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Anna Bouverie (Lindsay Duncan, Rome) chafes at her limited life as a vicar's wife in a small English town. When her husband Peter (Jonathan Coy, from the Horatio Hornblower series) is passed over for a promotion and her daughter is bullied at school, Anna gets a job at a supermarket in another town--a small act of independence that sets off gossip, domestic fights, and worse. When Anna meets another man who seems to understand her frustrations, she stumbles into an affair. The Rector's Wife, in its broad outlines, combines a romance novel plot with feminist themes, but its real strength is the richness of the characters, both in the writing and the performances. Duncan's performance is wonderfully three-dimensional and seemingly background character keep popping out with vivid details (Prunella Scales, Fawlty Towers, and Pam Farris, Rosemary & Thyme, have great scenes). This four-episode mini-series is sort of a British version of An Unmarried Woman--less concerned with psychology and more attuned to the social pressures of a small town, but nonetheless an engaging portrait of a woman struggling towards independence.
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