Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Tess of the d'Urbervilles|
Actors: Justine Waddell, Jason Flemyng, Oliver Milburn, John McEnery, Lesley Dunlop
Director: Ian Sharp
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Studio: A&e Home Video Release Date: 03/25/2003 Run time: 180 minutes Rating: Nr
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Wish I Could Give This Video 6-Stars!!
anna-joelle | Malaysia | 07/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Justine Waddell is truly brilliant in this skillful adaptation of Thomas Hardy's famous classic. Her "Tess" is breathtakingly beautiful without being at all self-conscious of her looks, and is genuinely charming and adoring. Whenever Tess cries (and she does that A LOT due to her tragic circumstances), it's impossible not to be affected or to reach quickly for the box of Kleenex.This is a sad and compelling story set in the later part of the 19th century, about a simple country girl named Tess who is the oldest child in a poor family with many children. Due to her family's poverty, she is forced, at 16, to find work (i.e. taking care of the fowl farm) at the great House of a family called the D'Urbervilles (whom Tess and her family are led to believe are their distant relations). Naive Tess (who then knows nothing about the "dangers" of men), is quickly courted and seduced by the young lord of the House, Alec (who has set his sights on her since the first day they meet), although she doesn't love him. In her distress, she later packs up and leaves the House to return home; both Tess and Alec not realizing that she is already carrying his child. The child is born but later dies of illness. Tess leaves home a second time and finds work as a dairymaid in a distant place where she meets and falls in love with Angel Clare, the handsome and well-respected son of a clergyman. Angel, who is unaware of Tess's "past", falls in love with her and holds her in awe for her virtue, beauty, grace and goodness of heart. Tess tries to tell him of her past, but each time, fate cruelly intervenes and she never gets her chance... until it is too late. On their wedding night, Angel confesses to Tess that he has been promiscuous in the past and begs for her forgiveness. Tess readily forgives him and with this opening provided by Angel, she proceeds to tell him of her past relations with Alec and the resultant child, truly believing that Angel will forgive her as he himself has been forgiven for his own past sin. But this is not to be.... and great tragedy (Hardy-style) ensues.I loved the novel, and find this adaptation to be one of the most supreme of period dramas ever produced. The casting, acting, directing, cinematography and screenplay are simply perfect.I particularly enjoyed the scenes where Alec is teasing and courting Tess e.g. the very picturesque and charming moment at the strawberry garden. It is also endearing and funny to watch Alec teaching Tess how to whistle ("whistling" being necessary as his mother, the eccentric matriach of the House, insists that Tess whistles to her caged birds every morning as part of her duties). Another funny and delightful scene is when Alec asks Tess for a good-bye kiss after failing to persuade her to stay on at the House. She immediately offers him her cheek (for the kiss), glares angrily at him and says: "See how well you have mastered me!"Inevitably, there are slight deviations from the novel e.g. Tess's sister, Liza-Lu does not appear in the last scene (as in the book). Also, Alec's character is portrayed in a better light in the movie i.e. he frequently shows his sincerity in loving Tess and persistently offering to take care of her. He has many faults.... but he does love her and has never abandoned her once he finds out about her destitute situation. Can't say the same for Angel's character, though. He can't accept Tess because he deems Alec to be her "husband by nature" and not himself. Angel may also be suffering from broken dreams and a broken heart, but with his hypocrisy and evident cruelty, he hurts and crushes Tess more than Alec ever does.This series (4-hour long) is a masterpiece one can watch over and over again, despite its tragic storyline. I love the theme song which is a beautiful melody that stayed in my head for days! In my personal opinion, Justine Waddell deserves an Oscar for her brilliant performance, and one fine production like this is worth 10 of Hollywood's blockbuster-"Titanic"-type movies. Just watch this video and see if you don't agree!"
"I must tell you of my past..."
CodeMaster Talon | Orlando, FL United States | 04/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A&E's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is an excellent made-for-TV adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel. A powerful story about the true nature of honor and the futileness of running from one's past, "Tess" is no less relevant today than when it was written over one hundred years ago.Justine Waddell stars as Tess Durbyfield, an innocent country girl who goes to live with wealthy relatives. After becoming pregnant by her rakish cousin (well played by the smirking Jason Flemyng) and then losing her baby, she attempts to embark on a new life with the upright Angel Claire (gorgeous Oliver Milburn). Fate, however, has no intention of letting her off the hook.Great performances (especially by Milburn, in a tricky role), lush photography and good production values make this well worth checking out. The plot follows the book fairly faithfully, with only a few minor changes, and the Hardy spirit remains intact. Highly recommended, especially for fans of A&E's Literary Series.GRADE: A-"
Tragic Story of an English Rose
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 10/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On the day of the May dance, Tess' father discovers he is a lineal descendant of the D'Urbervilles. While he celebrates his good fortune, his daughter dances in her creamy dress with her friends wearing lace shawls and bonnets. There is a sense of peace and happiness in a secluded part of the world. A place you never imagine could foster such exquisite pain.
Tess (Justine Waddell) seems reticent and reluctant. She is torn between her responsibility to her family and finding her own happiness. In harsh times, she chooses to try her best at finding support for her family.
In her reluctance, she casts a mysterious spell about herself and this seems to make her irresistible. Riding alone with a handsome man in a mysterious forest seems a fantasy at first. Then, when she draws the wrong man to her inner circle and he takes her by force, we doubt she will be able to love again. Once her mother releases her into this wolf's forest, she is never safe again. His love is damaging to her in all the worst ways.
Not only does she become pregnant, her child dies and she must now carry this secret with her to her grave or be shunned by men who are more understanding of their own lusts, than of her forced submission after only a casual dalliance. Since she doesn't love Alec (Jason Flemying), she decides not to marry him. Although, if she did marry him, she could have lived in a beautiful Victorian mansion complete with wood floors and ferns in planters on pedestals. She is offered wealth again and again.
I love this movie for so many reason. Not only can you escape to the English countryside, there are beautiful scenes of family life by fireplaces and country life on farms. Milk sloshes in wooden buckets and milkmaids are still innocent enough to cry when kissed.
Just when we think Tess is safe, she falls in love with Angel Clare (Oliver Milburn). He sees her as a goddess, perhaps Demeter. Little does he know how true his words are, as Demeter was the goddess of fertility and was also raped. They played with this idea throughout the movie in subtle ways. Tess is seen holding grain, she is very fertile and she is raped. Through Tess' experiences with suffering and grief, she learns to empathize with others and eventually almost sacrifices her body for the love of her family.
Then, her past comes back to haunt her in the worst ways. This is tragedy at its best, if there is such an idea. I loved this adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel. However, I kept waiting for scenes I'd thought I'd seen before. Then, I realized I had mistaken this movie for Roman Polanski's 1980 adaptation. Both movies are excellent and will keep your attention right to the last second. Now I have a good excuse to watch "Tess." If you love comparing adaptations, it is well worth the extra time.
Incredible acting, gorgeous scenery and a tragedy with so much irony and drama, you can't believe anyone could have luck this bad. Or was it just decisions the characters made in the direction of their own tragic ends? Should Tess have followed her heart to begin with and would that have made all the difference? Should you really tell your lover all your faults on your wedding night? This movie is not only stunning in its beauty, it also makes you think on a deeper level about a number of situations and how you would deal with them if you were Tess.
One of the most compelling tragedies I've ever seen and I'm happy to say I enjoyed this adaptation as much as the 1980 version. Both are almost three hours in length. Not really movies you just watch on a whim.
Movie Food: Strawberries!
~The Rebecca Review"
"And there I met a man named Alec...Alec D'Urberville..."
Leslie Thompson | a mid-atlantic state, USA | 08/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I became obsessed with this movie during my senior year of high school - we watched it in English class, which took an entire week. We never read the book for that class, but I read it soon after, and I believe this adaptation is mostly faithful.
Tess is my favorite Hardy novel next to The Return of the Native. Justine Waddell's performance is excellent, as she truly embodied "innocence" transformed into a suicidal, cold woman, no longer caring about her future because of the men who betrayed and ruined her.
I hated Alec, naturally, but I hated Angel even more in some ways. What a hypocrite, telling Tess that he couldn't love her, didn't want to see her anymore because he was only in love with her purity, and she wasn't really pure. Never mind that the rape wasn't her fault - "You were more sinned against" he admitted, though he still wouldn't accept her.
And I definitely considered it rape, not consensual sex/seduction (Tess admitting that she had some "feelings" for Alec didn't make it consensual). Makes me sick, especially since he wasn't pure either. The wretched double standard rears its ugly head yet again. Anyway, I'm inclined to believe that Angel would have rejected her even if it had been a totally brutal rape with no feelings/attraction involved. She was damaged goods in Angel's eyes, and it's tragic that this sort of thing still goes on today.
I always enjoy the atmosphere at the end of the movie...the colors, the mood. Tess seems a bit psychotic, complete with the glazed eyes, wandering around in her nightgown repeating, "It's too late." And a bit later, having changed into a gorgeous dark blue dress, she walks quickly through a quiet, wealthy town by the sea - Sandbourne. With sounds of seagulls, so tranquil despite the characters' turmoil.
By the final scene, I hate Angel more than ever. He could have prevented so much if he'd loved her completely, as a husband should. She had no other choice but allow Alec to take over the role of supportive husband, to deliver her family from poverty.
And so it appears that there are two villains to this story. One appeared too early in Tess' life - the other, too late."