A novelist's life ricochets from 1920s Paris to '50s New York and '80s London. Along the way he meets Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor - the exiled British king and his mistress Wallis Simpson.
Reviews
Popularity
2,430 ( 7)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
2010  
Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Pillars of the Earth (TV Mini-Series 2010)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles which tears lives and families apart.

Stars: Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen, Eddie Redmayne
South Riding (TV Mini-Series 2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1930s Yorkshire, a spirited new headmistress brings inspiration and modern ideas to an all girls' school and shakes up the more conservative-minded residents of South Riding.

Stars: Anna Maxwell Martin, David Morrissey, Penelope Wilton
Perfect Strangers (TV Mini-Series 2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Attending a distant family reunion reveals more than was expected.

Stars: Michael Gambon, Lindsay Duncan, Matthew Macfadyen
Restless (TV Movie 2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young woman finds out that her mother worked as a spy for the British Secret Service during World War II and has been on the run ever since.

Director: Edward Hall
Stars: Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell, Michelle Dockery
Emulsion (2014)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A man becomes obsessed with finding his missing wife, drowning in the nostalgia of a 16mm home movie of her, and letting his grief gradually consume him until he gets caught up in a sinister occurrence.

Director: Suki Singh
Stars: Sam Heughan, Claudia Bassols, Lex Shrapnel
The Crimson Petal and the White (TV Mini-Series 2011)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Set in 1870s London, a young prostitute finds potential power and status after becoming the mistress of a powerful patriarch.

Stars: Romola Garai, Chris O'Dowd, Amanda Hale
Parade's End (TV Mini-Series 2012)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Revolves around a love triangle between a conservative English aristocrat, his mean socialite wife and a young suffragette.

Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Roger Allam
Little Dorrit (TV Mini-Series 2008)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The series tells the story of Amy Dorrit, who spends her days earning money for the family and looking after her proud father, who is a long term inmate of Marshalsea debtors' prison in ... See full summary »

Stars: Claire Foy, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Courtenay
Island at War (TV Mini-Series 2004)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Period: Second World War. A quiet channel island community is thrown into turmoil by the invasion forces of Nazi Germany.

Stars: Saskia Reeves, Owen Teale, Julia Ford
The Way We Live Now (TV Mini-Series 2001)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

At the center of the story is Augustus Melmotte, a European-born city financier, whose origins are as mysterious as his business dealings. Trollope describes him as 'something in the city',... See full summary »

Stars: David Suchet, Matthew Macfadyen, Cillian Murphy
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

HOW ABOUT YOU tells the story of Ellie, a young woman left in charge of the residential home run by her older sister, over the Christmas period. Whilst most of the residents have left to ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Byrne
Stars: Joss Ackland, Hayley Atwell, Orla Brady
First Light (TV Movie 2010)
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In May 1940 eighteen-year old Geoffrey Wellum joins the 92 squadron of the Royal Air Force and is taken to the pub,where pilots who have seen action sign their names on a blackboard. Next ... See full summary »

Director: Matthew Whiteman
Stars: Sam Heughan, Gary Lewis, Ben Aldridge
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Logan Mountstuart (Older) (4 episodes, 2010)
...
 Logan Mountstuart (Middle) (4 episodes, 2010)
Conor Nealon ...
 Logan Mountstuart (Child) (4 episodes, 2010)
...
 Freya Deverell (4 episodes, 2010)
...
 Logan Mountstuart (Young) (4 episodes, 2010)
...
 Ben Leeping (Older) (4 episodes, 2010)
...
 Peter Scabius (Older) (4 episodes, 2010)
...
 Ernest Hemingway / ... (3 episodes, 2010)
...
 Mr. Mountstuart (3 episodes, 2010)
...
 Mrs. Mountstuart (3 episodes, 2010)
...
 Lottie (3 episodes, 2010)
...
 Duchess of Windsor / ... (3 episodes, 2010)
...
 Duke of Windsor / ... (3 episodes, 2010)
...
 Gloria Scabius (2 episodes, 2010)
...
 Tess Scabius (2 episodes, 2010)
...
 Lionel Mounstuart (2 episodes, 2010)
Stéphane Dausse ...
 Cyprien (2 episodes, 2010)
...
 The Earl (2 episodes, 2010)
Yolanda Vazquez ...
 Encarnacion (2 episodes, 2010)
...
 Peter Scabius (Young) (2 episodes, 2010)
James Musgrave ...
 Ben Leeping (Young) / ... (2 episodes, 2010)
Kulvinder Ghir ...
 Subadar Singh (2 episodes, 2010)
...
 Ian Fleming (2 episodes, 2010)
Poppy Epstein ...
 Stella (Age 6) (2 episodes, 2010)
...
 Dr. Byrne (2 episodes, 2010)
Edit

Storyline

A novelist's life ricochets from 1920s Paris to '50s New York and '80s London. Along the way he meets Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor - the exiled British king and his mistress Wallis Simpson.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2010 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Any Human Heart - Eines Menschen Herz  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Tobias Menzies and Sam Heughan also star in Outlander (2014) together. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Wright Stuff: Episode #14.75 (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A full life's saga well told
29 March 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Going into the Masterpiece Classic presentation of "Any Human Heart" on DVD, I had conflicting thoughts.

First up was that though I haven't read the book its based on by William Boyd, he is one of my favorite writers, with his last two thrillers, "Restless" and "Ordinary Thunderstorms," being two of the genre's best. And second, though as a Southerner I probably shouldn't admit this so regularly, I really can't much at all stand "Forrest Gump," so the story structure of "Any Human Heart," one man's life through most of the 20th century in which he rubs elbows with many famous people, gave me pause.

Thankfully, Boyd's story really borrows only that basic outline from "Gump," but with less overbearing sentimentality and a lot more, sometimes very dark, wit. Boyd's novel and the four-part BBC series presented here tell the story of "writer" Logan Mountstuart, with the quotation marks in place because though he accomplished and experienced many things in his long life, he only managed to write two novels.

Though the four-and-a-half-hour long series is a bit bloated by thoroughly unnecessary fantasy sequences that pop up throughout starring Mountstuart as a child, he's for the most part played by three very good English actors, Sam Claflin as the college-age Mountstuart, Matthew MacFadyen (who the ladies may remember from the version of "Pride & Prejudice" also starring Keira Knightley) as him in middle age, and the great Jim Broadbent as Mountstuart the elder.

Throughout Mountstuart's saga, however, it's the women he loved and lost that play the most important parts. As the story opens, Broadbent's Mountstuart, clearly in fading health, is putting back together the pieces of his life using his memories of the women who had made it memorable. Standing out in a large ensemble are the radiant Hayley Atwell as Freya, the real love of his life, Kim Cattrall as Gloria, who gives the series much of its soul, and an unrecognizable but very funny Gillian Anderson as the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson.

Anderson and co-conspirator Tom Hollander as the duke bring a comic edge to the story as Mountstuart, enlisted as a "spy" during World War II, mostly spends his time tracking down what happened to the former king after the story told in "The King's Speech," at least as Boyd imagines it. Often dark humor thankfully runs throughout "Any Human Heart," as when later in life Mountstuart, simply in search of cheap health care, ends up brushing up against Germany's Baader Meinhof gang and later, in his last romantic conquest, gets involved with a French woman more than a little confused about her ancestry.

But the beauty of "Any Human Heart" often comes not from these grand adventures (he also manages to meet Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming, who recruits him into the spying ranks), but in the failures that make for a well-rounded life. As Mountstuart manages to crap out on two marriages he was never terribly interested in and then get involved with his dead son's 16-year-old girlfriend (yes, he is more than a bit of a cad), it becomes harder and harder to cheer for him, but Macfadyen's layered performance makes you appreciate the man in whole, many warts and all.

In the end, though, it's Broadbent who both gives the story its arc and brings it home with tenderness, particularly in his scenes with Cattrall, ultimately making this well worth checking out when it hits DVD next Tuesday, April 5 (yes, I'm writing this a bit early because it doubles as a newspaper column that comes out on Friday.) P.S.: One final note about editing: Though I didn't manage to catch this when it aired on PBS, I've heard that it was rather poorly edited, perhaps to remove some of the racier scenes that make Mountstuart's life so enjoyable, but this is the complete BBC version, so there's no need to worry about that.

http://reelfanatic.blogspot.com


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Swiss prison mystery Jonathan Dore
Running Time PatrickCurren
Recycled a lot of actors for Pillars of the Earth dragonlady92
Cast listing jillian.diamond
Hollander and Anderson sadako1998
What the f** is this nonsense? Wth Boyd? nitaant-1
Discuss Any Human Heart (2010) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?