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.
The daughter of a country doctor copes with an unwanted stepmother, an impetuous stepsister, burdensome secrets, the town gossips, and the tug on her own heartstrings for a man who thinks of her only as a friend.
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Jonny Lee Miller
It is across the roulette table that Gwendolen Harleth first locks eyes with the enigmatic Daniel Deronda. Gwendolen is beautiful, vivacious, and a gambler, but desperate for financial security; something that possessive Henleigh Grandcourt would be able to provide for her. Daniel is the adopted son of an aristocratic, but doubtful of his own identity. He pours his energy into selflessly helping his friends, including poor Jewish singer Mirah Lapidoth. As Gwendolen's situation becomes dire, and Daniel seeks to uncover the mystery surrounding his own birth, their lives become intertwined... Written by
"Daniel Deronda" is a worthy knock-off of George Eliot's novel of the same name which tells of a young Englishman's search for meaning and purpose while enjoying a life of property and leisure. As with most Victorian period costume dramas out of the UK, this film is sumptuously appointed and well represented by the players and places as it meanders through the usual multiplicity of relationships from aristocrat to pauper with a Jewish thread for distinction. "Daniel Deronda" conjures a range of characters from a stoic martinet to a spoiled beauty to an attractive Jewess and beyond with love, greed, envy, guile, and death all swirling around the Deronda character as it manages to sort itself out with a coherent story arc and a more or less happy ending. A "should see" for anyone into Victorian flicks. (B)
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