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Daniel Deronda (DVD) (Repackaged)
George Eliot's accomplished but underrated last novel is effectively, often stirringly, adapted for this 2002 BBC production, which was scripted by old pro Andrew Davies (Middlemarch) and directed with wit and subtlety by Tom Hooper (Cold Feet). Set in the 1870s, Eliot's story concerns two strong-willed young people whose self-determination is under attack by legal constraints on their rights to an inheritance. The noble Daniel (Hugh Dancy) is of dubious birth; the fiery Gwendolen (Romola Garai) can't possess her late father's estate because she's a woman. They are sympathetic to one another, but not lovers: Gwendolen is obliged to marry into wealth and becomes an unhappy bride of the scoundrel Grandcourt (Hugh Bonneville), while Daniel must sort out his feelings about the much-maligned "Jewess," the beautiful Mirah. Despite Garai's somewhat questionable casting, this lengthy drama--evenly divided between the two leads--never lags in insight or passion. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Daniel Deronda (Hugh Dancy) is the ward (and rumored illegitimate son) of a nobleman, but he feels somehow aimless and unfulfilled -- he wants to devote himself to something, but doesn't know what. During a tour of Germany, he encounters pretty, reckless, arrogant Gwendolyn (Romola Garai) at a casino.
Gwendolyn (who boasts that she gets everything she wants) is interested in Daniel, but when her family loses all their money, she marries a rich suitor, a relative of Daniel's -- knowing that his mistress and illegitimate children will be disinherited. But she soon finds that her new husband is a sadistic brute, and sees Daniel as her only help.
Meanwhile, Daniel rescues the despairing Mirah Lapidoth (Jodhi May) from a suicide attempt, and he helps the young Jewish singer find a home and friends. As he helps her find her family, he becomes passionately attached to the Jewish population and their plight. Then he receives an important message -- one that will illuminate his roots, and give him a course of the future.
When Eliot published her final novel, it caused a massive stir -- not many novelists tackled the plight of the Jewish population, or how it compared to the gilded upper classes. In a way, "Daniel Deronda" is both a love triangle and an allegory -- Daniel must choose between the pretty, shallow English life (Gwendolyn) or a rich Jewish heritage (Mirah) with a background of tragedy.Read more ›
the movie version of George Eliot's last novel is one of the fairest productions which is based on a book i have ever seen; the characters are presented as brilliantly here as they are in the book (with the small exception of Jodhi May as Mirah-- she was far too old to play her!). The sections of the novel which seem long-winded are presented fluently and gracefully, and the iterations which are wonderful to read are an even bigger joy to watch. Hugh Dancy as the title character does not overplay Deronda's inward contemplation nor does he downplay the spurts of emotion. Romala Garai as the beautiful Gwendolen Harleth-Grandcourt portrays her complex and difficult with ease and candor; a true triumph!
I would definately recommend this movie to anyone whose got a rainy afternoon to spare and fans of BBC productions to boot! You will not be disappointed!
Gwendolen cannot inherit her father's property because she is female, and, when family fortunes decline, she has a choice of becoming a governess or marrying Henleigh Grandcourt, who represents all of the worst traits in a Victorian gentleman. Her choice, and the consequences of that decision force her to grow and change in unforseen ways.
The series does a great job in communicating Eliot's social commentary, her views on the role of women in marriage, and the role of Jews in England. The actors all did a marvelous job with their characters, although a few found their roles reduced compared to the novel. I particularly liked the leads. Hugh Dancy did an excellent job in his portrayal of Daniel Deronda.Read more ›
Charming and sensitive young man Daniel Deronda, who was the adopted son of an aristocratic Englishman, was at the threshold of a new life period when he met the beautiful but self-centered Gwendolen Harleth, and saved the life of a tender and angel-voiced Jewish girl, Mirah. In helping Mirah to find her families, Daniel walked into the Jewish society, astounded and, almost immediately, attached. The story moves in and out of the drama around young beauty Gwendolen gambling her life and Daniel searching for his true life. When the conventional Victorian life and the Jewish living at the margins of the society are combined and contrasted, with exquisite craft, it adds great intensity and range to the drama. The great camera work has captured the grandeurs and subtleties with equal sensitivity. The music, in which the gloriousness of the opera singing echoes the sereneness of the Jewish chanting, is enchantingly beautiful.
Hugh Dancy has lived, rather than just acted, Daniel Deronda. He is a fine actor with a deep understanding of the character. He has such vivid expressions in his eyes that you can see Daniel's complexity and perplexity simply through his eyes. Gwendolen would be less truthful if not for the certain level of vulnerability and sincerity in Romala Garai's portrayal, which also has somewhat smoothes out character's vulgarity. Mirah, although not a very big role, has an essential importance to the entire story. Jodhi May's heartfelt and natural acting is exactly what we would expect from this loving character.
This BBC miniseries is brilliant in every aspect. It's an exceptional work with a finely balanced artifice and raw drama.
Most recent customer reviews
I only wish we could watch this movie in the second Canadian official language.Published 15 months ago by Guillaume Tell
I have just given this D.V.D. to a friend from ISRAEL who has recently come to Canada.
This is a spiritual story and deeply moving.
The story kept one's full attention. The actors were awesome. The scenery was fantastik. I always enjoy a story that has a surprise and this one sure did. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2013 by Louise Bowolin
I wasn't sure what to expect with this story. I hadn't seen it on TV prior to purchasing the DVD but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2010 by caseygirl
Extraordinary acting and captivating story! The character Daniel Deronda possesses that blend of sensitivity and ability to see right into others' souls that is so rare. Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Michelle
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