December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

May 16, 2011

Tess of the d'Urbervilles (UK - 2008)

When it's over, the story of Tess remains tragic no matter how updated a director may make it.  So far, I've seen two versions of this classic story of love and loss, and this version is a bit livelier in costume and landscape compared to the 1998 version (also from the UK).  Thomas Hardy's timeless tragedy about a young girl named Tess Derbeyfield played by Gemma Arterton, who becomes a victim of circumstance in 19th century England, is so heartbreaking that one can't help but be drawn into the story and all its flawed characters.  This four hour film from BBC was filmed completely in 35mm (rare in the age of high definition), which gives the landscape a sense of grandness as well as a sense of loneliness and despair.  The landscape becomes a character in the story as we follow Tess on her journey from an innocent country girl to a courtesan in a span of several years.  She lives through seduction, rape, betrayal, motherhood, marriage, and abandonment, and yet, remains remarkably strong willed and independent.  I think Arterton did a wonderful job portraying this very complex character by molding Tess into a character we can relate to, sympathize with, and ultimately fall in love with.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5

1 comment:

  1. I love the the story of Tess, though very tragic. I hate Angel for being so unforgiving. Saw this version and the 1998 one and like them both. I think this is one of Hardy's best pastoral novels.