London, summer 1923. Clarissa (Vanessa Redgrave), Member of Parliament Richard Dalloway's (Sir John Standing's) wife, sets out on a beautiful morning; she's shopping for flowers for her party that evening. At the same time Septimus Warren Smith (Rupert Graves), a young man who survived the battlefields of Europe, is suffering from a nightmarish delayed on-set form of shell shock. Clarissa's nearly-grown daughter is distant, and preoccupied. In the course of one day, Peter (Michael Kitchen), Clarissa's passionate old suitor, returns from India and is invited to her party, Septimus commits suicide, Clarissa relives a day in her youth (and her reasons for her choice of a life with the reliable Richard Dalloway).Written by
Eileen Berdon <email@example.com>
I appreciate this film for its technical quality, as well as its ambition in trying to film a novel that is written in the stream of consciousness style, however it fails overall because of Ms. Redgrave's performance. Her acting destroys the tone of the movie in a extremely jarring way; the contrast between her just-swallowed-a-bottle-of-Prozac happiness and the other plot lines and draws the viewer out of the experience of the film. The novel's tone is much darker and Clarissa's point-of- view much more based on regret, and more in sync with the post-traumatic-stress and depression of Septimus and the ennui and disenfranchisement of her daughter. Her performance wasn't only in the wrong tone, but it was incredibly phony; a viewer should never see acting happening. This is the same gripe I have with Rupert Grave's performance of Septimus; his acting is too stagy and I never truly believed him when shouting "EVANS! EVANS!"
Probably will be (and perhaps should be) the last time a film adaptation is made of this novel.
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