Most helpful critical review
Three-and-a-half stars, really
on 16 May 2014
I’ve read a few of Catherine Cookson’s historical novels, and usually found them a bit too full of gritty reality, sometimes with rather depressing endings. So I wasn’t too sure what to expect of this film – and, on the whole, was pleasantly surprised.
Annabella, a ten-year-old child of luxurious circumstances, doesn’t understand that her beloved father is a promiscuous, violent spendthrift. The first part of the film shows her background, and uncovers a few family secrets. Her naive innocence gets some of the servants into trouble.
Then the plot leaps forward seven years, and Annabella’s life takes on a very different form as she learns the truth about her past, and as her father is threatened with bankruptcy.
We thought it was very well done. I was particularly impressed with the young Annabella, and also Nigel Havers as her unpleasant (but attractive) father. I could have done without one violent boxing scene – I averted my eyes – but other than that, it was, on the whole, an enjoyable film. Quite long at two and a half hours, and I was relieved that the ending was much more satisfactory than I had feared.