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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Complex material intelligently realised through fine ensemble acting, writing and direction. An under-appreciated period drama gem.

Author: paul-ackerley from United Kingdom
28 August 2004

This Edwardian-set period piece has been intelligently realised through fine ensemble acting, writing and direction. Written for the screen by the acclaimed William Trevor, he has shown good judgement in selection of material from its two source books, constructing a single powerful narrative that respects both author's dislike of sentimentality and valuing Joe's fondness for historical accuracy and economy of language. Richard Loncraine directs with restraint and subtlety while every member of the ensemble cast delivers beautifully understated performances. Freddy Francis and Judy Parfitt in particular.

It therefore remains a surprise that this has lain unappreciated for many years. It is the companion to 'We Think The World Of You', with Alan Bates and Gary Oldman, the other J.R.Ackerley piece to be filmed and is reminiscent of the excellent TV adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit'. Both of these still enjoy distribution, while Secret Orchards does not. On the strength of the evidence, it can only be because, sadly, Secret Orchards is no longer considered a commercial proposition. If however you do find a copy, see it!

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