After reading Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, twice, I was expecting a lot from this A&E production. While watching the movie I was intrigued by the emotions set forth by the characters. I feel as though the cast was very well picked, especially Tess, Alec, and Angel. Their portrayals of the characters were very well done, and all three fit the parts perfectly.
One of the few problems I had with this movie was the length of the different segments. I am aware that this movie is modeled after the three-hundred some page book, but I felt that the first part, more specifically Tess's adventures before the dairy and meeting with Angel, drug on. Then as soon as Tess and Angel began a relationship, the movie rushed through until after Angel left Tess.
The second problem I had with this depiction of Hardy's novel was Tess's struggle with Alec. While reading the novel it seemed like Tess was constantly putting up a fight with Alec, in regards to his sexual innuendos. Where as, in the movie Tess seemed to give in to Alec without putting up any type of struggle. Especially during the scene in the woods, when Alec takes advantage of her.
When I read the novel, I did feel sorry for Tess in a sense, because of all she went through, but I never got fully in to her character. Where as in the movie I was completely engulfed by her, and I felt more sympathy towards her and Angel. Both actor/actresses captured the emotions and the feelings that their characters were feeling. They also did a wonderful job at following the dialect of that time period.
All in all I feel as though this movie was a good illustration of Hardy's 19th century novel. Although, I would not recommend watching the movie prior to reading, but watching it afterwards is a good way to clarify any unclear parts of the book. Again, I would like to give kudos to Justine Waddell (Tess), Oliver Milburn (Angel), and Jason Flemyng (Alec), for their excellent portrayals of Hardy's characters.