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71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, Emotional & Beautiful!
I read this book when I was a teenager and found Hardy's style of writing hard going; but it painted a vivid picture of the extremes of the rich and the poor, the depths of emotional despair and the cruel twist of fate. At each crossroad Tess seems to take the wrong path and we are left to ask "what if?".
Having watched and loved the Polanski film, I was expecting...
Published on 4 Nov. 2008 by Lizzi S

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad Tess!
I am surprised by the many positive reviews for this film. I have just seen it and can't take to it at all. The biggest problem for me was Gemma Arterton who I believe is a horrible choice for Tess. Where to start... Her hair, the fringe is too modern looking and as a milk maid her hair would have been tied away from her face. Her clothes... A poor milk maid wearing...
Published 1 month ago by Ms Walton


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71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, Emotional & Beautiful!, 4 Nov. 2008
By 
Lizzi S (Brentwood, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
I read this book when I was a teenager and found Hardy's style of writing hard going; but it painted a vivid picture of the extremes of the rich and the poor, the depths of emotional despair and the cruel twist of fate. At each crossroad Tess seems to take the wrong path and we are left to ask "what if?".
Having watched and loved the Polanski film, I was expecting alot of the BBC. I wasn't disappointed. Atherton's beauty and touching portrayal of Tess took my breath away. If you don't connect with Tess from the beginning, it is harder to sympathise with her every time she takes a wrong turn, and Atherton captured me from the first scene.
Everything about this adaptation is beautiful ... the cinematography, the casting and the acting.
I was worried from the outset that I wouldnt cry at the end, that somehow this wonderful portrayal would let me down at the crucial climax. Instead I was left sobbing like a baby for about half an hour after the credits rolled and I knew I'd watched something truly special.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable, 5 May 2010
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This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
I had watched three of the four episodes on the BBC, and with each one I was sucked right in and identified with Tess's plight. There are so many contrasting themes to be enthralled by - countryside, rural, town versus country, pagan versus Christian, exploitation and prejudice by Christians; lust and love; pride and folly; betrayal and devotion to name a few.
Top that mix with wonderful casting and delicious costumes. I finally tracked down this dvd which contains two discs with two episodes on each, and got to watch the last episode. Oh boy, I won't spoil it for you. The camera work is terrific - pulling out of close-up to a wide-shot to emphasise a point was a masterstroke - making the watcher feel helpless. Well done the Beeb.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully done, heartbreaking to watch..., 30 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
I have to admit I was expecting to hate this because I'm a big fan of the Justine Waddell version, but Gemma Arterton made the role her own. My only complaint would be that Angel and Tess lacked the chemistry that I loved so much in the other version. But overall a wonderful adaptation.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance on film., 13 Oct. 2009
By 
R. Speedie "Beccy." (Scotland.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
I read this book in first year at high school, and after falling in love with the story I went off and bought the 1970's version of Tess. I loved that as well, and thought that there would never be another version like it- but along came the BBC with their newest adaptation of this classic love story.

I don't want to spoil the story for anybody who isn't familiar with it, so all I can say is I highly recommend buying this adaptation- and if you're like me, allowing it to turn into the only thing you ever watch!

Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne... What can I say about them?

You instantly connect with Arterton's Tess, and having read the book she seems like the perfect choice. Her beauty, her acting talent, her versatility- they all make you fall in love with her character. Arterton makes Tess so easy to empathise with that when the end of the mini-series came(four hours just didn't seem enough!) you are more heartbroken than you could ever have expected.

I had never seen Redmayne before, and as a result of his portrayal of Angel Clare I have been trying hard to watch every production he has been in, no matter how small the part! Versatile actor though he is, this is a particularly stunning performance from the equally stunning actor.

Hans Matheson and Ruth Jones' portrayals of Alec and Tess' mother were two more examples of wonderful casting, and each actor seems ideal for their part.

I just can't fault this series- from start to finish, it's simply the best portrayal of Hardy that I have seen or am ever likely to see. You don't have to take my word for it- look at the rest of the reviews!
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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good a dramatisation of any classic I have ever seen and as affecting., 7 Oct. 2008
By 
This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
If you scan these reviews you will find that two of them complain that this 'Tess' is too grim and a couple of others complain that it is too 'light' and doesn't reflect the harsh social conditions strongly enough. I think you can safely assume therefore that the makers got it just about right. I certainly think so. The production values throughout are very impressive and the period when Tess works through the winter on a farm, for very low wages, in terrible conditions and cruelly treated, is well conveyed. And on the other hand there are plenty of scenes which are set against wonderful green Hardy landscapes never seen to more advantage than here, as shot with the new HD cameras.

This is the third time that Tess has been done, and all three have been quite superb. The other two were done in the usual cinema feature length form but this one has the advantage, not only of HD, but of an extra hour and more on the running time and so there is room for far more of the novel. Time and again dialogues were expanded on what one remembered and many extra scenes were inserted so that I felt continuously as though the entire space of the novel was being filled out with substantial and significant information that normally you would only get by reading. And by the way I have read Tess but it was back in the late 60's - I did not enjoy it (I really don't think Hardy would have expected me to) and I had no intention of re-reading it but I have since been grateful to Polanski and the ITV version of 15 years ago for keeping it before my attention and making sure that Hardy's necessary and important classic is kept fresh in my mind. I still have no intention of re-reading it and thanks to this version I feel quite comfortable about this.
I said in my Amazon review of the recent 'Mayor Of Casterbridge' that it was better than the book simply because it was more powerful in its effect, and that Hardy would have agreed with me. I gave my reasons in terms of the Aristotelian theory of Tragedy, and the 'Unities' in particular. I feel the same way about this dramatisation.

I also made the point that Hardy was a writer who by and large described things and people from the outside, and has even been described as a cinematic novelist. I argued that the losses in transfer to screen were therefore minimal. We lose the purely literary value of Hardy's prose of course but this is replaced by the visual accuracy (especially in HD) of what we see for ourselves unmediated by language.
Actually there are other reasons why a dramatisation of Tess can be even more valuable than one of the 'Mayor' and that has to do with the person of Tess herself. I for one believe that Hardy's heart would have overflowed, as mine did, at seeing her so beautifully brought to life as she was here. I still hadn't recovered my composure nearly an hour after Tess met her fate, having switched the TV off immediately out of respect.

I only know two other television adaptations as good as this, or possibly even better, and they are the Madame Bovary from 2000 and the more recent Mayor of Casterbridge.

Respect is due to all who were involved in this production and I mean all those people low down on the credits as well; film is an industrial production process. Most of the time while watching it I could hardly believe that what I was seeing could possibly be so good, especially as it was all achieved on a TV budget and production schedule.
How could it be this good? We don't really deserve TV of this quality. We don't take TV seriously enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gemma Arterton is stunning, 20 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
This is how I first discovered Gemma Arterton. Being an avid lover of period dramas and adaptations I was instantly drawn to this and hooked when it was shown on BBC. I've read some of the other reviews but I just loved it. I haven't read the book though, so maybe I would see a different side if I did. I personally feel that Gemma Arterton is stunning and am now a huge fan. I felt Alec was a great villain, he scared me and made me feel uncomfortable when watching. Hans Matheson is so talented (and extremely handsome) and I felt he played the part perfectly. I can see where some people are coming from when they say he isn't dark or enough of a villain, maybe if he wasn't as clean cut or dashing? I love him all the same. I think Tess and Angel's lovemaking at the end was quite beautiful, they knew she was going to die and they wanted to be together. I think Angel was played exquisitely by Eddie Redmayne and I think he and Tess make a beautiful and very believable couple. I just wanted to shake him when he left her! I love this adaptation and got very deep into it, I cried throughout! I really enjoyed it and think it's fantastic work.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm counting my chickens..., 28 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
I'm three quarters through the televised premiere of BBC's Tess, and I'm signing up for the DVDs. It's brought the book to life for me, and the book is lively enough. It captures the desperation, the injustice, the morality and the passion of the story. The cast are great but Gemma Arterton is stunningly brilliant as Tess and the cinematography is just perfect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent adaptation of a classic - beware spoilers, 17 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
I have read reviews about Tess being gloomy and depressing which is not an unfair comment given that the adaptation is based on Hardy's tragic novel. If you are expecting a happy romantic Jane Austen style period drama then you will be sorely disappointed. Pride and Prejudice this is certainly not! I would describe this as more of a star crossed lovers' romantic tragedy.

Having seen the 1998 adaptation and read the book at least twice, I have to say that this is the best and most faithful adaptation to date. It even has the COMPLETE ending which neither Polanski nor the 1998 version had.

I had reservations about Gemma Arterton being cast as Tess. In my mind, Tess is slight and vulnerable looking which matches her naive disposition.Gemma seems tougher. After watching it, my opinion of her was revised. Gemma Arterton's Tess is truly breathtaking and her performance makes Tess seem more real as a person. You really feel for her when she is going through the range of emotions; her disappointment at Angel's reaction, her heartbrokeness at his abandonment and sudden reappearance, her delirious relief of ridding Alec once and for all, her brief happiness of her and Angel's reunion and finally her bitterness of when it all ends. I cried my eyes out!

Anyway, this is very engaging viewing and you are left wondering what happens next at the end of each chapter. If you are studying Tess for A level then this is perhaps the best one to watch to complement your revision.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing in so many ways., 13 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
Having finished the book not long ago, I was told by a friend at work it was good but my god, it was. This was outstanding. The cast were amazing and costumes were good to. I think Gemma was amazing as Tess and to me she was just how I pictured her as Tess, same for Angel and Alec as well and everyone else. Totally beautiful version, made me cry at the end and the whole four episodes moved me so much. five stars always. Also I think the chemistry was beautiful between Tess and Angel in this version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Tess, 12 May 2010
By 
Reader, I Read It "Sarah" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
There is no doubt that Gemma Arterton makes the perfect Tess - amazing actress and utterly gorgeous. There are some beautiful moments in this production and, if you know the novel, seeing Tess happy are some of the most poignant scenes. And, If you haven't read the novel, have tissues at standby.

I may ruffle some feathers but you have to admit, watching this film makes other chick flicks feel like watching 90minutes of moaning women with nothing to moan about.
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Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD]
Tess of the D'Urbervilles [2008] [DVD] by David Blair (DVD - 2008)
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