Love this miniseries- cheesy, but engaging
Shaz | Naples, FL USA | 04/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Everybody has some miniseries they have to watch every now and then. "The Thornbirds" maybe? Or perhaps it's "The Manions of America". For me and my sister, it's Barbara Taylor Bradford's "A Woman of Substance". Emma Harte (the older version played by "The King and I"'s Deborah Kerr)is a multimillionare and head of her own corporation. Four of her 5 children are greedy little buggers, and Emma becomes aware of a plot they've hatched to render her incompitent and declare themselves the legal heirs of her massive fortune. As Emma contemplates this, she falls asleep in her armchair, and through her dreams, we're transported back in time when young Emma (Jenny Seagrove) is a scullery maid for the Fairley family in their posh mansion. Emma meets Blackie O'Neal (played by the yummy Liam Neeson, who alone is worth watching this)and strikes up a lifelong friendship with him. Blackie is the first person to help Emma see that she, too, can be the head of her own fortune with careful planning and saving. Meanwhile, Emma falls in love with Edwin, the youngest Fairely son, and he loves her as well. When Emma becomes pregnant with Edwin's child, however, he withdraws and offers no support. So, Emma packs her bags and, with Blackie's help, finds a woman to stay with until her baby is born. This is just the first in a series of difficult events that begin to shape the woman Emma is to become. Her hatred for the Fairley family evolves into a lifelong goal to ruin them. She eventually marries a man named Joe and opens her first store (in which she is confronted by Adam Fairley, Edwins bully older brother, who, unsuccessfully, attempts to rape her. It is here that we first hear Emma's designs: "Here this now", she says to Adam, "I mean to ruin you...the whole Fairley family."). When Joe is killed in the war, Emma plunges herself in her stores, now a successful chain, but tends to neglect her children. Through it all, Emma survives- from losing her parents, to watching her brother have his leg amputated after a war injury, to meeting and losing the love of her life, Paul McGill (played by a very tan Barry Bostwick of "Spin City", who is meant to be Australian, but could have used some help w/ that poor on again/off again accent). Through it all, Emma conquers her enemies and her demons, sometimes at the expense of others. But, as she says, the secret of life is "to endure", and she does. It's a bit cheesy, but I fall for it every time. The book is wonderful, too, but VERY LONG. This miniseries is a decent adaptation from novel to screenplay. Also check out the sequel "Hold the Dream"."
Excellent book=Excellent Miniseries
K. Morgan | United States | 08/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A Woman of Substance is an excellent miniseries. The actors are great: Jenny Seagrove as young Emma and Deborah Kerr as the older Emma were wonderful. Liam Neeson as Blackie O'Neill was excellent as well. The location in which the miniseries was shot was great. It provided a great picture of the areas in which Emma lived throughout her life.
What I found most entertaining and just absolutely wonderful was the fact that this movie followed the book! I was completely thrilled while watching this movie that it so closely followed the book. I dislike watching a movie based on a book only to have things happen differently than the book. That is clearly not the case in this movie.
This DVD has a few extra features including an interview with Barbara Taylor Bradford and the filmographies of the actors. It also has an interview with Diane Baker who played Laura and was also the producer of the film. I found the interview with Barbara Taylor Bradford to be entertaining and informative. She seems to be a wonderful lady and it was great to hear her story and her writing history.
A Woman of Substance is an excellent movie based on an excellent book. Anyone who has read the book would love this movie. I think anyone who wants to read the book would just as well love the movie. It is a great movie to watch again and again!"
Drama at it's best! Breath taking!
V. DUBREUIL | Kennesaw, Georgia USA | 05/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A truly heartfelt drama that you can't get enough of! Emma Harte shows passion and endurance thru many unexpected tragedies. Emma Harte shows what "A Woman of Substance" truly means. From poverty to power, Emma rises. Even thru the deception by her own children. There has never been a friendship more real than that of Emma and Blackie (Liam Neeson). See this movie! Buy this movie! You'll want to see it over and over again!"
A Truly Excellent and Unforgettable Drama - Fantastic Find
V. DUBREUIL | 08/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A truly overlooked and under-rated piece of drama that told an unforgettable story. This review combined with the others should make that statement clearly fact. There are many of us who saw this piece and never forgot it's impact! I can not express how glad I am that I will be able to view this tale again. My mother and I watched it together originally and neither of us has forgotten it. This story touches multiple generations. I HIGHLY recommend this mini-series to anyone who is even slightly interested."