HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Betterman
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Mirai
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  French Lieutenant's Woman, The Waiting And Wondering
Year: 1981
Director: Karel Reisz
Stars: Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Leo McKern, Penelope Wilton, Hilton McRae, Emily Morgan, Charlotte Mitchell, Lynsey Baxter, Jean Faulds, Peter Vaughan, Colin Jeavons, Liz Smith, Patience Collier, Richard Griffiths, David Warner, Alun Armstrong
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Anna (Meryl Streep) is an American actress who is making a film in England, and during the production she starts an affair with her co-star Mike (Jeremy Irons), in spite of them both being married. This relationship mirrors the one in the film, called The French Lieutenant’s Woman, where Anna plays the title character Sarah Woodruff, an outcast in the seaside town of Lyme Regis where she spends hours standing on the harbour wall known locally as The Cobb, staring out to sea after her lost love, though the townsfolk fail to see her as romantic and more of a figure of disdain. Mike meanwhile plays Charles Henry Smithson, who has recently become engaged to wealthy industrialist’s daughter Ernestina (Lynsey Baxter) – but Sarah turns his head.

It took over a decade for John Fowles’ novel to reach the big screen, such was the daunting task of adapting a complex work like that, a book packed with digressions, commentary on the action and even different endings for us to choose which we preferred. Harold Pinter was the man who stepped up to pen the screenplay, and he and director Karel Reisz came up with a clever method of staying true to the source’s effects of modern observations on Victorian mores, which was to make it as plain as possible we were watching an artificial construct. Thus we were able to judge the behaviour of all four of the characters Streep and Irons were playing from the two perspectives the film offered to us.

Which was all very well, but you did begin to wonder quite quickly whether the film within the film was supposed to be any good or not. Was it some swooning romantic escapade that was intended to sweep the audience along in its passions or was it merely some potboiler for the sort of audience who wouldn’t dream of attending popular cinema at its most blockbuster-y and wanted a tasteful diversion without being challenged too much? Without that grounding in our reactions, we were at sea, as much as the unseen French Lieutenant was, in the plots, though Anna seems to take the love triangle in the movie less seriously than Mike does judging by how their part concluded, and one supposed enigma in a Pinter script was a given.

There were certainly plenty of chances for a selection of excellent British character actors to support Streep and Irons, often with just one scene alone to make their mark, so you would see Peter Vaughan show up at his place of work, or David Warner as the world’s sternest lawyer, and so forth, leaving the listless viewer to play the “hey, it’s that guy!” game as the drama unfolded at a length that really didn’t justify what was a predictable yarn. But was it predictable by design, so Fowles could adorn it with his commentary and conceits, or was it because it really wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before in a thousand Sunday night TV dramas and Reisz and Pinter were struggling to justify its appearance in a motion picture?

You had to acknowledge craftsmen of their ability knew what they were doing, it’s not as if they were out of their depth in the movie making lark, yet what they presented us with was going to appeal to the sort of audience for whom good taste was a prerequisite in their entertainment, not to say the art they appreciated, and everyone else whose proclivities leaned more towards having a laugh, a touch of excitement and the odd surprise or two in something more common to the general idea of a night out at the flicks would be abandoned as Sarah and Mike were far too cold as personalities, never mind their fictional counterparts, to be truly engaging. However, should you be keen to plan a holiday destination, Lyme Regis and Lake Windermere looked very nice, and indeed saw a boom in tourism as a result of this movie. Nevertheless, it was too arch in its assembly with too little reward for those who stayed the course to supply a compelling story, there was always the feeling we were taking a step back from the action no matter what was happening, and that was alienating in this context. Music by Carl Davis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2521 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Karel Reisz  (1926 - 2002)

Czech-born director Karel Reisz fled his home country to escape the Nazis and settled in Britain. On film, after an association with the Free Cinema Movement he made an impact with important kitchen sink drama Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, thriller remake Night Must Fall, cult favourite Morgan - A Suitable Case for Treatment, biopic Isadora, The Gambler, Vietnam war drama Who'll Stop the Rain? and The French Lieutenant's Woman.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: