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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Memories of a seascape

Author: shrine-2
20 January 2000

Penelope Keeling has just had a heart attack, or so her doctor says, but she cannot tolerate the sights and sounds of impending death that surround her at the hospital. So against his orders, she goes home. She looks over her garden, and determines to clear away the weeds there, when suddenly a memory of the past flashes before her: a vision of her mother Sophie and her playing against a beautiful seascape. Her father is in the foreground, capturing the scene on canvas, and it isn't unlike his painting on her parlor wall called "The Shell Seekers" that she keeps because it's a document of the days when she was most happy.

It's a mighty vision, because in it lies the heart of Penelope's gift--the joy of living that her dead mother was able to pass on to her, a joy she so wishes she knew how to convey to her children--and can't. And in her frustration, she embarks on a journey to recapture that happiness again.

In its soft, hushed way, "The Shell Seekers" is a testament to what great television can be. John Pielmeier opens before us the mystery and grandeur of Rosamund Pilcher's story about maternal loss and love, and Angela Lansbury reveals sides in the embodiment of Pilcher's creation that reach something primal inside of you and takes root in you for what seems might be forever. I don't think I'll forget the ending to this movie as long as I live. It jerked tears that I never thought I had; the last time my heart was caught in my throat this hard was in one of the great crying parties of all time "Imitation of Life." And where Juanita Moore's problem was obvious, Angela Lansbury's is less clear. Her past suffering was brought on by the surprises that war springs on unsuspecting people and the usual entanglements brought on by hostile relatives, but the sorrow about her grown children is much more mysterious like the deep, blue sea Penelope seems to be stretching her arms out to. Lansbury has never been this pensive in a role, although she had a lot of practice on "Murder, She Wrote." But nothing there ever had this kind of lingering poignancy. With Anna Cateret, Patricia Hodge, and Christopher Bowen as her children; Denis Quilley as Hodge's lover; Sophie Ward as his mermaid of a daughter; Mark Lewis Jones as the gardener with a tender secret of his own; and Sam Wanamaker as the man Pen let get away. If Cornwall is as beautiful as Waris Hussein is able to show us in this movie, I hope to visit it one day.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Memories of Cornwall

Author: Nicholas Rhodes from Ile-de-France / Paris Region, France
30 August 2004

Although the plot of this film is a bit thin on the ground, this is made up for to a great extent by everything else .......... picture quality, sets, quality of the acting. The film is plastically very beautiful and serves to remind us that Cornwall is indeed one of the most beautiful parts of England especially seen under clear blue skies. When I was about seven years old I spent a glorious holiday there with my parents and never forgot it ! The actors in this film all put in splendid performances and the cameramen have obviously paid particular attention to lightig, the weather, the beauty of the gardens etc. The plot can get annoying at times with this continuous bickering amongst Lansbury's children and I don't really like seeing people fighting over inheritance or inheritance-to-be. I thought that was a speciality in France but the English seem to go in for it too. The film has some sad moments and makes ample use of flashbacks. I'm glad I bought the dvd of this as I will be able to watch it again and again as I probably missed some subtleties first time round. Not an action film by any stretch of the imagination but it will please those who like films about family relations etc. Quintessentially English, the story should definitely please in places like New Zealand, the USA and Australia. Overall, then, highly recommendable !

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

**Avoid** **this** **movie**!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Author: hopey4 from ventura, CA
8 January 2005

The book was one of the most evocative and compelling I've ever read. And I was very happy to see it was being made into what I thought would be a quality film. Unfortunately, the WHOLE point of the book was LOST in this TV version. Major plot elements were changed or dropped. There were only 3 good things that I can say about this version:

#1 Angela Lansbury was perfectly cast,

#2 The scenery was fabulous

#3 The acting was very good for a TV movie. But if you think you'll be viewing a faithful retelling of the classic "Shell Seekers"... forget it! Save your eyesight for the book! PLEASE!

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Disappointing rewrite

Author: trumphodge from Minnesota
27 February 2001

This could have been an excellent film--and 90% of it is. But for some inexplicable reason, Hallmark decided they needed a "happier" movie and rewrote crucial segments. I won't give away the changes but if you loved the book, you'll be outraged. The new dialogue also sticks out like a sore thumb.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Gooey as a Hallmark card

Author: Roedy Green from Victoria, BC. Canada
12 February 2015

This is a very slow paced film about a grandmother (Angela Lansbury) who spends all her time thinking about the past, and beating herself up for how selfish and greedy her children turned out. The writing is stilted and artificial, like little polished speeches rather than dialogue. It feels as if lifted from pop-psychology books. Nothing much actually happens except some soulful hugs and a lot of complaining.

There are scenes involving sea shells which are supposed to be cosmically significant. It reminds me of the kinds of films my friends made as teenagers full of Deep Inner Meaning.

The adult children are like the rude aristocratic brats lifted from an Agatha Christie novel. It has a non-believable too-happy ending.

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