Tragic Story of an English Rose
On the day of the May dance, Tess' father discovers he is
a lineal descendant of the D'Urbervilles. While he celebrates
his good fortune, his daughter dances in her creamy dress with
her friends wearing lace shawls and bonnets. There is a sense of
peace and happiness in a secluded part of the world. A place you
never imagine could foster such exquisite pain.
Tess (Justine Waddell) seems reticent and reluctant. She is
torn between her responsibility to her family and finding her
own happiness. In harsh times, she chooses to try her best at
finding support for her family.
In her reluctance, she casts a mysterious spell about herself
and this seems to make her irresistible. Riding alone with a
handsome man in a mysterious forest seems a fantasy at first.
Then, when she draws the wrong man to her inner circle and he
takes her by force, we doubt she will be able to love again.
Once her mother releases her into this wolf's forest, she is
never safe again. His love is damaging to her in all the worst
Not only does she become pregnant, her child dies and she
must now carry this secret with her to her grave or be shunned
by men who are more understanding of their own lusts, than of
her forced submission after only a casual dalliance. Since she
doesn't love Alec (Jason Flemying), she decides not to marry
him. Although, if she did marry him, she could have lived in a
beautiful Victorian mansion complete with wood floors and ferns
in planters on pedestals. She is offered wealth again and again.
I love this movie for so many reason. Not only can you escape
to the English countryside, there are beautiful scenes of family
life by fireplaces and country life on farms. Milk sloshes in
wooden buckets and milkmaids are still innocent enough to cry
Just when we think Tess is safe, she falls in love with Angel
Clare (Oliver Milburn). He sees her as a goddess, perhaps
Demeter. Little does he know how true his words are, as Demeter
was the goddess of fertility and was also raped. They played
with this idea throughout the movie in subtle ways. Tess is seen
holding grain, she is very fertile and she is raped. Through
Tess' experiences with suffering and grief, she learns to
empathize with others and eventually almost sacrifices her body
for the love of her family.
Then, her past comes back to haunt her in the worst ways.
This is tragedy at its best, if there is such an idea. I loved
this adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel. However, I kept waiting
for scenes I'd thought I'd seen before. Then, I realized I had
mistaken this movie for Roman Polanski's 1980 adaptation. Both
movies are excellent and will keep your attention right to the
last second. Now I have a good excuse to watch "Tess."
If you love comparing adaptations, it is well worth the extra
Incredible acting, gorgeous scenery and a tragedy with so
much irony and drama, you can't believe anyone could have luck
this bad. Or was it just decisions the actors made in the
direction of their own tragic ends? Should Tess have followed
her heart to begin with and would that have made all the
difference? Should you really tell your lover all your faults on
your wedding night? This movie is not only stunning in its
beauty, it also makes you think on a deeper level about a number
of situations and how you would deal with them if you were Tess.
One of the most compelling tragedies I've ever seen and I'm
happy to say I enjoyed this adaptation as much as the 1980
. Both are almost three hours in length. Not really movies you
just watch on a whim.
Movie Food: Strawberries!
White Chocolate Fondue
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