Top critical review
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Beautifuly done but "creative" with the plot
on July 15, 2004
This is a beautiful film, there is absolutely no denying that. It is also exceptionally well cast: Mary's transformation from sour little brat to glowing wee lass is completely believable, and the bratty, dour Colin makes a perfect "to the manor born" invalid. My only problem is the liberties taken with the plot.
Having the parents die in an earthquake while Mary is watching is a needless, though minor liberty (though it does mean that the touching line about "there's no one left to come" must be left out). But there was no need to change the plot to make the housekeeper (a wasted Maggie Smith) evil, and the chanting around the campfire is just weird.
The movie is worth watching for the scenery alone, but make sure that you read the book first. It is much better.