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In the late 19th century, Tess Durbeyfield is sent off to visit a rich cousin, Alec D'Urberville, when her parents learn that they are distantly related. Tess takes a disliking to the man and his attempts at seduction are rebuffed. Returning from a village party he forces himself on the innocent girl who eventually makes her way back to her parents' home. Ashamed and pregnant she seems destined to forever being marked a certain kind of woman. After the death of her child, she makes her way to a prosperous farm where, working as a milkmaid, she meets and eventually marries the handsome Angel Clare. On learning of her past however, he abandons her and with little choice and facing a life of extreme hardship, again falls into Alec's clutches and becomes a kept woman. Written by
There are two musical anachronisms. First, Angel plays an autoharp which was not invented until the 1880s in Germany, and would not have been an English folk instrument at the time of TESS. Secondly, the congregation is heard singing "How Great Thou Art," which was written in Swedish in 1885, but was not commonly known in English until Stuart Hine's translation (circa 1950). See more »
I am going to be frank, without giving too much away: if you're looking for a happy, light-hearted love story, look elsewhere! That said, however, this movie is very interesting. It is, for the most part, well acted, and contains some extremely thought-provoking material. Particularly the events at the beginning of the second episode... you will understand my meaning once you have watched. It is so interesting, and often heart-breaking, to see these issues handled in society in this time period - to see the reticence and misery that must be endured. I found myself constantly wondering who was right, and who was wrong, or if anyone in the film could really be considered right or wrong. And by which standards? This is not the typical BBC love story where we love the heroes, admire their virtues, and despise the villains, while secretly amused by them. I personally found myself disliking each character very much at at least one point in the film. These characters are very real people. Each one is flawed, and each one knows it too. This makes for a remarkably interesting tale, that kept me riveted from the very beginning.
With all that said, it is exceedingly dramatic... a little overly so at times. And it is harsh... very harsh. and very raw. So yes, do watch it, but do not expect it to be a sweet, witty love story. You may expect, however, to be very impressed. After all it made me cry, and I very rarely cry in movies!
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