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29 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Very touching

Author: missmarmite from Hamburg, Germany
11 March 2006

This is definitely not a film for everyone. But I was eager to see it and happy to get it on DVD, as I live outside the UK and don't get the BBC. Bill Nighy, Miranda Richardson and Robert Lindsay together in one film is must, no matter what the film might be about.

This is a slow film, things happen almost in "real time", and the characters are very realistic. I work in a shop in a big train station, I get to see the most different people every day. People like Gideon or Stella do exist, and why not make a film about characters like them? The most beautiful or rather endearing scene, enchanting maybe even, was when Stella and Gideon lie next to each other in Stella's bed and talk about their lives and loved ones. A very quiet scene, and endlessly touching to watch.

Someone else said here, people probably have to be quite creative to understand this film. This might be true. You have to let go of conventional films a bit to be able to embrace this one. But if you're open enough to new impressions, then this is the right film for you. Or if you just want to see excellent performances by aforementioned actors.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Excellent and deeply touching

Author: snowgoblin from Czech Republic
2 August 2007

How can be this simply story so touching? I kept asking this question for hours. Is it a parent-child relationship that everyone of us knows (at least from one of its sides) or is it something more? Or is it that lazy tempo that makes this movie so real? And I can't forget the totally beautiful song performed by Emily Blunt (Natasha). Bill Nighy's (Gideon) acting is perfect, too. Every scene in this film fits in it accurately and although the ending is filled with pathos, you'll have to like it. Because you want to believe that life goes that way. You have to see it and the best option is to watch it with your parents. It says things people should tell, but they don't.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

confusing but engrossing drama

Author: brendastern from United States
11 February 2007

I ordered Gideon's Daughter from Netflicks after watching the Golden Globes and seeing awards for both Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt. The movie is well worth watching for anyone who enjoys their work, as well as that of Miranda Richardson. The plot is a little confusing, and what is a throw-away scene at the beginning of the film becomes something that resonates throughout, so it's important to pay attention. Bill Nighy's personality is somewhat at odds with his character, who is supposed to be the most important spinmeister in England. Although there are moments when he lights up, he seems almost too laid back for the role, and it's also hard to believe he would have enough energy to be womanizer as he is supposed to be in the film. But I found his scenes with Emily Blunt to be a road map of the anger and frustration between a father and a daughter. Emily Blunt, in particular, is a revelation and if you only know her from The Devil Wears Prada, this gives a much better indication of what she is capable of doing. It has that high-gloss BBC combination of intellect, intrigue and pathos, and if you are looking for a way to spend an engrossing Sunday evening aside from the usual melodramas I recommend this.

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23 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful but empty

Author: paul2001sw-1 ( from Saffron Walden, UK
1 March 2006

There's always a lot to enjoy in any Stephen Polliakoff film: striking use of images and music, an interest in big questions, and the director's lack of fear of letting things run at a slow pace where this makes the story, and atmosphere, more absorbing. But there's also always a journey into a stylised world, and a tendency to set up a false dichotomy between an overly-schematised, and fake, business world, and an overly romanticised (and arguably no less fake) real world. Even when my sympathies lie with Polliakoff, I'm always frustrated by his failure to give our own side a sufficiently hard time. 'Gideon's Daughter' is not his most interesting film, largely because its central characters (a jaded spin doctor and his almost supernaturally beautiful, talented and serene daughter) are fundamentally quite dull. A moment towards the end of the film illustrates the problem succinctly: we see the main characters disappearing from a beautiful Edinburgh street, a street that it the real world in permanently busy with traffic and people but which here is shown devoid of cars and pedestrians alike: and while a director should be forgiven occasional moments of dramatic licence, when the entire drama is framed through such a distorted lens, though big questions may be asked, they're not really answered. This is a wonderfully crafted little film; but also a film that has very little relevance to the messiness of real lives.

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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Simply Brilliant!

Author: ennor from Adelaide, Australia
4 November 2008

I just love Poliakoff - apart from 'Perfect Strangers' which bored me immensely. I found 'Shooting The Past' to be breathtaking, but 'Gideon's Daughter' occupies a different space altogether. It's about a lot of things - celebrity, grief - expressed and unexpressed - forgiveness and redemption. It's also about love and friendship, and a place where the two overlap.

I watched Bill Nighy closely throughout, and for me he never put a foot - or a hand, or a glance, or stare - wrong. Equally as exquisite was Miranda Richardson as Stella, the divorced woman whose son has died, and whose ex-husband (played by David Westhead) cannot let go of the need to 'right' a wrong.

In a way, this film is about nothing at all, and yet it encompasses so much that I'm finding it difficult to review. Don't expect to understand it all - I didn't, but that could be my short-coming. But I loved it so much I want to see it again and again. I just hope others love it as much as did I.

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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:


Author: annewee from Norway
14 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well. What can I really say? It was a marvellous peace of work! In scenes where Stella broke down, I broke down too. Poliakoff is just a genius beyond words and the cast with Miranda Richardson and Bill Nighy is absolutely stunning. Every scene of the film is a thrill and the performances of the cast is GREAT! The character I loved the most was naturally Stella. Stella is played bu Miranda Richardson and GOSH did I become moved! At the end of the movie, it just stroke me how much Stella is like me. At least the wardrobe (;)). The eclectic style and the fresh mind is exactly what moved me in a character. The crying scene is played magnificently by Miranda and I expect her to win an award for this movie. If she doesn't, I will make my own award and give to her. Bill Nighy also did a fantastic job as Gideon himself. My mouth dropped open....

And also the music moved me, and the song Gideon's daughter sings.

Tp put it all shortly; FANTASTIC!!!

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27 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

And your point is?

Author: gus120970 from London, UK
9 March 2006

Frankly, this 'much anticipated' feature-length is all over the place, self-indulgent dialogue matched by equally indulgent performances by well known actors, highly aware they are in a 'quality drama' production. People all over Islington and Fulham nodding sagely, and the rest of us wondering what it's all meant to be about. Does Poliakoff know, or care? Early on it seems to be a weak satire on the 'era of spin' initiated by the New Labour government elected in 1997, which found its apotheosis in the risible Millennium Dome project, style without substance, and plastic style at that. Throw in the 'death of Diana' as a modular dramatic device, again used to illustrate the 'stage management' of our modern political and national life. But there is a problem. If you want to do satire you have to make it bite, particularly in the characterisation of Gideon himself, the spin meister. Bill Nighy, however, seems to wander throughout the production on valium, spending most of him staring out of windows and pondering the meaning of a song sung by his daughter. The satirical element is entirely missing from the second half, which turns into another middle class drama 'leitmotif' - the 'unconventional love story'. Realised in terms of one of those cross-class-cultural divide fantasies beloved of middle class playwrights. Toff Gideon dates a woman who works in an all night supermarket out in West London . Gideon decides to host a PR event at a nondescript Indian Restaurant. 'As if' on both counts. What is perhaps meant to be arresting and unpredictable is just patronising and unrealistic.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A brilliantly moving and utterly captivating story of the heartache of parenthood

Author: fwatkins-2 from Australia
2 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story is narrated by a writer (Robert Lindsey's character) dictating it to a secretary. It is a story of damaged people, suffering intense pain in their personal lives while maintaining a facade of 'normality'. Gideon himself is an immensely successful and respected P.R. 'guru', feted by media moguls, celebrities and politicians alike. His daughter cannot forgive him for deserting her mother when she needed him most. Stella, who becomes Gideon's love interest, has lost her only child in a tragic accident. The Gideon character as played by Bill Nighy is calm and controlled in every situation with the answer to everyone's problems at his fingertips - except of course his own. His restraint and dignity make him truly enigmatic and beguiling throughout. By opening their hearts to each other the main protagonists finally find happiness, or at least peace. The film really captures the pain and torment every parent suffers in one form or another through their intense and overwhelming love for their children. Even the narrator's three year old son pops up, dumped at his doorstep by his ex-wife, the woman we fleetingly see at the end of the hallway. He then remarks 'has it come to this? She won't even speak to me any more' or words to that effect. The acting is brilliant, the direction faultless and the whole thing from start to finish totally captivating and moving.

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic if you understand it

Author: KatieScarlettButler from United Kingdom
10 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this and thought it would be excellent as I am a great fan of Miranda Richardson, Bill Nighy and Stephen Poliakoff, and contrary to the total slating some people have given it, I thought it was great! The only thing is, I reckon you have to be ready to look deeply into what is actually happening because I (being a drama/English Lit student) thought it was brilliant, but my less creative friends thought it was dull. So you have to be kind of out there, looking deeper into the relationships formed and how the dynamics work blah blah. Excellent performances by Nighy and Richardson (goes without saying - the "video camera" scene in the car is really natural!)and some beautiful cinematography. Gideon's Daughter is a complete contrast to the also excellent The Lost Prince, another Poliakoff/Richardson formula which was probably more successful because it was on a "real" level.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Gideon's Daughter is a story of forgiveness and redemption.

Author: Eleanor Twiss from Ocala, FL
19 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gideon's Daughter is a story of forgiveness and redemption. Gideon, an inveterate womanizer,leaves his young daughter, Natasha, at her mother's bedside while the mother lay dying. His phone calls to his women keep him away for 30 minutes. The mother dies and Natasha has no one there to comfort her. A homeless man has wandered into the room and sits beside Natasha, witness to the neglect at a critical time in her young life. This scene is one of the keys to understanding the story.

Years later, Gideon witnesses a protest regarding the lack of care by motorists for children on bicycles. Gideon meets a bohemian woman named Stella who becomes his friend. Lest he is never able to forgive himself, Stella convinces him to borrow her camera to attend and tape a performance by Natasha as she prepares to graduate from high school. Natasha is now a beautiful and talented young woman. She performs a song regarding her father and his women.

As Gideon develops a relationship with Stella, Gideon comes to learn of Stella's own lack of self-forgiveness over letting her young son go for his first bike ride without her. He is the child who was killed by a motorist during the protest Gideon had witnessed. This scene is also a key to understanding the story.

As their relationship progresses, together Gideon and Stella find forgiveness and redemption.


"The supreme act of courage is that of forgiving ourselves.

That which I was not but could have been.

That which I would have done but did not do.

Can I find the fortitude to remember in truth,

to understand, to submit, to forgive

and to be free to move on in time?"

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