Set in Victorian London, Gwendolen Harleth is drawn to Daniel Deronda, a selfless and intelligent gentleman of unknown parentage, but her own desperate need for financial security may destroy her chance at happiness.
Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, a loving father whom she cares for, friends, and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors for her... See full summary »
Jonny Lee Miller
The film follows 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, and the fortunes of her eccentric family, struggling to survive in a decaying English castle. Her father is desperate to repeat the spectacular success of his first novel, but hasn't written a word for 12 years; her exquisite sister Rose can only rail against their fate, and their Bohemian step-mother Topaz is a nudist and no help at all. Salvation comes in the form of their American landlord Simon Cotton and his brother Neil. Although initially repelled by Simon, Rose is determined to make him fall in love with her and succeeds. A wedding is arranged and Cassandra is left on the sidelines as everyone around her is drawn into a maelstrom of interconnected relationships. But events spiral out of control, and before the summer ends she will experience frustrated desire, first love, and a broken heart. Written by
Manorbier Castle in Tenby, Wales, which was used for many of the shots of the Mortmain family's castle, had a moat that had not been used for many years. For the shots of Cassandra and Neil swimming in the moat, large amounts of clay were brought in to make the moat watertight. It was then filled from tankers of water brought from elsewhere, because the local water supply could not supply the large amount needed. See more »
Rose sends Cassandra a bottle of what appears to be Penhaligon's Bluebell perfume for her 18th birthday. According to the Penhaligon's website, the Bluebell perfume was first manufactured in 1978, whereas the film takes place around the early 1940s. See more »
I was thrilled when I learned this book was being turned into a movie, but was dismayed at the casting of the American brothers. Could they have chosen two more boring actors? I doubt it. At least Henry Thomas can act, but he's much, much too wimpy and lightweight for the romantic Simon (I weep for the wasted opportunity that would have been Paul Rudd in this role) and Marc Blucas is a big, big zero here. He's a terrible, stiff, unconvincing actor (as he was on Buffy and in nearly everything else he's ever been in) and impossible to swallow as the object of the flighty Rose's affections.
Still, Romola Garai and Rose Byrne were lovely as Cassandra and Rose, even though the central romances in the story were subverted by the performances of Thomas and Blucas. I was initially appalled by the idea of Bill Nighy and especially Tara Fitzgerald as the girls' parents, but both were quite good. It's too bad one can't totally ignore the two male leads and just concentrate on the good actors, but as they're central to the story, it's impossible. As such, this is a lackluster film adaptation of a wonderful book.
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