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Story is set against the backdrop of WWI and follows Christopher Tietjens, a top civil servant from a background of wealth and privilege, whose marriage flounders almost as soon as it begins. He falls in love with another woman, but he remains honorable for some considerable time to Sylvia who has several affairs. On top of this, Chris is dealing with shell shock and partial memory loss that he endures during the war.Written by
Benedict Cumberbatch claimed that his character of Christopher Tietjen was one of the more admirable he has ever played. He claimed "[Christopher] has many admirable qualities I'd like to siphon off into my life." See more »
Riveting performances by leads Rebecca Hall and Benedict Cumberbatch
Before "Parade's End," Rebecca Hall and Benedict Cumberbatch were last paired professionally in an unassuming romantic comedy called "Starter for 10," a film anchored by their friend James McAvoy. All three played university students. Although each turned in a good performance, the roles were not ones that required much acting range. In Parade's End, however, the roles of Sylvia and Christopher Tietjens allow both Hall and Cumberbatch to flex their considerable acting muscles. When both are in a scene, the scene is so riveting that it is hard to know which actor to watch.
Over the years, the 36-year-old Cumberbatch has built an impressive portfolio of work. He has been accurately described as a chameleon. He so completely invests himself in a role that it is sometimes hard to recognize the actor behind the character.
As Sylvia Tietjens, wife of wealthy landowner Christopher Tietjens, Hall holds her own against Cumberbatch. Her Sylvia is smart, narcissistic, beautiful, lusty, manipulative, and utterly fascinating. Her rival, suffragette Valentine Wannop, pales in comparison. While the younger Valentine is sweet, loyal, and plucky, she doesn't have Sylvia's fire.
Which woman will Christopher choose? You'll have to watch the series to find out. Along the way, you'll enjoy not only the performances of the three principal actors, but also the performances of a wonderful ensemble of able actors, including Rupert Everett, Anne-Marie Duff (coincidentally, the wife of James McAvoy, who joined Hall and Cumberbatch in "Starter for 10"), and others.
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