Solomon and Gaenor
is a British Romeo and Juliet
which, while well acted, suffers from a lack of both imagination and budget. Shot in drab, grimily realistic, BBC-period-drama style, the story is set in a Welsh mining community in 1911. Solomon, rising star Ioan Gruffudd (Hornblower
,) is a Jewish travelling salesman. Gaenor (played by the breathtakingly beautiful Nia Roberts) is the daughter of a strict chapel-going family. They begin a clandestine affair that we just know will end in tragedy. The ensuing events pack a strong emotional punch in evoking the grinding desperation of these blighted lives, yet the storytelling is predictable and director Paul Morrisson makes the mistake of confusing unrelenting misery and a flat pace with artistic seriousness. The cinematography is televisual in scale, and the producers apparently lacked the budget to show the miners' strike which forms a background of escalating tension. Nevertheless, Gruffudd is convincing and effortlessly charismatic, a genuine star in the making, sufficient to make one overlook that the film is essentially a competent variation on aspects of Jude
and Ken Russell's versions of DH Lawrence's The Rainbow
and Women in Love
. --Gary S Dalkin
A Welsh valley mining village in the early 1900s provides the backdrop for this drama of doomed romance. Orthodox Jew Solomon (Ioan Gruffud) falls in love with Gaenor (Nia Roberts), the daughter of strict chapel-goers. As their relationship develops, opposition to it grows amongst the small-minded community around them.