This dramatic romance, set in northern England in the 1830s, centers around Riah Millican, a strong-minded miner's widow who takes a job as housekeeper to the reclusive Percival Miller. He gives her gifts - even educates ... more »her children - until Riah finds out the perverted motive behind his generosity and vows to leave his house forever. Miller, however, still exerts a hold over Riah. Will Biddy Riah's bright but willful daughter, ever find the happiness and freedom that have eluded her mother as she catches the eye of a wealthy young man?« less
A good historical drama with an uplifting message.
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just saw this movie and it left a good impression on me. I enjoyed the movie although a few of the points were unclear to me because I have not read the book. This is the reason I did not rate it 5 stars. The story concerns a mother and her three children who become homeless at the beginning of the movie. She eventually finds a home doing work as a housekeeper for a crusty retired school teacher. The relationship between the teacher and the mother and her children is a major part of the first hour of the movie. There were some surprising twists to this part of the story. The second half concerns one of the children, Bridgette, who was taught reading, writing, Latin and French by the retired teacher. Her problems in finding employment in Victorian England as a lower class person with an education and all the problems this causes show how class conscious the people, upper and lower class, of that period were. This is also a romance story because Bridgette falls in love with one of the men of the manor where she is working. The resolution of the story was satisfying and I would like to read the book now to find out about the rest of the story."
A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 07/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This international award winning adaptation of Catherine Cookson's best selling book of the same name should delight Ms. Cookson's devoted fans and anyone else who enjoys period pieces in which class conflicts are the central theme.Set in England in the 1840s, a desperate widow with three children, two boys and a girl, takes the post of housekeeper to a crusty member of the gentry who lives in solitary shabby splendor in a home that has seen better days. Living in genteel poverty, he is intrigued by the fact that his housekeeper and her children are literate. Moved by this family who has infused some interest into his formerly desiccated life, he decides to dedicate some personal effort to educating the children. Unfortunately, he has a dark side that causes a rift in the family he seems to have adopted as his own. Alienated from the oldest son who has little interest in learning, he continues to teach the other two children. The daughter, in particular, thirsts for knowledge and she takes to his tutoring as a duck takes to water. Consequently, she develops a deep affection for him, which he reciprocates. When he dies, he leaves her with an appreciation for education and books.After his death, however, her mother, angered by the terms of her late employer's will, forces her daughter to go into service as a laundress in a wealthy household in order to earn an income. There, the daughter's intelligence, literacy, and education causes endless trouble, both upstairs and downstairs, and class conflicts begin to raise their ugly head. When certain events transpire in the household that cause her to escape her drudgery, her life takes an unexpected turn, and the world soon becomes her oyster.This is a handsome production with wonderful performances by the entire cast. It is sure to delight those who enjoy period pieces, as well as those who enjoy the novels of the late Catherine Cookson."
A review on Catherine Cookson
Marionbrodie | San Diego CA..USA | 07/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I adore all of Catherine Cooksons books, and this one is no exception.. The mood and feelings of total lack and abject poverty are captured so well, especially for a single mother with children trying to do her best for her children and serve the master... In order to completely understand Catherine Cookson, you have to know about her amazing life story, it was incredibly cruel and she lived in such poverty. Her mother was employed in these large country homes, cleaning these houses and being very underpaid and overworked [also the ''work houses'' in England were dreaded by the working classes..Charlie Chaplans fans will remember only too well] so her description was from not only what her mother told her but from first hand accounts and seeing the plight of so many who were employed under the worst conditions that she came to know about these things first hand... It was shocking, very sad and must have been totally depressing for the many who had to endure under horrendous conditions not only to feed themselves and their children, but having to put up with loathsome owners who abused them in so many ways...
I am from Northumberland in England, [the cold frozen north] I grew up there and already knew a lot of the stories which my mother told...stories first hand and stories passed down...[there was such incredibly poverty..Miss Cookson and her mother were a part of that]
There is also a great deal of written information about Miss Cookson, and the area which is called ''Cookson Country''... I have always thought of the intolerable conditions and situations that she and her mother had to endure..
It is so amazing that in later life [my family knew her] she was so incredibly kind and generous, and I feel a credit to her generation... I have been thrilled with the adaptations of her books...and highly recommend them... Amazingly, she knew how to write and her stories I think are an incredible witness to the horrendous conditions for those 'domestics' during that period.. "
Lawyeraau | 03/05/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I would have to say that to-date, this is my least favorite of the films made based on Catherine Cookson's books. I think this film would have been greatly improved if it were an hour or so longer. The film feels rushed. We are not given the opportunity to get to know the characters very well. I much prefered The Dwelling Place and The Black Candle."
Dark Period Drama
SereneNight | California, USA | 10/10/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"An impoverished young widow enters into service as a maid to a creepy old pederast in his mansion in England. After the pederast makes improper advances to her son, he blackmails her into staying in the house, and preventing her from marrying her commoner boyfriend. The second half involves the daughter of the young widow, who must enter into service after their employer dies.
This was a very strange story, very dark and deep. I admit I didn't care that much for the first half since the master was a creepy guy, and I felt bad for the poor widow. The romance wasn't very strong. I did like the second half involving Biddy and her troubles as a servant.
I'd give this 3 stars. It wasn't my favorite, and the subject matter was a tad dark for my taste."