"Performance" Hedda Gabler (TV Episode 1993) Poster

(TV Series)

(1993)

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10/10
The definitive Hedda
banshee-liam10 December 2007
I have seen "Hedda Gabler" many times onstage and on film. As fine as several of the other actresses have been, no one has come close in my opinion to conveying the desperation that Hedda endures. Without a trace of mannerism or facile Victorian posing, Fiona Shaw shows us a woman not only of fury and ennui, but of thwarted tenderness and self-lacerating remorse. Her wincing regret over her own snide comments re someone's hat is painful to witness, and the way she sometimes stands with her arms folded behind her back, as if barely restraining herself from randomly striking someone, anyone, is a gesture that says as much about her as any of her dialogue. She and her brilliant director, Deborah Warner, rescue Hedda from the "harpy" archetype that less diligent hands have unjustly fashioned for her over the decades. (Though controversial to Ibsen purists at the time, the silent prologue Ms. Warner created for this production was as effective as any great overture ever created for the ear.) The supporting cast, which includes Stephen Rea, Donal McCann, Brid Brennan, and Nicholas Woodeson, is also first rate.
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10/10
The greatest performance of this role ever
Richard Kelly7 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I cannot tell you had good this is. Maybe it's best to quote the theatre critic of London's "The Guardian", who, when he saw the theatre production this film is based on opined: "the word, I think, has to be mind-blowing". And so it is: this production saves "Hedda Gabler" from the mire of over-familiarity and reconfigures it, not through a radical, wilful over-turning of the text, but through a real re-examination of the story. There is not one lazy moment, not one second where anyone plays the conventions and the clich├ęs - and the result is a piece of cinema that is as mind-blowing as the stage production. In Fiona Shaw's performance as Hedda, you see what I would suggest is certainly the greatest performance of this great role there has been - and I would suggest, one of the greatest performances ever filmed. It is THAT good - and no, I'm not related to the magnificent Ms. Shaw... She is superbly supported - notably by Stephen Rea as Eiljert Lovborg - in a production that will live in my mind forever. This is a must-see. A superb piece of work.
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8/10
Extremely good
notmicro19 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This ran on PBS Masterpiece Theater in the US. Fiona Shaw gives a ferociously good performance as Hedda; this is one of the great roles for an actress, almost a female "Hamlet". This production has a very intimate feel to it; the interiors are well-done and are appropriately claustrophobic at times. There is something about this production that kind of sneaks up on you; Fiona, unlike some other notable actresses who have filmed the role, carefully refrains from scenery-chewing that many others fall victim to. It becomes a very intimate, internal process. Hedda has been filmed a lot, and I had seen several of the prior versions, but it had never really "hit home" with me what the impact is on Hedda when the trap is finally sprung on her at the end; this one kind of quietly sneaks up, and clobbers you. Its a subtle, powerful production.
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