Friday, 8 May 2015

I've Just Seen: The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

Director: Karel Reisz
Writer: Harold Pinter (from John Fowles novel)
Notable Actors: Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons

I have not read the novel this film is based on, but after watching it my interest has been piqued. The two stories blend together, drawing comparisons between Victorian and modern approaches to sexual morality, and the different risks associated with following your heart. The reflexivity of the film (they are filming an adaptation of Fowles' novel in this film) was not referred to as often as I thought it would be; large passages of the Victorian plot would occur before a modern scene happened. I think it could have been used more throughout the film, asking questions about why 'cinema of quality' is so popular.

Streep and Irons are great together, relishing the opportunity to play two different roles against each other (surely an actor's dream!). The film reminded me of books more than other films: Edith Warton's novels, particularly The House of Mirth, and A. S. Byatt's Possession (which Wikipedia tells me was written in light of Fowles' novel. Don't know if that makes me smart or obvious.). I liked this as an intelligent historical romance (a film type I often enjoy), with a twist.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this more than I thought I would. It's one of the reasons I tend to focus on movies I haven't seen before, because I get such nice surprises.