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Young Dutch landscape architect Meneer Chrome comes to a remote English estate where Thomas Smithers lives with his wife, Juliana. Smithers is determined to leave as his legacy a fabulous garden, to be carved from a wild patch of land beside his home. Chrome receives written instructions from his unseen master via a secretary, and the master is Juliana's cousin, Fitzmaurice, who had romance with Juliana when they were young and plans to make Thomas bankrupt via setting up extravagant garden and to make Juliana come back to him. Written by
Kiss off more mundane entertainment and watch this captivating film instead
Thomas (Pete Postlethwaite) and his beautiful wife, Julianna (Greta Scacchi) live in England around the beginning of the 19th century. They used to reside in town but have since moved to a large estate in the country. This has upset Julianna, as she loves company, games, and excitement. To help smooth things over, Thomas plans to have a gorgeous formal garden installed near the house for Julianna'e enjoyment and as a place for her to entertain guests. He hires Meneer (Ewan McGregor) to plan the gardens, at almost unlimited expense. Secretly, however, Meneer is not the famous gardener he is supposed to be but, rather, an impostor. A cousin of Julianna's (Richard E. Grant) has arranged for Meneer to pose as the horticulture expert because he wants the young gardener to bleed the finances of Thomas dry, to settle old scores. Thomas and Julianna have a beautiful only child, a daughter, Anna (Carmen Chaplin), for since Anna's birth, Julianna has been barren. Anna is decidedly independent and outspoken and often chooses to walk the grounds by herself. This causes her father to believe she may have mental problems and he subjects Anna to a doctor's unusual and unorthodox treatments. Anna has strong feelings, too, about whether the natural beauty of the grounds should be sacrificed for a contrived showplace of formal gardens. So, how will this garden grow? Will Meneer complete his mission or will he be found out? This is a lovely film, with a nice cast and a terrific, unusual story. Although set back in time, the tale shows quite well how human nature changes very little over the years. Money lust, deceit, and revenge are as natural as breathing, for some folks, causing suffering to those around them. As the main heavy, Grant is wonderfully evil while Postlethwaite, Scacchi, and McGregor fulfill their roles nicely. Chaplin, however, although very pretty, gives a rather weak performance overall. As for the scenery and the costumes, they are of the finest caliber, making for a view that is visually compelling, and the direction is faultless. Why not kiss off the mundane entertainment choices, of an evening, and watch this captivating, gorgeous, extraordinary film instead? You will most likely pat yourself on the back for doing so.
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