In the opulent st. Petersburg of the empire period eugene onegin is a jaded but dashing aritocrat a man often lacking in empathy who suffers from restlessness melancholy and finally regret. Through his best friend lensky o... more »negin is introduced to the young tatiana. Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 09/14/2004 Starring: Ralph Fiennes Liv Tyler Run time: 100 minutes Rating: R Director: Martha Fiennes« less
"This is a truly wonderful film. It is an adaptation of the 19th century romantic poem by Alexander Pushkin about the tragic love affair between Evgeny Onegin (Ralph Fiennes) and Tatyana Larina (Liv Tyler). Evgeny has inherited his uncle's provincial estate and goes to the country to put his affairs in order. While there, he befriends Vladimir (Toby Stevens) who introduces him to Tatyana, the sister of his fiancé. Tatyana falls madly in love with Evgeny, but he brutally rejects her and leaves to return to St. Petersburg. Upon returning years later to find her married, his regrets ignite into a passionate and obsessive love for her.There has been some criticism of the fact that this film was produced by Ralph Fiennes to give a project to his sister Martha (director) and brother Magnus (original music). Well, if this is the high quality wrought from Fiennes nepotism, we need more such collaborations. In her feature film directorial debut, Martha Fiennes gives us outstanding imagery, precise period renderings, innovative camera work, and dramatic lighting. The sets, locations, costumes and props were fabulous. I especially loved the furniture. The scenes on the dock by the mill in the fog were eerie and chilling. One shot of Liv Tyler in a rowboat, shot through out-of-focus reeds in the foreground, was pure art. The extreme close-up of the inking of the love letter added to the power of the emotions being written. Remi Adefarasin (`Elizabeth') added wondrous cinematography to the list of filmmaking kudos.Ralph Fiennes delivers another superb performance as Evgeny. In the early scenes, he is cavalier, self absorbed, and arrogant to the point of being despicable. His stoical dismissal of Tatyana was ice cold. In the later scenes, he delivers a character so pathetically tormented by love that he wins back our sympathies.This is by far the best performance I have seen by Liv Tyler. She was poised, graceful and lovely, and gave an extremely dignified performance. With this role, she has proven that she can move beyond the troubled teen type and play a character with substance.This is intelligent and inspired filmmaking. I rated it a 9/10. The pacing is deliberate, so action junkies will want to pass on this film. However, for those who can savor a compelling love story with splendid imagery, this film should not be missed."
Anna Otto | Seattle, WA United States | 12/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would like to provide an additional perspective from someone who knows Russian and read Pushkin's novel several times in the original language. I believe if one is to enjoy this novel in English, prose is the only way to achieve it, and this movie certainly does the job. It's not the most faithful adaption, nor could it possibly be. The original is timeless and beautiful... and let's keep it on its pedestal. The movie, however, is something completely different - and it's all the better for it.This is a wildly romantic fable about disillusionment, cynicism, and their clash with moral strength and commitment. The title character is so sated with life and its excesses that he looks and wants for nothing anymore, believing all that this world can offer him is meaningless. To his great misfortune (or is it fortune?), he is proven wrong. There are several things that Martha Fiennes, director, does right here: she extracts every ounce of talent from Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler (her best work to date - she needs more of such roles), she creates an atmosphere of longing that doesn't release the viewer until the credits roll on the screen, and she sticks true to the characters' dimensions. The movie is never boring or slow. Music is so well matched to action that one marvels at it - Tchaikovsky's opera has a contender in Onegin's score.Also, the DVD itself is very well-made - quality is excellent, there are plenty of extra features, the interviews with the cast are especially insightful, and the director's commentary is like icing on the cake.From someone very skeptical about "period pieces" and any adaptations of Russian literature by English directors, I must say... we need more of such movies. I will be the first in line for the next work from Martha, whatever it may be about."
Beautiful tale of love
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 02/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Somebody needs to give Ralph Fiennes' sister more projects, if they turn out like this one. An adaptation of Pushkin's romantic poem, this is a romance with feeling and a fantastic costume drama to boot. "Onegin" is a truly beautiful movie with excellent direction, and great performances by Fiennes and Liv Tyler.Dissipated playboy Evgeny Onegin (Ralph Fiennes) inherits the country estate of his late uncle and travels there to decide what to do with it. There he befriends a rather excitable young man, Vladimir Lensky (Toby Stephens), who introduces him to the family of his fiancee. The fiancee's sister, the beautiful Tatyana Larina (Liv Tyler), catches Onegin's eye and his fancy. She falls in love with him, but he kindly rejects her.A crisis separates Onegin from the Larina family, when Vladimir takes a warning the wrong way, challenges Onegin to a duel, and is killed. He leaves on travels, and a cousin tries to marry Tatyana off, even though she doesn't want to marry without love. Six years later, he returns to St. Petersburg and finds Tatyana is living there -- but is married to another man.It's a simple plot, and definitely one where you wonder what will happen in the end. You wonder if Tatyana and Onegin will be together, you wonder if the end will be happy or sad, and you even wonder if both of them will live to the end. With a minimum of effort, Martha Fiennes makes us care deeply about Tatyana (a sympathetic character) and Onegin (a not-so-sympathetic character). The surroundings reflect what is going on -- the windy cold of St. Petersburg, the murky gray morning of the duel, and the sunny afternoon where Tatyana watches Onegin from her hidden boat. Another good effect that Fiennes uses is sound, especially after Vladimir is killed: Tatyana rushes into her house, crying and telling her mother and sister what happened. There is no sound, no music. All we see are the family's anguished faces, and it is all the more effective that way. The sweeping sets and costumes are outstandingly lush and beautiful.Liv Tyler does an excellent job as Tatyana (my only quibble is that the hairstyles and clothes are definitely not what she should wear). She embodies the right combination of passion and quiet, like a statue that stays cool, distant and untouchable, until the statue cracks and all her emotions spill out. We gradually see that for all Tatyana's dreaminess and seeming spaciness, she's as solid and upright as a pillar. Ralph Fiennes is equally good at making us like Onegin, an idle playboy with a dislike of responsibility, who starts the movie daydreaming about a courtesan. And even though it was his own fault that he missed happiness with Tatyana, we feel sorry for him and wish that somehow their problems could be ironed out. His gradual awakening to real human feeling at Vladimir's death is one of the most powerful moments in the entire movie. There are also good supporting performances from Harriet Walter and Lena Headey as Tatyana's distant mother and flighty sister.The romantics among you will love "Onegin," and probably will be shedding tears at the finale. Amazing actors and direction that will knock your socks off, and one you should definitely see."
An incredible film from the vonFiennes Family Artists
Margaret Magnus | 06/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've heard somewhere that Ralph Fiennes conceived this film solely to give his sister a project to direct and his brother a film to score. If so, then please by all means, do it again, Ralph! Onegin does not fail to stay true to the text, Eugene Onegin, it's based on, and evokes the melancholy splendor and chilling depth of Russian literature. This has to be Liv Tyler's finest performance, hands down. She carries herself with the elegance, passion, romance, naivte and heartbreak that Tatanya possesses on the page. Ralph Fiennes does indeed do a fine job of Eugene Onegin, presenting a phenomenal turn from telling Tatyana to forget him to being consumed by passion for her. In the many silent periods of the film there is such an intensity far greater than any action film, and the dialogue cuts you like a cold Russian winter breeze. This is one of those now-rare films where the true emphasis is on the story. Magnus Fiennes' score fits the film perfectly, drawing on Russian themes as well as classical music for inspiration, and Martha Fiennes could not have been a more perfect director.
It has my highest recommendation I can give to a film, and should not be missed."
Margaret Magnus | Francestown, NH USA | 07/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are two theories of translation -- one that you should stick as literally to the original as possible, the other that you should take certain liberties to get a good end result. I adhere to the views of the latter school.Pushkin has managed to move one of the greatest nations on the earth to the core, to unify them for 200 years. Many Russians would say Evgenii Onegin is Russia's greatest literary work. But the original is in rhyme, a rhyme that feels sort of baroque and fairy-tale-ish to me, and that part of it doesn't translate well to the modern English-speaking range of sentiment.A Russian sculptor friend of mine once asked me what the difference was between art and decoration, and when I had no answer, he said, "Decoration is about many things. Art is about one Thing."Onegin is about one thing, and that one thing is faithfully preserved in this film. The film leaves out lots of lesser things, which point to this one thing, but you have to make choices to fit the world into two hours. That one thing is heart and mind of Evgenii -- what makes a man say no to that which he loves and wants above everything else? What makes a man deceive himself into believing he (and even she) don't want it? What becomes of such a man?God is great.Tatyana sees right through him even in her moment of greatest agony and she never wavers. It makes me dizzy to think how much pain I might have been spared had I had such insight at 17. And that aspect of Pushkin's story strikes me as beautifully unrealistic. As Pushkin said, "A great story must be a little... hmmm... 'glupovat'..." Perhaps 'dorky' would serve as a translation?Ralph and Liv act beautifully. (I hadn't given Liv Tyler sufficient benefit of the doubt -- she understands her role and conveys such depth to it.) But I think first prize must go to the director for seeing this one clearly."