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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Resplendent
"Caroline is clever, Emily is a mother to me, Louisa is an angel and Cecilia is a child. I am a disappointment."

That line (uttered by Sarah Lennox) sums up the tumultuous "Aristocrats," a sumptuous, glittering miniseries about the famous and/or infamous Lennox sisters, who were the great-granddaughters of Charles II and his mistress Louise de...
Published on 6 July 2009 by E. A Solinas

versus
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plodding and pathetically poor
This was one of the the dullest series I have watched - and I stupidly went all the way through to the last episode just to see the end, hoping for something interesting. The female cast looked anything but aristocratic and the main leads, all with the most ridiculous wigs, seemed without any personality or feistyness. The plot was difficult to follow and the Director...
Published on 15 Feb 2012 by mkelly@foxwood.demon.co.uk


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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Resplendent, 6 July 2009
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Aristocrats [DVD] (DVD)
"Caroline is clever, Emily is a mother to me, Louisa is an angel and Cecilia is a child. I am a disappointment."

That line (uttered by Sarah Lennox) sums up the tumultuous "Aristocrats," a sumptuous, glittering miniseries about the famous and/or infamous Lennox sisters, who were the great-granddaughters of Charles II and his mistress Louise de Kérouaille. Solid acting and a wonderfully soapy storyline make this a great historical drama, but it spins way out there in the last episode.

The Lennox family splinters when the eldest daughter, Caroline (Serena Gordon) falls in love with an older, ambitious politician, Mr. Fox -- and scandalously elopes with him. Emily (Geraldine Somerville) takes a different approach when she falls for the lusty Lord Kildare (Ben Daniels), and eventually her parents agree. They marry, have seemingly dozens of kids, and are happy despite Kildare's frequent infidelity.

But then Lord and Lady Richmond die, leaving their next three daughters Louisa, Sarah and Cecilia in Emily's care. Louisa (Anne-Marie Duff) gets happily married to a dim, loving husband. But when Sarah (Jodhi May) catches the eye of the timid Prince of Wales, the Foxes desperately maneuver to make her the next queen -- which naturally destroys her chances.

So she marries a very cold, inattentive man, and soon starts gambling, has an affair with a sexy Frenchman -- and elopes with a volatile Harlequin hunk, after having his illegitimate baby. As the family struggles with her disgrace and the brewing war in America, they face new losses and new scandals... and in the years that follow, the family is again thrown into turmoil when Emily's fiery son becomes involved in an Irish revolution...

"The Aristocrats" is kind of like a soap opera from the 1700s -- and it's even juicier when you consider that this stuff happened for real. Multiple adulterous affairs, deaths, feuds, scandals, revolutions, elopements, illegitimate babies, and a king dropping dead on the toilet. And it all more or less happens to one family, over the course of a generation.

And the adaptation wraps the entire era in lush sets and costumes -- big billowing dresses, powdered wigs, sumptuous furniture, opulent mansions, crumbly castles, and the prettily overgrown greenery of their gardens. Frankly, you could get drunk on the scenery alone in this miniseries. David Caffrey does an excellent job soaking the atmosphere into the scenes, whether it's the poignant loneliness of Sarah's "exile," or the sexy interludes between the women and their lovers/husbands.

Problem? The last episode shoots us forward twenty-plus years, and the focus shifts from the remaining sisters to Emily's son Edward, and the "serious" storyline rushes by way too fast. It's not bad, but it feels like an entirely different story was tacked on at the last minute, with all different actors and a totally different focus and "feel."

The actors are good all around: Somerville's brittle yet loving Caroline, Gordon's dutiful yet slightly wicked Emily, and Duff adding a bit of sorrow into the ever-good Louisa. May gives the most astounding performance -- she puts real desperation and sorrow into Sarah's rapid downward slide, and her genuine desire to do the right thing. Lots of frustration, anger, sorrow and finally love in there -- it's simply brilliant.

But the other actors put in good performances too -- Daniels does a great job showing how Kildare loves his wife even if he isn't faithful, and his final scene with Gordon is heartbreaking. George Anton is charming, Alun Armstrong is abrasively interesting, and Tom Mullion is cute in a dim way.

"The Aristocrats" is a solid, sumptuous costume drama with a befuddling final act, but some brilliant acting and direction carry it on through. Sexy, dignified and -- at one time -- scandalous.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Resplendent, 1 Feb 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"Caroline is clever, Emily is a mother to me, Louisa is an angel and Cecilia is a child. I am a disappointment."

That line (uttered by Sarah Lennox) sums up the tumultuous "Aristocrats," a sumptuous, glittering miniseries about the famous and/or infamous Lennox sisters, who were the great-granddaughters of Charles II and his mistress Louise de Kérouaille. Solid acting and a wonderfully soapy storyline make this a great historical drama, but it spins way out there in the last episode.

The Lennox family splinters when the eldest daughter, Caroline (Serena Gordon) falls in love with an older, ambitious politician, Mr. Fox -- and scandalously elopes with him. Emily (Geraldine Somerville) takes a different approach when she falls for the lusty Lord Kildare (Ben Daniels), and eventually her parents agree. They marry, have seemingly dozens of kids, and are happy despite Kildare's frequent infidelity.

But then Lord and Lady Richmond die, leaving their next three daughters Louisa, Sarah and Cecilia in Emily's care. Louisa (Anne-Marie Duff) gets happily married to a dim, loving husband. But when Sarah (Jodhi May) catches the eye of the timid Prince of Wales, the Foxes desperately maneuver to make her the next queen -- which naturally destroys her chances.

So she marries a very cold, inattentive man, and soon starts gambling, has an affair with a sexy Frenchman -- and elopes with a volatile Harlequin hunk, after having his illegitimate baby. As the family struggles with her disgrace and the brewing war in America, they face new losses and new scandals... and in the years that follow, the family is again thrown into turmoil when Emily's fiery son becomes involved in an Irish revolution...

"The Aristocrats" is kind of like a soap opera from the 1700s -- and it's even juicier when you consider that this stuff happened for real. Multiple adulterous affairs, deaths, feuds, scandals, revolutions, elopements, illegitimate babies, and a king dropping dead on the toilet. And it all more or less happens to one family, over the course of a generation.

And the adaptation wraps the entire era in lush sets and costumes -- big billowing dresses, powdered wigs, sumptuous furniture, opulent mansions, crumbly castles, and the prettily overgrown greenery of their gardens. Frankly, you could get drunk on the scenery alone in this miniseries. David Caffrey does an excellent job soaking the atmosphere into the scenes, whether it's the poignant loneliness of Sarah's "exile," or the sexy interludes between the women and their lovers/husbands.

Problem? The last episode shoots us forward twenty-plus years, and the focus shifts from the remaining sisters to Emily's son Edward, and the "serious" storyline rushes by way too fast. It's not bad, but it feels like an entirely different story was tacked on at the last minute, with all different actors and a totally different focus and "feel."

The actors are good all around: Somerville's brittle yet loving Caroline, Gordon's dutiful yet slightly wicked Emily, and Duff adding a bit of sorrow into the ever-good Louisa. May gives the most astounding performance -- she puts real desperation and sorrow into Sarah's rapid downward slide, and her genuine desire to do the right thing. Lots of frustration, anger, sorrow and finally love in there -- it's simply brilliant.

But the other actors put in good performances too -- Daniels does a great job showing how Kildare loves his wife even if he isn't faithful, and his final scene with Gordon is heartbreaking. George Anton is charming, Alun Armstrong is abrasively interesting, and Tom Mullion is cute in a dim way.

"The Aristocrats" is a solid, sumptuous costume drama with a befuddling final act, but some brilliant acting and direction carry it on through. Sexy, dignified and -- at one time -- scandalous.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lavish BBC Costume Drama, 19 Nov 2008
This review is from: Aristocrats [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this great series when it was first broadcast on BBC One back in 1999 and then bought the series on VHS (which I have now worn out). A gripping story, sumptous performances (especially by Geraldine Somerville as Lady Emily and Jodhi May as the minxish Sarah) amazing costumes but for me it is the enigmatic Julian Fellowes who steals the show with his wonderfully paced performance as Lord Richmond.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History made interesting., 6 April 2009
By 
E. M. Thompson (Yorkshire,UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Aristocrats [DVD] (DVD)
This is the story, not over dramatised as far as I am aware, of the four daughters of the third Duke of Richmond. It taught me an aspect of history which I hadn't previously known in such a way that I wanted to follow it up with my own resarch. The fact that I had seen and enjoyed the TV series made me want to buy the DVD to keep.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aristocrats, 9 April 2009
By 
A. K. Smart "Ken Smart" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Aristocrats [DVD] (DVD)
I thoroughly enjoyed this series, but confess that I did on occasion literally lose the plot as the storyline years rolled on. This was due to the changes to actors/actresses in the latter episodes, and I found myself having to think hard to get continuity. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable costume romp, with a fine cast performing with aplomb.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite, 2 Feb 2011
By 
sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Aristocrats [DVD] (DVD)
This is a saga of family; of overbearing parents, of loving - and feuding-sisters; of motherhood with its joys and heartbreak.
Based originally on letters written between the Lennox sisters, I found the DVD adaptation of Stella Tillyard's biography compelling, and although set in another era, could utterly identify with their feelings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful series, 31 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Aristocrats [DVD] (DVD)
A wonderfully engaging series which is great for those interested in British history. Fantastic cast and acting well worth having.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 8 Feb 2012
By 
R. Davies (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Aristocrats [DVD] (DVD)
This is a scrupulous and intelligent dramatisation of the true story of the fascinating Lennox sisters, who were born to loving but conventional aristocratic parents.

The costumes and settings are sublime and the cast is outstanding. I would recommend it to fans of period drama, and to those interested in C18th history.

Why not five stars? Well, the final episode was rather disappointing. Instead of "ageing" the actresses, they introduced new ones, and in conjunction with the fact that this episode had a "political" rather than "personal" flavour, this casting decision gave the final episode the feel of a completely different programme.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully well done, stunning with gorgeous costumes!, 27 Feb 2001
I first saw this on the television late at night. I only saw the first 10 minutes and I went out and bought the set of videos.
This story is based around the Lennox sisters, weathly aritocrats who have everything they could ever dream for. All the sisters have different stories to tell and what tales they are. I highly reccomend this series if you like costumes and enjoy drama.
Although it is sad around the ending, I still think it is just an amazing tale.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plodding and pathetically poor, 15 Feb 2012
This review is from: Aristocrats [DVD] (DVD)
This was one of the the dullest series I have watched - and I stupidly went all the way through to the last episode just to see the end, hoping for something interesting. The female cast looked anything but aristocratic and the main leads, all with the most ridiculous wigs, seemed without any personality or feistyness. The plot was difficult to follow and the Director was clearly out to lunch most of the time. A potentially good story ruined by bad casting, bad directing and silly hair-dos. As a DVD - a waste of time!
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