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"Our Mutual Friend"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Our Mutual Friend" More at IMDbPro »

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Index 21 reviews in total 

27 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

An immense, rich feast

Author: Raphael Tehan from Berkeley, California
6 January 1999

"Our Mutual Friend," a sumptuous six-hour adaption of Charles Dickens' last novel, easily establishes itself among the very best of the long-form British adaptions. Visually stunning, with an opulent budget, no other series more accurately captures the feeling of Dickens' England, from the waterfront sets to the huge ensemble cast of oddballs, scum, slime, and heroes.

From the Pre-Raphaelite beauty of Keeley Hawes to the impressively evil and immensely filthy Kenneth Cranham, or the peculiar Timothy Spall, the entire production finds its success in superb casting, with every character fascinating, complex, and human. Anna Friel's heroine is attractively modern without being "inauthentic," which could be applied to the entire cast -- managing to be convincingly Victorian without being inaccessible or unnatural.

The cinematography and score are all topnotch, and the occasional montage scene employing handheld cameras in the vein of "A Hard Day's Night" works, surprisingly. The writer and director juggle the multitude of plotlines with ease, and the narrative is always brisk and sure.

Even when the denouement grows a little silly, with all turning out blissfully right in the end, "Our Mutual Friend" never loses the complete captivation of its audience, thanks to almost too many superb performances directed under a very sure hand and a very smart screenwriter.

With a wealth of characters to fall in love with, "Our Mutual Friend" surely ranks alongside "Martin Chuzzlewit", "Pride and Prejudice", and "Middlemarch" as one of the finest classic mini-series produced.

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25 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Romantic, hilarious, complex, and a cheerful ending from Dickens!

10/10
Author: branagh fangirl from Georgia
30 December 1999

Filled with striking characters and cunning plot twists, this film keeps you on your toes. Two romance plotlines, a murder mystery, a number of stalkers and an inheritance all hang in the balance..who will survive, and who will be changed?

Steven MacKintosh gives a nuanced performance as John Rokesmith/John Harmond, a young man with a past he'd as soon forget and an uncertain future. Paul McGann is also wonderful as the Dickensian lawyer Eugene Rayburn, a bored young man whose life is changed forever when he meets Lizzie, the daughter of a man who finds bodies in the Thames, and when he confronts Bradley Headstone, the psychotic schoolmaster who is obsessed with Lizzie. Also of note are the actresses who played Lizzie and the money-obsessed Bella Wilfer, since so much of the story hinges on their believability. Was Dickens ever so much fun before?

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Rich in Dickensian atmosphere

9/10
Author: Brigid O Sullivan (wisewebwoman) from Toronto, Canada
21 October 2007

"Our Mutual Friend," is another well done BBC adaptation of a classic Charles Dickens story, set in the complex London of 1860, beset with the poor, overseen by the unseemly rich with a class structure at it's most delineated.

All of these stories deserve the mini-treatment, to allow us into the sprawl of the period and soak up its language and atmosphere and this is right up there with the best of them. The waterfront sets are magnificent as are the sets for the refuse dump where a lot of the action takes place. The cast is enormous and includes many recognised British names, from Timothy Spall, one of my personal favourites, to Margaret Tyzack, another favourite from the original "Forsyte Saga" series.

Each character is well drawn and complex in all its humanity and struggle for survival. Keely Hawes shines as a woman ill suited to a life on the river, retrieving drowned corpses for their clothes and possessions, and as her counterpart, Anna Friel is sparkling with wit and beauty as a poverty stricken woman striving to acquire a rich husband.

The script is authentic to Dickens and the era, underlaid with a haunting musical score and overlaid with a cinematography that sweeps from the multi-layered greys of the slums and river life to the lush English gardens of the well-to-do and their sumptuous parties.

Much like the mini "Pride and Prejudice", all the plot lines sweep to a happy, clean and simple denouement in the end, but the ride is sure-footed with many interesting characters to bewitch and fascinate along the way and a suspenseful drama to hold interest.

9 out of 10 and not to be missed.

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Much more satisfying than any film version...

10/10
Author: walter_gibson (walter_gibson@hotmail.com) from KENT, London
10 January 2001

I've been recently seeing so many good adaptations of classical novels into mini-series, that I am becoming convinced they should never be made into feature length at all. I saw this on video all at once, which was almost six hours long. But, I could not stop watching. The character and plot developed so well, it was like reading a novel in one go. I don't often have the endurance to read a novel in one go. I must be honest I have not read 'Our Mutual Friend'. Often, when I see an adaptation of a novel, I want to read the novel. But this adaptation was so satisfying that I didn't really feel that need.

The performances were slightly varied in style, which seemed to suggest that it was the actors who had the control, not the director. David Morrissey's Bradley Headstone was very realistic, portraying him as a kind of ready to burst, angry and passionate man, as his face often changed color with anger, despair, passion and fear. So Keeley Hawes as Lizzie Hexam, being intimidated by and scared of Headstone was believable. I'd seen Keeley Hawes in the 'Begger Bride' before this, and I was fairly impressed by her portrayal of a completely virtuous character. She easily portrayed the mild, beautiful, and so very modest girl.

This adaptation also had the biggest TV role for Anna Friel at the time. And she was surprisingly good, and I always will expect her to play the feisty role, which is not a bad thing.

So, nice one.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely wonderful!

Author: Shadow-28 from Illinois
24 January 1999

I saw this as soon as it came out on Masterpiece Theater and loved it! All the actors did a wonderful portrayal of the characters. (one of my particular favorites is Mr.Venus) The Boffins were superb, Lizzie was fabulous, everyone had the BEST facial expressions! . . . I could go on forever! :o) If you haven't seen it, you definitely should. It is really worth the full 6 hours.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

One of the best period dramas.

10/10
Author: Daniel Robinson (pma97dr@sheffield.ac.uk) from Sheffield England
14 November 2000

This is a great adaptation. It is well cast and all the performances are excellent. I particularly liked the performances of David Morrissey as Bradley Hellstone and Stephen Mackintosh as John Rokesmith.

The script remains fairly faithful to the book, and the costumes and scenery give a very convincing Victorian look.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Loved it!

10/10
Author: kabarm from United States
14 January 2006

This is the best Charles Dickens' screen adaptation i've ever seen. As soon as i saw it i went out and bought it. I spend entire days watching. the characters are so involving you just have to put in the next tape even if you know what happens. The acting is amazing and the screen play is well written. My sister and I are in love with John. Part of the appeal of this movie is that it is uplifting. Something that i find unusual in Dickens'. the music is great as well and really adds to the emotions of the piece. Be warned it is six hours long, but well worth it.All in all a great movie and anyone who loves a good romance, treachery, or murder mystery should see it because it blends all three. If you haven't seen it see it! If you have seen it, see it again.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Rich adaptation of classic Dickens

8/10
Author: LouE15 from United Kingdom
15 September 2006

Fine adaptation of a powerful Dickens novel, full of the frustrating spectrum of strengths and weakness inherent in every Dickens story; from the powerful rage he expresses in documenting social injustice, to his goody-two-shoes pedestal-bound heroines. It's about class, love, the river, London, and it's full of great scenes and haunting visuals: witness a tormented Bradley Headstone stalking Eugene Wrayburn through the streets of the City at night. The length of the series does the work justice; the casting is outstanding – expect no less from any good BBC adaptation. The always excellent, underrated Stephen Mackintosh brings complexity and delicacy to his John Rokesmith; Paul McGann gets the best lines; and the entire cast brings the writing to life in a good-looking production - who cares if perhaps it all looks just a tad better than it should. A staple in my DVD collection, highly recommended.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

One of the best period dramas.

10/10
Author: Daniel Robinson (pma97dr@sheffield.ac.uk) from Sheffield England
14 November 2000

This is a great adaptation. It is well cast and all the performances are excellent. I particularly liked the performances of David Morrissey as Bradley Hellstone and Stephen Mackintosh as John Rokesmith.

The script remains fairly faithful to the book, and the costumes and scenery give a very convincing Victorian look.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Cuts some of Dickens's best dialogue

Author: imdb-2930 from London England
10 December 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My copy of this version is treasured part of my video library, with solid performances from the cast and a Bradley Headstone suicide scene that chills me to the bone. But I long to see again the version made in 1976, which launched the careers of Warren Clarke, Jane Seymour, besides polishing the reputations of more established actors, like the great Leo McKern, Kathleen Harrison and Ronald Lacey - and cast expressions like "anatomical pursuits" and "mellering to the organ" into our family's private jargon for 25 years.

What I could not understand about this production was the removal of some choice Dickens dialogue, particularly between Messrs Boffin & Wegg. Peter Vaughan and Kenneth Cranham had to make do with a very cut down version of the "Weal & Hammer Pie" conversation, which Leo McKern and Alfie Bass made so hilarious I nearly climbed inside my telly.

But this is minor carping and should not put off the prospective viewer from a beautifully filmed production, one of the best period drama versions in recent decades. I'll watch it once a year until my tape wears out.

If I could only get hold of a copy of the 1976 version though. Now that WOULD be mellering to the organ!

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