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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate BBC production, though a few minor gripes
This quality drama, with three fine performances from the trio of leading actresses, is immensely enjoyable, moving and worthwhile. It is the type of production that the BBC should make more often. Focusing mostly on details of Daphne du Maurier's love life as derived from her personal letters, a major source for Margaret Forster's biography of the author, "Daphne" sees...
Published on 27 Oct 2008 by unlikely_heroine

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3.0 out of 5 stars Daphne
I am a fan of the writer but thought this film whilst probably accurate was a bit slow.
I dont think its one I would watch again.
Published 18 months ago by kennys


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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate BBC production, though a few minor gripes, 27 Oct 2008
By 
This review is from: Daphne [DVD] (DVD)
This quality drama, with three fine performances from the trio of leading actresses, is immensely enjoyable, moving and worthwhile. It is the type of production that the BBC should make more often. Focusing mostly on details of Daphne du Maurier's love life as derived from her personal letters, a major source for Margaret Forster's biography of the author, "Daphne" sees the title character, the enduringly popular author, played by Geraldine Somerville. Many reviewers note that Somerville is familiar to audiences for her small role as Lily Potter in the "Harry Potter" franchise but to me, she will always be "Panhandle" Penhaligon from "Cracker" (this no doubt means I am showing my age!). I liked Somerville's performance, one of quiet restraint that successfully highlights du Maurier's repression of her romantic feelings; but in the more intimate scenes I thought perhaps the mask needed to slip a little more in order to convince us that du Maurier truly was troubled by her feelings for other women. Somerville is most convincing in the scenes showing du Maurier's apparently ultimately disappointing romance with her husband.

The highly talented but still comparatively little-known American actress Elizabeth McGovern plays Ellen Doubleday, the woman who reignites du Maurier's seemingly long-dormant "Venetian" passions, "Venetian" being du Maurier's code for "lesbian." This is a good turn from McGovern, who is as faultless as ever in the role that she is asked to play, but Ellen Doubleday, as written, comes across somewhat more inconsequential and lightweight than the viewer can believe the complex character of du Maurier we are shown would truly fall for.

The most fun is Janet McTeer as Gertrude Lawrence, whose straightforward approach to life and love is in stark contrast to du Maurier's tortured agonies about herself. Gertie shows Daphne how to have fun, something that clearly, entertainingly, bewilders the author. McTeer, getting some of the best lines, decides to steal the scene two or three times, and gets away with it.

Despite its few minor flaws, "Daphne" gets five stars from me because it is highly entertaining, with a distinctly different subject matter and tone to most TV dramas. Committed du Maurier fans would no doubt like to see more about the writing process, du Maurier's literary inspiration and her experiences of being one of the most successful novelists of her day. We do see a glimpse of the (unsuccessful) US plagarism action against du Maurier over "Rebecca", and hear the novelist herself remark, with a tone of annoyance, that it is always that novel that receives attention ahead of all her other work. However, for the most part, du Maurier as author is sidelined in favour of du Maurier the emotionally tortured, at least semi-"Venetian" married woman. This will not please all viewers, but "Daphne" succeeds in being stylish, affecting and memorable, and is a cut above the vast majority of televisual offerings on offer both on TV and DVD. This drama looks, sounds and feels captivating, a truly rare achievement.

There are two minor gripes that should be covered as a footnote to this review. The first is that the attention to detail of "Daphne" is somewhat let down by the editing. A telling example is the shots used of jazz band members at the beginning and end of the film, who are meant to be two groups playing at functions several years apart. It is not simply that they are the same band wearing the same clothes; the shots themselves are identical, and both my friend and I noticed this immediately when watching this film for the first time. This is the kind of thing good editing should most certainly pick up.

Secondly, a word about the DVD: somewhat disappointingly, there are no extras whatsoever on the Region 2 version. Some internet reviews suggest that a documentary regarding du Maurier is included (perhaps on other region releases), but only the film is on the Region 2 disc. A great pity that the BBC could not arrange to include some extra material here to complement the main feature.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daphne Du Maurier, 19 Jun 2008
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RD - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Daphne [DVD] (DVD)
This is an eye opening story into the private life of Ms Du Maurier. I'm not sure it's much of a biography though as we only see a small chunk of her life that deals with her sexuality and how her attraction to women came to plague her and affect her family life.

The movie begins with her trip to America to contest allegations of plagarism in the hit novel 'Rebecca'. There she meets Ellen Doubleday for whom she develops a strong attraction and infact potentially falls in love with. Unfortunately, it is a love that is not reciprocated and cannot be. This leads to lots of personal struggles and she tries to deal with the 'loss'/ rejection. This leads to her meeting Gertrude Lawrence, a famous actress, with whom she starts a relationship that is not without its own problems.

I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would. I don't think it's the best way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the great author as it isn't really a biography. We have no idea where she started and where things went. A bit of a let down in that respect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deft portrayal, 21 Sep 2011
This review is from: Daphne [DVD] (DVD)
I somehow missed this on TV but enjoyed Margaret Forster's autobiography and wondered how good this adaptation would be. Have to admit I was pleasantly surprised, as it's a necessarily condensed version of a complicated life, based mainly around Daphne du Maurier's amorous relationships with publisher's wife Ellen Doubleday (Elizabeth McGovern) and actress Gertrude Lawrence (the ever-splendid and slightly OTT Janet McTeer). It's a neat illustration of how life mirrors art and how art becomes compelling when it's fired by repressed desire. Geraldine Somerville as Daphne captures her growing sense of alienation from the combined role of mother/wife/celebrity. The film makes clear that she was trapped by her own self-disgust at the thought of being a lesbian, despite a number of passionate encounters with her own sex - and, as readers, we're fortunate that she funneled most of these desires into her strangely eroticised novels. I urge you to read Forster's autobiography, which provides more detail of her early life and her ambiguous relationship with her father.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 20 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Daphne [DVD] (DVD)
As a fan of Daphne du Mauriers writing, this film gives insight into her personality and helps you to understand her novels,especially the stories less famous.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a rare insight., 28 May 2009
By 
Ms. Rebecca J. Connelly "becz" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Daphne [DVD] (DVD)
i cant believe i missed this on bbc its so clued in and insightful iv learned alot from this,i may buy one of her books.dont know why but this reminds me of the film "aimee & jaguar".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining bio, 1 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Daphne [DVD] (DVD)
Well acted and entertaining but ultimately rather tame glimpse into the supposedly secret life of Daphne Du Maurier. Plenty of scope here for a more adventurous Director to really get stuck into methinks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Author's background, 25 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Daphne [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this because my daughter is doing an in-depth study of 'Rebecca' so thought a little background of the writer might be useful. She wasn't disapponted.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Daphne, 6 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Daphne [DVD] (DVD)
I am a fan of the writer but thought this film whilst probably accurate was a bit slow.
I dont think its one I would watch again.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It is a sleeping pill, 4 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Daphne [DVD] (DVD)
I was bored, fell a sleep , and I had to try to see it several times before I got through it. The one star goes to the authenticity of clothes and surroundings.
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Daphne [DVD]
Daphne [DVD] by Elizabeth McGovern (DVD - 2008)
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