Set in Victorian London, Gwendolen Harleth is drawn to Daniel Deronda, a selfless and intelligent gentleman of unknown parentage, but her own desperate need for financial security may destroy her chance at happiness.
The Grandcourt marriage develops. A critical musician, Herr Klesmer is invited to hear Mirah sing. Daniel finds Mirah's brother Ezra and arranges a meeting. Finally, Sir Hugo Mallinger hands Daniel a...
Daniel rescues Mirah Lapidoth from a suicide attempt and searches for her mother and brother in London. Grandcourt informs Lydia of his planned nuptials, and she sends to Gwendolen a package with a ...
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It is across the roulette table that Gwendolen Harleth first locks eyes with the enigmatic Daniel Deronda. Gwendolen is beautiful, vivacious, and a gambler, but desperate for financial security; something that possessive Henleigh Grandcourt would be able to provide for her. Daniel is the adopted son of an aristocratic, but doubtful of his own identity. He pours his energy into selflessly helping his friends, including poor Jewish singer Mirah Lapidoth. As Gwendolen's situation becomes dire, and Daniel seeks to uncover the mystery surrounding his own birth, their lives become intertwined...Written by
In the 1960s stage production Daniel Deronda, Gwendolen Harleth was played by actress Vanessa Redgrave while in this version Gwendolen is played by Romola Gari, In 2007's Atonement Redgrave and Gari starred alongside each other playing the same character at different ages. See more »
At Ezra Cohen's store, the baby's left shoe and sock disappear then reappear. See more »
"I don't love her any more than she loves me. That's not the point."
Having never read George Eliot's novel, I came into the film with only what I know based on the information friends have given me. The film is utterly exquisite. The costuming alone will have Anglophiles like myself crying from sheer envy, and there's enough archery, riding, and balls to weigh out the seriousness of the film, which is essentially two plots woven into one. An utterly heartless and wretched marriage for a spoiled young Gwendolyn in the form of the evil Grandcourt, a landowner whose sole pleasure lies in torment. Be it his wife or dogs, our heartless villain never takes greater pleasure than in dangling something before them and tearing it away again, only to feed it to someone else. We see a kind of barbarism in this act, be it with the family spaniel or his impoverished, abandoned mistress.
The second plot line, which I found slightly less interesting, was about the film's lead, Daniel Deronda, a presumed illigitimate boy who has been raised a country gentleman. One day while out boating he saves a Jewish singer from drowning herself, and sets out to discover his own true identity through finding her family. I don't know why, but I found myself itching through these scenes to get back to Gwendolyn and her pathetic plight of enslavement to her husband. A second viewing, once I knew the course of the characters, settled me a bit.
The acting is very stellar. There's not a weak link in the cast, although I have to say seeing Barbara Hershey seemed a little out of place in this Victorian paradox. The film makes numerous contrasts between good and evil, selfishness and humility, lies and deception. It's actually quite an achievement, and I was pleased at the amount of restraint showed by the filmmakers. The sexual tension between man and wife will go over most younger viewer's heads, something for which I'm grateful. It's rare we get a wonderful Victorian bodice ripper where the bodice stays on.
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