This award-winning motion picture is a must-see adaptation of Thomas Hardy's timeless tale! After being away at school, Grace (Emily Woof -- THE FULL MONTY, VELVET GOLDMINE) feels she's outgrown her rural hometown and chil... more »dhood sweetheart, a simple woodsman named Giles (Rufus Sewell -- EXTREME OPS, A KNIGHT'S TALE). She longs to travel abroad with the rich widow Mrs. Charmond (Polly Walker -- 8 1/2 WOMEN, EMMA, ENCHANTED APRIL) and marries a handsome young doctor. But Grace soon learns that culture is no substitute for true love. Honored with awards at numerous international film festivals, the first-rate cast of THE WOODLANDERS brings this treasured tale to life!« less
"A shorter version of a longer 1997 film of one of Thomas Hardy's lesser-known novels has been released in America on this bare-bones DVD. It will please viewers unfamiliar with the entire film as much as displease those who have seen the original or read the novel, the author's favorite of all his works. Characters, backstories and nuances that are Hardy trademarks are given short shrift in both versions. Not to worry, however. Newcomers to "The Woodlanders" will like this re-edited film, reduced and refocused as it is, because it is so well cast, acted, directed and photographed in beautiful locations. The film confirms that Hardy is as superb a storyteller as he is a social commentator.
A timber merchant sends his daughter (Emily Woof) off to school but welcomes home less a country lass than an educated woman who is now ill at ease among her kith and kin, including the young woodcutter (Rufus Sewell) she promised to marry. Instead, she marries a class-conscious doctor (Cal Macaninch) on the insistence of her father, who seeks to improve her station. Everyone is at cross-purposes in Hardy stories (he rarely writes villains) and they always come to grief. This one is no exception, except that it is exceptionally well-told, even in this shortened version. "The Woodlanders" received a handful of awards in England and deserved every one of them. "
V. S. Arnett | Kentucky USA | 08/06/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good film but I have seen the original version (region 2) and sadly this region 1 DVD is missing crucial scenes, leaving some glaring holes in the story, particularly concerning the excellent Polly Walker's character, Mrs. Charmond. Had I not read the novel and seen the original film, I would have missed some important elements. The cast is top rate, particularly Rufus Sewell and Emily Woof, in her first starring role."
OK, but certainly should have been longer
PTR | Bon Aqua, TN USA | 04/11/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Previous reviews go a long way toward explaining what's wrong with this movie -- it's been injudiciously and unwisely cut! As it stands, it's not a bad use of an hour and a half -- compared to what's probably showing on network TV at the time. But it could have been great had the US distributor left it alone as it was shown in Britain.
I agree with previous reviewers who mention that the story seems rushed and the characterizations somewhat superficial. What a lost opportunity."
Viewer | USA | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so excited that this is finally coming out on DVD. This was shown in England, and is a wonderful rendition of Thomas Hardy's novel The Woodlanders, and perfectly cast. It is great to see some of his less popular, but excellent, novels being recognized and brought to the screen. Perfect for any fan of Hardy, 19th Century novels or anything about rural England."
What were they thinking?
Christina Billings | USA | 06/02/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I just finished watching The Woodlanders and was really disappointed. Not because the acting or movie quality were bad but because it has been edited terribly. Other reviewers commented on this also-unfortunately I haven't had a chance to see the original version of this film, but I can still tell the extent of important scenes that were cut out. Everything moves along too quickly and there are many plot holes and short sequences which seem pasted together without much "flow" to them. What a sad injustice the editor has done to this movie. I did enjoy what there was to be had but it could have been so much better. I just don't understand what they were thinking. It's not as if the movie is overly long. Another half hour or so would have made a world of difference and improved the film greatly. I'd like to recommend this movie based on the excellent performances, music, and scenery, but unfortunately even they couldn't save the botched up editing in my opinion. Guess I will see if I can get hold of an original copy of Woodlanders as I'd really like to watch the complete film as it should have been."