A romantic drama set in Germany just before WWI and centered on a married woman who falls in love with her husband's protégé. Separated first by duties and then by the war, they pledge their devotion to one another.
I was expecting much from Birdsong. I had read the book three years ago for my English A Levels course, and found myself utterly transfixed by the poignant and gut-wrenching story. Since then, Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong has become one of my favourite books of all time. This series does have its good parts. It is photographed beautifully, exquisitely even, the scenery is wonderful in the whole part of the story before Stephen goes off to war, I liked the contrast between the lush pre-war scenes and the bleak colour palette of war itself the music is effective in its simplicity and there are two good performances, the scene-stealing Jack Firebrace of Joseph Mawle and the emotionally complex Jeanne of Marie-Josee Croze. Sadly, I never found myself convinced by the story and characters. This is not helped by a script that is largely incoherent, characters that excepting perhaps Jeanne are lifeless cardboard cut-outs(I know they are not likable characters to begin with but still there is a difference between that and the characters having no life at all) and sluggish pacing. I also found Eddie Redmayne and Clemence Posey miscast, Redmayne is handsome certainly but he was also wooden and uncharismatic while Posey has no chemistry with him and looks like twenty years younger than her novelistic counterpart. The story has scenes that are either condensed(naturally considering the time) or almost endlessly stretched out(not so much), but it was the lack of atmosphere and drama that really spoiled Birdsong. The intimate scenes between Stephen and Isabelle weren't that intimate to me as both actors looked in pain during those scenes, and the war scenes due to the poorly rendered battlefields weren't poignant, tense or gut-wrenching enough. Overall, does have some good things such as the beautiful photography, but the pacing and lack of drama made Birdsong rather dull in my opinion, sorry. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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