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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was immediately intrigued into seeing Loving Miss Hatto after being
stunned by Housewife 49, penned also by Victoria Wood, the previous
year. And I like both Alfred Molina and Francesca Annis very much, and
love classical music. In the way that The Girl- the BBC Hitchcock
biopic- was the biggest disappointment, Loving Miss Hatto was one of
the highlights of the festive season. I found it very moving,
insightful and impeccably acted on the whole. Both of the timezones
depicted- 1950s and early 2000s- were realised beautifully and
evocatively and the photography is controlled and unobtrusive. The
music is really wonderful stuff, Rachmaninov and Chopin especially, and
utilised here appropriately and very beautifully played, particularly
the Chopin Etude which gave the drama a haunting but poignant note.
I wasn't familiar with the story prior to watching, but my dad did say it was big news. That didn't matter as whether or not I found that to be the case I found it compellingly told, with the part where Barry pours two squashes then realises that Joyce is no longer there really heartbreaking. The message, that of those of natural talent should be recognised, is subtle and makes its point I also loved the script, there are some great wood-isms that are funny in a subtle way, and it is insightful and deliciously ironic in places. The chemistry between Maimie McCoy and Rory Kinnear was very sweet and that of Alfred Molina and Francesca Annis gently moving.
Maimie McCoy and Rory Kinnear are excellent, the epitome of youth and hope. Phoebe Nicholls sinks her teeth into the archetype of a mother figure role. And as fascinating as the first half of Loving Miss Hatto was, I found even more pleasure in the second half. And Alfred Molina and Francesca Annis are why that was. Some may observe that Joyce has a big personality change in this part of the drama, but considering how bitter she is of her talent not being recognised that change was appropriate. I've had admiration for Annis ever since seeing her in the outstanding mini-series Lillie, and her performance even with its bitterness and sharpness has a nuanced pathos to it as well. But I found that Molina carried it, even with the deceptively light touch that Barry is written in with his sensitivity is astounding.
Victoria Wood also proves like she did with Housewife 49 that she is as equally talented at drama as she is in comedy. All in all, a really wonderful drama and one of the 2012 Christmas highlights. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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