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The Politician's Wife
The Politician's Wife
Actors: Minnie Driver, Veronica Clifford, Sally Knyvette, Jacqueline Tong, Julie Dawn Cole
Director: Graham Theakston
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2004     3hr 7min

When the tabloids scream the news that Minister of the Family Duncan Matlock has been caught in an affair with an "escort" girl, no one is more stunned than Flora, his wife. As her husband and the Tory establishment behind...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Minnie Driver, Veronica Clifford, Sally Knyvette, Jacqueline Tong, Julie Dawn Cole
Director: Graham Theakston
Creators: Tom McDougal, Alan Jones, Jeanna Polley, Jenny Edwards, Neal Weisman, Peter Ansorge, Paula Milne
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Miniseries
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color,Letterboxed - Miniseries
DVD Release Date: 07/06/2004
Original Release Date: 01/07/1996
Theatrical Release Date: 01/07/1996
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 3hr 7min
Screens: Color,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Kendra M. (KendraM) from NASHVILLE, TN
Reviewed on 3/14/2008...
We watched the entire three part (though only 187 minutes, I think) movie last night and woke up to the newest political scandal with Eliot Spitzer. How timely!

This is a very good film about Flora, married to the Minister of Family whom espouses family values. Sure enough, the movie starts with Duncan, her husband, coming home with his entourage and having to let his wife know about his one-night stand with another woman, since the press has found out and they are about to be hounded.

Flora is absolutely broken-hearted. And, to make matters worse, nobody seems to show true sympathy to her for her heartbreak-- instead, everybody is concerned about Duncan keeping his position and about the "Party" (suffice it to say this has a definite liberal bias, but it's really not too bad).

Her father is even a creep. Flora comes down in the middle of the night and sees her father (one of the "party's" cronies) and when he begins to let her know how upset he is about Duncan's infidelity, Flora assumes she will be shown some concern. However, the dad is only concerned about himself and his upset is due to his fear that Duncan will go down and that his own future will be ruined. Despicable characters-- all of them!

Anyways, soon Flora receives an anonymous tape with very explicit recordings of some phone sex her husband took part in with the woman he was having an affair with. She soon recognizes that this was no "one-time" fling, but a serious affair that took place over the better part of a year and was very very serious. She begins to really despise her husband, while at the same time hanging on to the bit of love she once had for him. This part of the movie is interesting. It's obvious (to us) that she begins to really hate him-- hate his character and lack thereof. His flaws are completely noticeable-- maybe for the first time to Flora. He lies. He hates gays. He hates the needy. He says what he needs to say for political expediency, and then whispers to Flora how he will get away with breaking the promises he just made a moment before. He's definitely unlikeable.

However, rather than this being a "Let's bash the Conservatives" movie, one of Duncan's staff begins to help Flora plan Duncan's revenge. And, it soon turns out that more of the "Party" start to see the error of Duncan's ways, as well. So, there are definitely a few "honorable" people here, except, really, who is really honorable when the methods are so despicable, even if those methods are the absolute only way to achieve the necessary goals?

So, this becomes a film about morality, too. And, it is confusing, because we've grown to empathize with Flora but even she is capable of deceit. But, her methods are definitely underhanded even though her heart (for everyone but Duncan) is in the right place.

The acting is absolutely superb. Juliet Stevenson is extremely talented and I'm glad to see her in a lead role. Minnie Driver plays the mistress with a perfect British accent. Everyone else was good and the story moved along well, although had it gone a bit faster, I wouldn't have been disappointed.

Part of what is interesting here is the perceived necessity for the politicians' wives to stand by their men after their husbands' infidelities are exposed. We saw it with Hillary Clinton, we've seen it with Jim McGreevey and his wife, we've seen it with Larry Craig and his wife, and now we're seeing it with Elliot Spitzer and his sad-looking wife. These poor women (except for Hillary, I guess, who has her own reasons I suppose for staying)! They are paraded out in public to stand by their men and show support and smile and hold hands, etc., even while the pain is probably still profuse. Personally, I think the women would gain so much more respect by leaving. And, with Hillary, specifically (since she herself is in the public eye), I think her likeability would have gone way up had she left her chronically unfaithful husband behind.

Movie Reviews

The politican's wife is a force to be reckoned with.
Russell Fanelli | Longmeadow, MA USA | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Politician's Wife plays out in three installments, each lasting a little over an hour. This playing time is needed to allow for the intricate plotting of this complex drama. In the first part Flora Matlock, wife of Tory minister and rising star Duncan Matlock, learns that her husband has been unfaithful to her. This infidelity is ironic given that Duncan represents the family in the conservative English government. At first Flora is surprised and angry. We watch as she packs her bags to leave her husband. Before she finishes her packing she gets pressure from all sides to support her husband. She gives in to the manipulations of the men who want to keep Duncan in power. A little later on Flora learns from Duncan's assistant that the affair with an escort girl, Jennifer Cairn, lasted for a year or so. She is given pictures and an audio tape documenting Duncan's infidelity.

In part two Flora, an exceptionally bright and capable woman, plots Duncan's downfall. Whenever she begins to question her motives, she listens to the audio tape to steel her in her resolve. Flora is as clever as Iago in Othello. We marvel at her political astuteness as she makes her plans and lays her traps for her husband, who deserves everything she does to him. In part three we hold our breath as she springs the trap and sets in motion a string of events that should keep all viewers watching closely to see what will happen next.

The Politican's Wife represents the best of television drama. The acting is first-rate by all participants, particularly Juliet Stepenson as Flora, Trevor Eve as Duncan, Ian Bannen, unfortunately now dead, as Sir Donald Frazier, confidant to Flora, and Minnie Driver as the escort girl. A large cast supports these principals superbly.

The story moves quickly and inexorably to the finale. The only mild violence in the plot happens in the bedroom as we watch Flora begin to take control over her wayward husband by playing to his many sexual weaknesses. Duncan is a manipulative villain and Flora is every bit his equal when it comes to scheming. Flora can lie and cheat with the best of the men who surround her.

Is lying ahd cheating what it takes to succeed in government? The Politician's Wife suggests that honesty is for losers and those on the fast track to political power need to learn to manipulate the system to their advantage if they are going to have any chance at success. The Politician's Wife demontrates dramatically that women are not the weaker sex -- quite the contrary. Highly recommended.

"
A Political Morality Tale for All Times
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 06/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the great revenge stories of all times. Paula Milne has written the script to a three-part miniseries seen not too long ago on Masterpiece Theatre called "The Politician's Wife." The Minister for Family (of all people) is caught in a love nest scandal. And like a certain President's wife of recent memory, his spouse is expected by The Party to stand behind him. Well, she does-and in the most original way possible. As all the Old Boys rally behind this despicable lowlife, the wife uses that very system of disinformation to get back a bit of her own. Just how she does it and with what results I refuse to say, because I want you to savor this jaundiced view of inner-party workings and how they destroy whatever traces of humanity those concerned might have had once. Well, this show is now yours for the viewing on an Acorn Media DVD (AMP 7117), and I suggest you grab it. It is due to appear on July 6, 2004; but I wanted to give you lots of warning. The disgusting conservative minister is played to perfection by Trevor Eve, while the equally evil (but just possibly unwitting bait in the trap) femme fatale is made very believable by Minnie Driver. But the show belongs to Juliet Stevenson as the wife who does what is considered (by men, of course) to be her duty in the most beautiful Iago-like way. My favorite part is the speech she gives to the wives of other conservative politicians, in which she thanks them sincerely for showing her that personal morality and feelings and family and true devotion must all be put aside for the sake of The Party. This Swiftian moment is nearly matched later when she tells someone about how her husband is such an accomplished liar that he has started to believe his own lies-as long as he is still speaking them. Do governments ever really change? In fact, the only sympathetic characters other than the wife (and that is a matter of opinion) are the two children. All the other male characters are smiling, foul Party-beings to whom "conservative" means nothing more than conserving their power and "truth" means nothing more than the most effective lie that will serve their turn. The three episodes have a total running time of 187 minutes and every minute is riveting. True to what television executives think the public wants, we get our usual quota of nipple shots (why do these actresses put up with this?) and the F-count is under 10. (Remember when they had to get special permission to say Damn at the end of "Gone With the Wind"?) There are some film-biogs at the end and an interesting essay by the author that you will have to read off the screen. But the play itself is top-notch. Again, grab this one."
A Strong, Satisfying and Amusing Story of Political Revenge
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 01/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an enormously satisying British television program involving political hypocrisy, personal corruption and revenge. It's a mixture of cynical humor and serious political observations. And it features great acting all around.

Duncan Matlock (Trevor Eve) is an up-and-coming Tory politician who's specialities are family values and ambition. He's married to Flora Matlock (Juliet Stevenson), who loves him and who has supported his climb up the Tory ranks for years. She's the epitome of the perfect political wife...smart, wealthy, loyal, socially adept but with a human touch, great at looking entranced at her husband on stage while he gives his speeches about values and family. When it's discovered he's had an affair with a former prostitute (Minnie Driver), she is devestated, but he pleads for forgiveness saying it was only a passing weakness. The Tory damage-control team, headed by Sir Donald Frazier (Ian Bannen), after weighing things for a bit, decides to swing behind Duncan and convices Flora that her husband is a changed man. She agrees to stay with him.

Then she learns Duncan's affairs go way back, that they are continuing, that he has a habit of using people, which includes her and the people who lead organizations trying to help battered women and familes, for his own ends. Flora sets out to seek her revenge...and does so with great subtlety. Duncan doesn't know what hit him until it's too late, and she gently forces Sir Donald and his inner-party big wigs to make some cynical choices. I'm not sure there's a male politician in the bunch who comes off very well -- they all seem to be self-satisfied, self-serving members of the same club. Flora beats them at their own game.

Juliet Stevenson is a first-rate acrtess, and she does a superb job. She moves from devotion to hurt to forgiveness to a strong, smart woman setting up hidden revenge with immense believeabilty. Her short speech before a group of Tory wives who call themselves The Conservative Christian Wives Club (this is after she has discovered the truth about her husband but is playing the loyal wife) is a funny, ironic piece of subversion. Trevor Eve is just about as good as the charming, believable, ambitious, hypocritical politician on the make.

"The Politican's Wife" was shown in three installments and runs just over three hours. There's not a dull moment. The DVD transfer, on one disc, is very good. This is the unedited UK version. The program was trimmed a bit when shown in the US to eliminate a flash or two of breast."