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Jonny Lee Miller
Excellent adaptation of Tolstoy (if not readers' misconceptions); ignore the haters
The poor reviews that I've seen seem to betray either delusion or a complete misunderstanding of the book. This is an excellent adaptation.
War and Peace is a story of mortals, fallible, corrupt, and yet full of love and hope. Some of the reviewers seem to have gotten in their head that Prince Andrey or Natasha should be like gods and goddesses when Tolstoy could not have intended anything farther from that. Tolstoy meant for us to see how the lives of admirable men and women are yet filled with foolishness. We are meant to see that in the end, the foolishness shouldn't matter.
Others seem to be aghast that there's infidelity, violence, and dishonesty. My God, I can only imagine that these reviewers would be better off watching Barney and Friends. This adaptation captures brilliantly Tolstoy's view of how terrible the course of human interaction can run, and yet there is something magical to life.
As far as the casting goes, I personally thought Sonya was a little too plain, Princess Marya a little too attractive, and Pierre rather too skinny, but these physical quibbles are nitpicky. Each performance seems true to Tolstoy's characterizations, if not the idealizations people have conjured in their minds. In my view, Denisov, though a minor character, is particularly brought to life. The old Prince Bolkonsky also is terrific.
Finally, I am no expert on 19th century Russian aristocratic dress or interior design, but frankly I saw nothing particularly out of place. I would be quite surprised if any of the reviewers who took issue with the costumes or the decorations were far more knowledgeable.
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