Every once in a while, a reader will write to me complaining about some of my comments focusing too much on narrative structure, and ignoring the direct emotional connection with the story. This is largely the intent of my comments, to remark on how stories are told. I'm convinced that a new vocabulary for storytelling is evolving now, and its highly introspective, referencing the storytelling in the story.
Lots of commentors will talk about whether the story has juice, connection, power. I want to delve into why, and what might be part of a toolbox if you want to make powerful stories.
Hardly anything could be more fun than to do this with films of old books, especially novels that themselves were at the edge of emergence in a massive advance in storyforms. This is.
Eliot is interesting. She's after Austen, who introduced introspective irony and conflated the humor of surrounding society (in her case class structure) with human emotions. The Bronte sisters in different ways inserted raw passion into this vessel. Eliot was interested in both but was more of a technician, worrying about the design of the vessel, the conveyor of emotional impact. If she were alive today, she'd be thinking about quantum logic and rivers of time. She might be among the most powerful souls weaving the world.
But she's not; she's frozen in her time, but still a bit magical. And in this book we have all sorts of contrived devices that seem not so: legal and sibling contests, inevitability of love and river, honesty in milling selves.
So. Along comes TeeVee, that great grinder of imagination and they do what they think is merely dramatizing, a sort of adding pictures to text. As with most BBC efforts, it is massively incompetent because it misunderstands the material. Somehow it assumes that if you retain events and dialog you convey the soul of the thing. But in this case, the soul is as much in the container; the skin, the shape, the face.
There isn't the slightest nod to structure, excepting the necessity to chunk it into half hour pieces with each piece having a logical pause. One or two actors actually have some competence, and the encounters among the four sisters has good timing. But unless you simply want to tread water in the sea of imagination, stay away.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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