I love this movie. I first saw it on PBS, and only because a family member made me do it. I'm not a PBS'er by nature, but once I got into this, I was hooked. This is a Dickens' novel that I can't believe I'd never heard of before, because it's easily one of his best. It contrasts two segments of old English society, in typical Dicken's style. The "dustmen" earn their living from "dust" - sort of the old English equivalent of junkyards, but worse - the dead bodies cast into the river. Dustmen go through their pockets and scavange old estates to sell off their loot for income. The story opens with an intriguing murder mystery. In the confusion, one dustmen and his wife inherit a large sum of money and find themselves in high society and trying to cope. But ... whose money is it really? Who are their real new - and old - friends? And while these folks - the Boffins - are main characters, they are, by no means, the only ones. Along the way there are two major romantic stories that weave throughout and form the core of the story. But this is not just a "chick flick", it's a brilliant study of old 19th century British culture. The story includes some rather enchanting surprises. And the number of very original and interesting characters are funny, heartbreaking, insightful, inspiring, maddening, and more.
One suggestion: some of the British accents are hard to make out. I put the "closed caption" feature on my TV so I could read what the characters were saying. Makes it a lot easier to understand some of the more extreme English accents.
All the acting is top-notch, but one acting job bears note: Anna Friel is brilliant in this film.
I've watched my tape many times, all six hours of it. I love it. SO GET IT ALREADY!