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The Mayor of Casterbridge
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Actors: Ciarán Hinds, Juliet Aubrey, Jodhi May, James Purefoy, Polly Walker
Director: David Thacker
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2003     3hr 20min

Studio: A&e Home Video Release Date: 09/30/2003 Run time: 200 minutes Rating: Nr


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Movie Details

Actors: Ciarán Hinds, Juliet Aubrey, Jodhi May, James Purefoy, Polly Walker
Director: David Thacker
Creators: Ivan Strasburg, St. John O'Rorke, Delia Fine, Georgina Lowe, Sally Head, Ted Whitehead, Thomas Hardy
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Studio: A&E Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2003
Original Release Date: 08/17/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 08/17/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 3hr 20min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Samuel K. (Solvanda)
Reviewed on 8/7/2010...
I've read all of Hardy's works and this is Hardy's best novel by far. I've watched this BBC version of the drama 3 times now...very faithful rendition. Book is even better though. Absolute work of genius. A few notes about the book, which you'll want to read...if you liked this film...definitely recommend it. In the novel there are many extraneous details about the relics of the Roman empire left scattered about Casterbridge. And Hardy clearly demonstrates his love of language in the novel. Poetry in motion.

Now, for the moral of the story...this one has kept me walking around the block in my head for months...and will probably remain with me for life. There are actually many many things about human nature in here that are going to keep you thinking about this tale. Experience it for yourself.

Hardy has a deep love of the Bible...(and this was a common thing back in his day)...and sought to demonstrate it's principles within his very realistic portrayals of everyday life. Now, even if one is not a fan of Christianity, I would very very highly recommend reading through Proverbs and Ecclesiastes (mostly written by wise King Solomon.) Speaking from experience, doing so has kept me out of much of the school of hard knocks in life. Throughout this rendition of Mayor of Casterbridge, I could not help but keep thinking of a verse in chapter 6 of Ecclesiastes: "If a man should become a father a hundred times, and he should live many years, so that numerous the days of his years should become, yet his own soul is not satisfied with good things and even the grave has not become his, I must say that one prematurely born is better off than he is. For in vain has this one come and in darkness he goes away, and with darkness his own name will be covered. Even the sun itself he has not seen, neither known."

Some folks are just their own worst enemy...and most of us have known someone like this...perhaps we even think about ourselves this way.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jeannine W. (jrelehw) from LONDONDERRY, NH
Reviewed on 8/15/2009...
James Purefoy is delicious in this movie! Its Twisty and passionate (for the times) and its funny that these actors from ROME knew each other and worked together before! I Love stuff like that!
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
S A A. (Learned2Heal)
Reviewed on 12/25/2008...
This is an absolutely amazing movie! One of the best I've ever seen. Ciaran Hinds and Jodhi May are two of the most spell-binding actors I've ever come across. The rest of the cast is awesome too. What a touching, aggravating, thoroughly human drama this is. I had to order the book from PBS right away. Very pleased to see that the movie stayed very close to the original script.

The sets in this movie pull you into the mood and time of the place completely. The music is perfect, the storyline divine in every way. This is a movie I have watched 3 times already, in less than a month and will be watching it again soon. You never even notice the almost 3.5 hours going by. And when it's over, you're left wanting more - a sequel, another chapter, anything!

This is a must-see movie!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Kendra M. (KendraM) from NASHVILLE, TN
Reviewed on 3/6/2008...
I've only recently started watching all the British mini-series I've missed over the years. The best one I've seen (and we see quite a few!)-- the best MOVIE I've ever seen-- is The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Ciaran Hinds IS Michael Henchard. He's absolutely amazing and, despite his sad and deeply flawed character, he keeps our empathy. That is a very difficult task, too, since he creates some horrible situations for himself and for others. Yet, he's human and is trying to do what he deems best, though what he deems best at the time is so very very wrong.

His performance kept me riveted throughout the film and kept me thinking about the movie for a long while afterwards, as well.

Every performance in this was outstanding. The cinematography was gorgeous and the music was haunting. I looked for the sheet music to this theme afterwards, but couldn't find it. I'll keep looking.

What a wonderful film. You will absolutely not be disappointed. Definitely one of the most beautiful,touching and bittersweet movies I've ever seen.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Why is this the best movie that I have ever seen?
Charles Bowman | Elmer, LA. United States | 05/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I saw Alan Bates act Michael Henchard, I thought that I would never see acting any better than his, but I guess it was the role that I was identifying with, for Ciaran Hinds is the perfect Michael Henchard. He was wonderful as Bois de Guilbert in IVANHOE. He was indeed the rugged Captain Wentworth in PERSUASION and many have claimed him to be the very best Rochester in JANE EYRE. I think that Mr. Hinds performance in this movie goes a long way to make it the best movie that I have ever seen. Michael Henchard was a rugged selfmade man striving to follow his own star though that star is always the star of fate.
All that holds him back is the all encompassing past which wills him to destruction. He cannot escape himself or his fate.
To me he was Hardy's greatest creation. He is everyone. Nearly every role that Ciaran Hinds has played has these same
dimensions and he handles each of them to near perfection which makes him my favorite actor and possibly the best actor of our time.How can anyone love a character that would sell his wife and daughter even in a drunken state? Thomas Hardy and Ciaran Hinds
make us love this horrible man even as we love ourselves, and we
pray for his redemption. I think that Hardy himself wavered between redeeming Henchard or not.It was not just Thomas Hardy and Ciaran Hinds that made this
incomparable movie. This is Mr. David Thacker's movie, and for a director with such a short list of credits, it is all the more astounding! He did it mainly with excellent casting. Jodhi May was great as Elizabeth Jane. Juliet Aubrey fantastic as the mother,James Purefoy wonderful as Donald Farfrae,and Polly Walker is the perfect Lucinda. He did it by pacing the movie a little faster than Hardy's literary gait. He made this movie happen by an unrelenting revelation of the time and of the nature of the land. Frame by frame, utterance by utterance, gesture by gesture,this movie marks excellence. There are many excellent people that made this happen that are not at the top of the credits, but we see their names over and over in great productions. We salute these great contributors, too, and selfishly wish them many more great successes."
Another excellent adaptation by A&E!!
randomartco | Greater Washington D.C. area | 03/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

""I don't see why men who've got wives they don't want, shouldn't get rid of them...I'd sell mine this minute if anybody'd buy her."When Michael Henchard (Ciaran Hinds) offers to sell his wife and baby girl, Elizabeth Jane, to a passing sailor for 5 guineas at the Weydon fair one evening, the viewing audience gasps at the horrendous audacity of any man who would treat his wife and child in such a fashion! Susan Henchard (Juliet Aubrey) is so humiliated and embarrassed by her drunken husband's behavior (combined with his history of bad temper), that she agrees to the sale, becoming from then on the wife of the sailor Newson. She takes off her wedding band and sets it in front of Henchard with a sad, lost look in her eyes while Henchard greedily grabs the 5 guineas off the table and stuffs them in his pocket. When he awakens the next morning to find them gone and realizes what he has done, he swears an oath to God he will not touch alcohol for the space of 21 years, but when his "wife & daughter" come to find him 19 years later, will they find him changed...?A&E did an excellent job on this Thomas Hardy adaptation; it is accurate to the original story (although I did feel some moments and scenes were cut too short to allow the full effect to seep in), but I still feel it is well done on the whole. The acting is superb with Ciaran Hinds dominating in his role as the tyrannical Michael Henchard; also excellent is Jodhi May as the sweet Elizabeth Jane (Mirah in Daniel Deronda), Polly Walker as Lucetta (Jane Fairfax in Gwenyth's Emma), and James Purefoy as the Scotsman Donald Farfrae. Although her part is shorter, I also thought Juliet Aubrey as Susan Henchard did a fantastic job. An excellent film, well worth the time invested!"
A Superb and Riveting Period Drama!
anna-joelle | Malaysia | 02/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a lavish 2003 production by A&E which stays true to the characterization and flow of the story in Hardy's novel. The 5 major characters in this drama will hold your attention throughout as you watch how their lives intertwine and the tragedies unfold.The story centers on Michael Henchard, Mayor of Casterbridge. Henchard has a dark and shameful secret which occurs nearly 20 years before when he is then just a poor hay trusser. One day, when drunk, he sells his wife (Susan) and baby daughter (Elizabeth-Jane) to a stranger. When he regains sobriety, he tries to locate his family but they have gone abroad with the stranger. Regretting his action, Henchard vows to refrain from alcohol. He turns over a new leaf, settles in a new town (Casterbrige) and later becomes a wealthy tradesman and Mayor. Then one day, Susan returns to him with the now grown Elizabeth-Jane ("EJ", played by Jodie May), who may or may not be Henchard's real daughter. They reconcile and he "remarries" Susan, both agreeing to keep their past relationship a secret. There is relative domestic bliss in Henchard's life until the appearance of 2 other characters.The first is Donald Farfrae, a young and handsome Scotsman (played by James Purefoy) whom Henchard persuades to assist him in his wheat and corn business. When Farfrae becomes more popular than Henchard and proves to be cleverer in managing the business, Henchard becomes jealous, fires him and begins to treat him as an enemy. The problem is that at that time, Farfrae is already subtly courting EJ. The second character to rock the boat is a beautiful woman, Lucetta (played by Polly Walker) who is Henchard's secret lover before the return of Susan.The acting by all the actors is phenomenal. Ciaran Hinds is perfect in the title role. James Purefoy, with his dreamy eyes and sensuous lips is a heavensent as the handsome, gentle and well-meaning Farfrae. But the best performance is by Jodie May who plays the sweet, uncomplaining (and quietly suffering) EJ most sensitively. She is my favourite character in the story.Many scenes will stay in the viewer's mind. To me, these are the 3 most unforgetable scenes:1) EJ and Farfrae meeting in a barn while it is raining heavily outside. After they have talked a little, Farfrae tells EJ that she has dust(husks?) all over her dress. EJ tries to wipe them off, but Farfrae (in that delicious Scottish accent of his) tells her that "blowing is best" (so as not to ruin the dress). He then gets real close to her to blow the dust away. So gently he does it, blowing around EJ and close to her neck. It is a most romantic scene. Throughout you see that EJ is shy about it but there is an unmistakably delighted expression on her face.2) When Henchard chooses to reveal a terrible secret to EJ, causing her heart to break. As she cries bitterly, you realize all the more what a wonderful actress Jodie May is. Her tears are genuine, large drops that literally rain down from her eyes.3) The scene involving Lucetta in her red dress, and two human effigies. I cannot forget how Lucetta collapses to the floor in hearsickness when she catches sight of the effigies from her window, and her anguished cries of "Oh, I shall die. I shall die." I find this scene most sad and harrowing.To sum it up, this is a most superior and sumptuous period drama and I highly recommend it. The storyline is meaningful and the performances absolutely unforgetable."