How can you take an eccentric literary masterpiece, a deceptively casual work of brilliance and manifest it for the screen? Not like this, that's for sure. This three-hour yawn is a hopeless attempt to skim through two books, taking much of it literally from the page and condensing the rest very badly. As usual, the television establishment decide to invest in a classic British period drama adaptation with a painting by numbers approach. All the right locations, props and costumes, but no imagination. This is one classic that needed a mammoth feat of creative interpretation to work. Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless. It's just like British cooking, chuck all the correct ingredients in but don't bother to make it taste of anything. They missed the point entirely. Love in a Cold Climate is about Love. Do we understand why each character loves Linda most of all, with her sweet, sweet nature, her unselfconscious extremes of passions, her infinite compassion for animals, her devotion to love above all else? Are we terrified by Uncle Matthews blue flashing rages? Seduced by Sauveterre's immense, sexy charm? No, no, no. None of the characters are well portrayed, despite a largely excellent cast (particularly Bates, Imrie, Gish, Andrews and Pike). In fact it was only saved by a handful of good, experienced performances in spite of the abysmal direction. The rest were unguided and out of their depth. Despite its condensed nature, the whole thing plods along desperately slowly, and yet gives no substance to anything. It just ticks the necessary boxes, stolidly covering this important plot point, clumsily marking that amusing event from the book. How could they have made everything so boring and dull? Funnily enough, this was the one thing they were supposed to do with Tony Kroesig - of course he seemed rather baby faced and charming. It all comes across like a school play, distinctly amateur, strictly one for our Anglophile cousins.
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