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4.3 out of 5 stars275
4.3 out of 5 stars
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2012
This is a wonderful dramatisation of Ford Maddox Ford's novel Parade's End, following the life of Christopher Teijen's, an Edwardian gentleman, through the early years of the 20th Century until the end of the First World War. The production is lavish and performances by Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, and other noteable British actors are sublime. Not to be missed, loved it and have sent it to several friends abroad!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2013
Perhaps only Tom Stoppard could turn Ford Madox Ford's flawed masterpiece into a screenplay - well,he almost succeeded.For two thirds or more of this BBC production I was persuaded that my deep scepticism concerning its filmability was completely unfounded: Cumberbatch does a miraculous job of getting inside the skin of the exasperating anti-hero Christopher Tietjens, supported by compelling performances from the two actors playing the women in his life.
But something goes terribly wrong in the run up to the finale;the fourth book of Ford's tetralogy is simply ignored, and we are therefore denied one of the most critical encounters in the entire book - the moment when Tietjens' wife Sylvia enters the sanctuary Tietjens shares with his pregnant mistress, sister-in-law and his dying brother.It would be interesting to know what kind of conversations took place behind the scenes - was Stoppard really responsible for this savage curtailment?This could have been one of the most distinguished adaptations ever commissioned by the BBC:what we have is a tantalising glimpse of what might have been.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2013
Being a fan of a good period drama, as-well-as a huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch i naturally just had to watch this 5 part drama. 'Downton Abbey' it sure aint!! There's no comparison really, i find it a far more superior drama. It may not be to everyones taste and you really have to follow it carefully as it is based on the famous Ford Maddox Ford book which is a tough, but great read. Thankfully i read the book after seeing the series. So if you are into a good period drama which gives a good realistic insight into what life was like during the first world war, tackling society, class differences ....and a lot of 'gossip'!!!! and of course brilliant acting from an equally brilliant cast.....well this is for you.....and then go get the book!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2014
I was unfamiliar with the book Parade's End and watched this adaptation, to start with, because it stars Benedict Cumberbatch, probably one of the most interesting actors around at the moment. But I quickly became drawn in by the themes of women's suffrage, trench warfare, and people trying to protect their reputations even when seemingly most of the world knows what they're up to.

As well as the intelligently drawn characters of Christopher and his love interest, Miss Wannop, I loved the incidental characters of Mr and Mrs Duchemin, who provide a bit of comic relief but suddenly turn very serious. One slight criticism is that I didn't feel Christopher and Valentine really shared enough screen time prior to their declarations of love - it seemed to come out of almost nowhere and while it was in character for the impulsive and passionate young woman, it was less convincing in the case of buttoned-up old Tietjens.

I also found the character of Sylvia very sympathetically drawn (probably much more so than in the book) - here is an obviously intelligent women who, because of her class and gender, isn't allowed to fulfill her potential, so she turns to having affairs and tormenting her husband out of sheer boredom. Rebecca Hall looks beautiful but also turns in an amazing performance that just about retains the viewer's sympathies.

Highly recommended for, simply put, anyone who enjoys well-written and acted drama. The pace may be a bit slow for some but it really is one of those shows that rewards you for paying attention.
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97 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2012
It was always going to be hard to capture the essence of the Edwardian era and the subtleties of manners of the time, as well as deciding what to keep in and what to omit in what was, already, a long, complex text. However, with a script by the very talented Tom Stoppard, a playwright with many intelligent and densely allusional scripts behind him already, some great photography (some of the shots look like paintings they are so beautifully composed) and some (although not all at all times) excellent acting, this series really shows what the BBC can accomplish when it makes the effort. The brief bits of humour also break up the intensity and provide some lighter moments. A Highly accomplished achievement. Do buy it.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2012
Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed a fascinating and enigmatic character, rare in television drama. This was an absorbing, well-paced series, which I watched straight over again once the DVD came out in order to pick up nuances missed during the first television outing. Being a literary adaption however, the gaps were noticeable (I have not read the novels, but like most of these dramas compression of narrative sometimes leaves one wishing for a bit more - but perhaps that's the whole point). All the actors were, I thought, rendered their characters pretty much perfectly.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2012
The acting from Cumberbatch and Hall (understated and theatrical respectively) is masterclass and fits Christopher and Sylvia perfectly. The script is genius and the photography breathtaking. The presentation of the story though is a bit different from the book. This is more Sylvia-centric (just count the number of monologues and screen time Sylvia has). The book on the other hand focuses on Christopher more. You get more from Valentine as well. Nonetheless, this is a reminder that the BBC makes period drama best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2013
This is a great adaptation of Ford Madox Ford's work by Tom Stoppard. The acting is uniformly excellent, but I particularly loved Benedict Cumberbatch as Christopher Tietjens, quiet, closed in, but expressing his inner feelings by movement and facial expression. Equally good is Rebecca Hall as his wife Sylvia, playing a woman who is frequently a monster and making her totally believable and even, at times, sympathetic. The portrayal of a society changing from Edwardian values to more modern ones is totally believable, with a fascinating portrayal of the suffragettes, as exemplified by Christopher's real love Valentine, played well by Adelaide Clemens and World War 1 is shown as the horror it was.

The interviews with cast and production are interesting extras.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2012
The concept of Parade's End highlighted the behaviour of an era. And how life and love and war can change society. With the central character, a conservative English aristocrat, played by the delicious Benedict Cumberbatch, torn between two very different women. He, like his world, will never be the same. So beautifully shot, so brilliantly played, I watched it twice in a row!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2013
I watched this wonderful period piece on TV and was captivated from the start. The character of Christopher Tietjens (a man of intelligence, honour and duty) is unlike any I have come across before. His unfaithful and acid tongued wife Sylvia loves him and hates him in almost equal measure - and in addition conspires to ruin him. As a catholic Christopher will not divorce her, but when he encounters a young suffragette (Valentine) his predicament appears to be coming to an end. However, war intervenes and Christopher joins up to fight. When the damaged hero returns 10 years have passed since he first met Valentine - who during that time has become devoted to him.
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