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John Strictland (Anthony Hopkins) has just turned forty and is consumed with dissatisfaction. He has a family and a successful career, but he's bored with it all and thinks he's doomed to a life of misery. He meets and falls in love with a young heiress and moves toward divorcing his wife for her, but then fate steps in and changes everything.
This 1983 BBC miniseries is rather predictable and low on drama but Anthony Hopkins is so convincing, so mesmerizing as the tortured husband that one watches just to see and hear him. His flawless acting stands out all the more because his costars are terrible. Ciaran Madden, as his wife, is supposed to be dull but she goes beyond that to forgettable, and Lise Hilboldt, as his lover, is amateurish and recites her lines without conviction; there is no romantic chemistry between them. The story plods along at a snail's pace, full of unnecessary characters and subplots and would be quite dull if not for Hopkins' masterful portrayal. His John Strictland is thoughtful and complicated, reading and reflecting upon Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Illyich" and seeing many sad similarities between that title character and himself.
Fans of Anthony Hopkins will appreciate his work here but the story itself is uninspired.
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