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The Chatterley Affair (2006)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  20 March 2006 (UK)
7.4
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The trial, under The Obscene Publications Act, of the publishers of D.H. Lawrence's 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'in 1960 was a sensation that consumed the nation. The movie follows two ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Keith
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Helena
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Vera
Gerard Horan ...
Jocular Juror
David Fairweather ...
Timid Juror
Anthony Carrick ...
Older Educated Male Juror (as Antony Carrick)
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Superior Juror
Kenneth Hadley ...
Court Official
...
...
Mr. Allen Lane
...
Mr. Justice Byrne
...
Clerk of the Court
...
Older Keith
...
Older Helena
...
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Storyline

The trial, under The Obscene Publications Act, of the publishers of D.H. Lawrence's 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'in 1960 was a sensation that consumed the nation. The movie follows two fictional jurors, Helena and Keith, who become passionate lovers during the course of the trial and whose affair mirrors the themes of the novel. Written by johnno.r[at]xtra.co.nz

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Drama | Romance

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20 March 2006 (UK)  »

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Interesting for what it does but a touch disappointing for the areas it is weaker in
11 April 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 1960 the famous trial for obscenity began with a jury of twelve British men and women sitting in judgement on DH Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover. As the trial progresses two of the younger jurors find themselves caught up in the sexual nature of their temporary new task and start an affair. The slightly rough Keith has a wife at home in a small house with little excitement and falls aggressively into intercourse with the more upper-class and free Helena.

Imagine my lack of surprise to find an Andrew Davies script rich in sexual material and fruity language! I have nothing at all against that but at times I do struggle to shake the feeling that he is doing it for the sake of doing it. The Chatterley Affair in particular seems to revel in the use of very strong language (even by today's standards) in the courtroom sequences but the meat of the story is in the entirely fictional affair between jurors Keith and Helena. Here we see characters but awakened and damaged by an increasing understanding of sexuality within themselves and it is this that provides the value in the film. It is not perfect though because the film doesn't make this as much of a focus as one would have hoped and perhaps the developments are not as smart and insightful as the script would like to think. That said though, the main relationship is still engaging though and it does just about carry the thing along.

The film surprised me by perhaps not being as strong on the actual case itself. In this regard it did very much seem to wallow in the use of strong and sexual language. I didn't get that engaged in the actual debate within the case and it did strike me that Davies was not particularly interested in it as much as he was the more fictional aspect. It is a shame because I do think it would have been a more rounded film if he had managed to actually make the court case interesting rather than just having it in the film as a frame more than anything else. The approach does work for the cast though and it gives both Spall and Delamere good material to work with together. Perhaps not perfect but the two of them do work well off one another. The supporting cast give lesser performances but they do turn out solid enough period caricatures in mostly unremarkable ways. Hawes' direction is reasonable enough but suffice to say you are never in any doubt that you are watching a BBC drama.

Overall then, an interesting and obviously sexual drama but one that is weakened by the fact that the court case is little more than a frame and Davies has done little of interest with it on its own. The relationship aspect is just about enough to carry it and make it worth seeing but I was disappointed that it didn't do more outside of this main thrust.


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