May 7, 2006

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

I rented A&E's 1998 two-part adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles last night, starring Justine Waddell (a terrific actress whom I personally think should have been cast as Jane Austen in Becoming Jane....but I digress.) Although the film has more emotional downs than ups (Hardy might have been a perfect candidate for Zoloft), I enjoyed every minute of it......bonus points for making a pasture full of cows the backdrop for priceless romantic moments between Tess (a down-at-heel dairy maid with a shameful past) and the well-born object of her affection, Angel Claire (played by the dashing, and somewhat "Prince William"-looking Oliver Milburn.) If you judge a movie by its number of swoon-worthy moments, there are plenty to be found in this one, but there's plenty of angst, too, and occasionally, some random voiceover moments that don't really work. Neverthless, Waddell and Milburn have SERIOUS chemistry, and the gorgeous pastoral cinematography is just as stirring as the plotline. When I first read the book, I was sucked in, and the movie version kept me equally captivated. Don't forget the Kleenex. -- Amy

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