The story of Tess Durbeyfield, a low-born country girl whose family find they have noble connections.

In a drunken and disheartened state, Michael Henchard sells his wife at a fair. When he becomes sober again he realises what he has done, and though unable to find his wife and child, changes his ways. He becomes the Mayor of the town. Nearly twenty years later his past comes back to haunt him. WHAT WE THOUGHT

Visually Tess of the D’Urbervilles is very stunning. The photography is fluid, the scenery is wonderful, the costumes are wondrous and the settings are stunning. It was like coming out of a time-machine and finding yourselves in the middle of the actual Victorian Era itself. The music and sound effects really added to the atmosphere; the music especially is beautiful and haunting. The story I admit is not the easiest to get into at first, as I have said already and several others already it is devastating and sad, but it is truly effective and was told so well it did have the same emotional impact that the book had.

“The Mayor of Casterbridge” involves a complex plot only Hardy could provide. The title character is a well-respected, wealthy mayor of a prosperous town and the owner of a granary. When Michael Henchard’s past mistakes and associations return to haunt him years later, he, his long-lost wife and daughter, his one-time lover and a young man who finds himself involved with all become intertwined in a tragic, moving, but somehow uplifting story. Stellar acting make this film work, even if it does seem rushed at times, and the story sometimes seems crammed in its time frame. While Ciaran Hinds in the lead sort of bugs and scares me, in the end, my mom and I both found ourselved in tears at his plight and the ending. Thomas Hardy’s stories often seem hopeless and Godless, but nevertheless lead to careful examination of human nature and society.

The DVD comes with a biography and bibliography of Thomas Hardy. The A/V Quality is strong enough with thin Dolby Surround audio and an adequate transfer. Basically, it’s another A&E adaptation of British material that comes across as just being good enough for television viewing. It’s not going to set your Home Theater on fire, but it’s also going to be enjoyable to watch. In the end, I’d recommend a rental.



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