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The Woodlanders (1997)

PG | | Drama, Romance | 6 February 1998 (UK)
The story is set in late 19th century rural corner of South England. The daughter of timber merchant Melbury, Grace, returns to the town after finishing school. Her father now believes she ... See full summary »




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Credited cast:
Dr. Fitzpiers
Mr. Melbury
Mrs. Charmond
Old Creedle
Sheila Burrell ...
Grandma Oliver
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Geoffrey Beevers ...
Robert Blythe ...
Young Timothy Tangs
Jon Croft ...
John Upjohn
Stable Lad
Joanna Jeffrees ...
Peasant Girl


The story is set in late 19th century rural corner of South England. The daughter of timber merchant Melbury, Grace, returns to the town after finishing school. Her father now believes she can find a better husband than her childhood sweetheart, woodsman Giles. She marries handsome young doctor FitzPiers, but soon finds out he's not the man of her dreams and she still loves Giles. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A timeless tale of passion and desire.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and mild language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 February 1998 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Co do mnie czujesz?  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Grace Melbury: [to her husband's mistress] See him as much as you want. Until you wish you had never known him.
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User Reviews

Earnest, well-made and atmospheric, a decent film that falls short
14 November 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Woodlanders is a complex but beautiful book, apparently Thomas Hardy's personal favourite of his work and you can see why(with me though it's Tess of the D'Urbevilles and Far from the Madding Crowd). Any adaptation of any book by any author deserves to be judged in some way on their own. Compared to the book this 1997 film adaptation of The Woodlanders does fall short, but it still has a lot of great things about it. The most underwhelming aspect was the ending, which was far too frantic- the adaptation also takes too much time to set up, so there were a couple of pacing issues here and there- and sudden, anti-climatic too. It would have been more powerful if Marty South's declaration of undying love was kept intact and if there was a sense of Hardy's depiction of how devastating and too-late-to-change coincidences can be. The film does feel too short, which might be a reason for why the ending was as it was and the lack of depth(too much of skimming-the-surface-but-not-enough-meat quality to it) and why characters like Mrs Charmond and Marty South seemed too briefly introduced and underused. The production values however are exquisite, especially the rustic and colourful scenery and cinematography that is sensitive and shimmering that strikes the right balance between not being too cinematic or too TV bound. The interiors are appropriately atmospheric(in a gloomy sort of way). The costumes and period detail are evocative, with little over-bleakness or too-cleanliness about them. And the lighting visually appeals- making long shots/scenes even more interesting than they already are- and matches the moods of each scene.

George Fenton's music score has a lot of beautiful sweep and passion, underlying the tragedy of the story convincingly but not obviously, unsurprising seeing as Fenton's music has always had that effect, while the script is literate and true in spirit to Hardy's prose. The story may lack the depth of the book and the beginning and end have pacing lulls, however it is still told beautifully and compellingly with faultless mood contrasts, and deserves further credit for matching the slow but spacious pacing of the book, handling the romance subtly, the rural if at times gloomy atmosphere it evokes and for how well it makes an effort to convey how the characters would interact, speak and behave. Phil Agland does a solid job directing, really not bad for a feature film debut. Rufus Sewell is a smouldering and affecting Giles, the character we feel the most for. Emily Woof's Gracie is luminous and strong-willed as well as equally touching, it's a different character for her and she acquits herself very well. Cal Macaninch is suitably sly and snobbish, while Polly Walker makes a sinister impact, Jodhi May is a sympathetic Marty South(more so than in the book) and Tony Haygarth makes for a very ideal father-figure, of the firm yet warm and well-intended kind. All in all, falls short but it is well made and earnestly done. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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