters.

    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. From rationalizing and defending one’s wrong choices to showing the difference between attraction and subtle, strong love, Daniel Deronda is a gem not merely for its beauty but also its hideousness. Filmmakers have done a tasteful film which deals with many heavy subjects without becoming vulgar or crass. The costuming is absolutely gorgeous, and there’s not a weak link in the cast, which includes screen knowns such as Barbara Hershey and Gretta Sacci, as well as the exceptionally talented Hugh Dancy, Romola Garai, Hugh Bonneville and Jodhi May. Fans of other period films will recognize actors from Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, and Emma.

    It’s rare to find a wonderful Victorian bodice ripper where the bodice actually stays on. 

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  2. 47 of 50 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    a great mini-series based on a great book!, December 22, 2003
    By 
    Kate C. (Lansing, MI USA) –

    This review is from: Daniel Deronda (DVD)

    i am not a huge fan or British Literature, for that matter i have a particular dislike for VICTORIAN British Lit. i had to read DANIEL DERONDA for a class many moons ago and loved, loved, loved the book (which i highly recommend to anyone– it’s 800 pages, a bit of a commitment, but well worth it).

    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!

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