"I pre-ordered this dvd months ago, and I have to say it was worth the wait. The book could not have been easy to adapt. The novel is detailed and rich, and the plot is complicated. But the adaptation is excellent! Yes, some things were left out. Also, the movie does start a bit slowly (so did the book), and the part of Gentleman might have been miscast -- I was expecting someone more like Bruce Campbell. But the movie stands on its own as a literary piece. The movie and the book are both exceptional, but in different ways. The movie is great storytelling. In addition, the direction, acting, sets, and costumes are top notch. This is a very high quality production -- why can't American filmmakers make films like this?"
My favorite movie this year!
James Hatsis | Greensboro, GA USA | 01/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beautiful drama, suprising twists, true love. What else could you ask for in a movie? This has it all for me. The potential to be just another costume drama was there, but this movie far surpasses that description. Beautiful filming, great score. the dialogue is convincing and the actresses are wonderfull! see this movie you will not be sorry.
A reader | New York City | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This BBC made-for-TV two-parter is a wonderful adaptation of the novel by the same name. In typical BBC fashion, the Victorian era sets and costumes are authentic, the camera work is artful, and the acting is superb. Perhaps most importantly, the recreation is very faithful to the book. The author of the novel, Sarah Waters, has an amazing talent for storytelling, suspense, and rich characterizations. There are several revelations and twists in the plot that will really surprise you if you haven't read the book first.
The casting and acting are mostly excellent, including the Oscar-nominated actress Imelda Staunton. I look forward to seeing more films by the two leading ladies, Sally Hawkins and Elaine Cassidy, both of whom were believable and touching.
My only complaint is the casting of Rupert Evans as Gentleman. Having read the book, I pictured Gentleman a good ten years older than Evans. Evans does not express the authority, complexity and ambivalence inherent in Gentleman's personality; his Gentleman is a youthful, one-dimensional villain. Fortunately, the other performances and the production as a whole are strong enough that this failing did not detract from my overall appreciation of a very well-made, engrossing and heartfelt drama. "
Intense, believable tale of an illicit relationship
Rebecca Huston | On the Banks of the Hudson | 03/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After reading Sarah Waters' novel Fingersmith, I knew I had to take a look at the film adaptation of the story. A BBC production from 2005 of this tale of double crosses and forbidden love does a credible job of making a believable transition to the screen.
Set in London's underbelly in the 1860's, we see the world of Mrs. Sucksby (Imelda Staunton), a baby-farmer who takes in foundlings, and the materfamilias of a gang of thieves and a fence, Mr. Ibbs (David Troughton). In their little tribe of thieves -- or fingersmiths -- there is Sue Trinder (Sally Hawkins). Sue, unlike the other two thieves in the household, is rather cherished by Mrs. Sucksby, and has a privileged status as a sort of adopted daughter. Not that Sue is naive, mind you. She knows the rough and tumble ways of life at the bottom, but when a scheme is hatched by Gentleman (Rupert Evans) to defraud a gentlewoman, Sue is more than eager to join in the plot. After all, her take will be three thousand pounds, a goodly sum in that day and time.
The gentlewoman in question is Maud Lilly (Elaine Cassidy), the niece of a landowner, Mr. Lilly (Charles Dance) in the countryside. Briar, as the estate is known, is a crumbling, dark and downright sinister place. With a rather unpleasant childhood, Maud finds a sort of sanctuary at Briar, treated as a lady, wearing fine clothing, but there is something rotten at the very bottom of Briar, where she entertains her uncle's guests by reading his massive collection of books to them, and helping her uncle catalog his books as a secretary.
But then a young man appears in her life, Richard Rivers, young and charming and interested in Maud herself. He begs for her to marry him, to leave the dusty, dim world that her uncle inhabits, and know the freedom of London as his wife.
But here too, not all is as it seems, for Rivers is none other than Gentleman, and he has plotted for Sue to become Maud's lady's-maid and friend, and so, have Maud committed to an lunatic asylum, and he will gain control of Maud's fortune, with Sue receiving a share...
I really don't want to reveal more of the plot, as this is a story full of twists and turns, and some truly knockout punches. The emotional level in this film is high, but very believable, especially with the characters of Maud and Sue. The atmosphere is suitably dank and unnerving, but beautifully shot and directed by Aisling Walsh with Peter Ransley adapting the novel in the screenplay. While I had known what the story was going to be from reading the novel, I was hooked from the start, and followed eagerly along through the three-hour film, presented in two parts.
Parents should note that this film has some fairly questionable material, dealing as it does with Victorian pornography, and the intense emotions between two women. Those who find this objectionable should not watch this, as while the scenes are tastefully done, they're not masking over any details either. The scenes in the asylum are also fairly graphic, along with visuals of two hangings.
The DVD edition has some extras, with character overviews, a 'behind the scenes' featurette that has Sarah Waters speaking about her film, along with scene selections and a cast overview. The picture and sound quality are fairly crisp and clear.
I give this one an enthusiastic thumbs-up. While the content matter is a bit much for most audiences, if you can handle a lesbian love affair that isn't glossed over or shown for titillation's sake, you'll like this one. I did have problems with Sue's character at first, but when the big twist comes, I guarantee that you'll become a bit more sympathetic for her.
Happily recommended, with four solid stars."
endingstart | Canada | 07/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BBC does it again. The first time it was Tipping the Velvet, a much more saucy book and TV adaptation. This time, Fingersmith is more subtle but is marvellously done. If you are a fan of the book, then you will not be disappointed at all. At first glance I thought the two lead characters didn't really look like I would have imagined them to be. But as the movie went on they really grew into their characters and everything was wonderfully done. I thought it would be hard to do because the first part and second part of the book are in two different views of the two girls but the TV adaptation did a good job of that too. Costumes, sets, acting, accents, were all great!"