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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2012
I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with this after reading the original 9 novels, I suppose you can't expect 9 novels of approx million words to fit into 200 mins without losing huge amounts of story line.

The novels are totally riveting and over the course of these, the tension and unbelievable stress for Clarissa grows and grows, its draws the reader in and you feel the claustrophobia, fright of Clarissa, the unbelievable wickedness of Lovelace and despair of both Clarissa and Lovelace, Samuel Richardson was a genius and so so ahead of his time in regards to so many issues that are still very relevent today, including the part women play in society, and forced to play.
His observations of life, societies and human psychology of both men and women through viewed social interactions are breathtakingly astute as shown throughout, but sadly this is lost in the DVD.

Also they have changed important factors that are in the books (switching people round, taking away very important people) and even added stuff that wasn't even in it. They also used more modern language and had Clarissa say things that didn't suit her character in the books, I suspect they did this to appeal to a wider audience, although happily Lovelace did frequently use the language used in the books.

On the up side, Sean Bean and Saskia Wickem were perfect for the parts and great actors, they did the parts real justice, I just wish they could have made the series longer and follow the books a bit more closely, so we could have enjoyed them play the full parts.

All in all, if you have never read the books, its a good watch, although a bit more like the fluffy period dramas, and it will probably grate on you if you have read the books.

But it shouldn't be considered as quality alternative to the real story as intended by the author, the brilliant (in my opinion) Samuel Richardson!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2011
I found this series riveting but disturbing. Her horrible life made my own life feel better! It played on my mind for ages afterwards, but not in a bad way - more that it made me think about how people interract and communicate or not as the case may be, and how horrible some people can be. Beautifully shot, moving, gorgeous looking people, not much joy but I got completely absorbed in it. Worked on many levels and definitely not the usual period drama same story. Unrelentingly miserable though, but I loved it. Would 100% recommend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2012
Watched this on tv many years ago & have searched for it in dvd format many times. At last I have my own copy - wonderful :)
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on 26 May 2014
Excellent performance all round from the actors - Sean Bean makes a wonderfully devious, vain and swaggering Lovelace, and I loved Saskia Wickham's robust but lovely and spiritual Clarissa. The settings are brilliant too, with costume, make up and direction all combining to make this a very good adaption.

I thought this a very good cutting down of the original, which I've recently read all the way through (before, I'd only read extracts). The novel does have too much repetition, particularly in arguments over moral points. Richardson never uses fifty words when five hundred will do - terseness isn't his forte.

For instance, the points disputed between Clarissa and her parents over parental authority - seen as largely unquestionable at that time - and her right to marry a man of her choice take up a huge part of volume one. Of course, she is happy to promise to give up Lovelace and not marry at all so long as the repellent Mr Solmes isn't forced on her, a fact which bruises the grudge bearing Lovelace's vanity horribly.

I thought it was a shame that a couple of telling scenes had to be left out, though I can see that it was impossible to include them all in three episodes. For example, in the novel, Lovelace doses himself with Ipecquanha to make himself violently sick, adding blood from a butcher's shop to the vomit so he seems dangerously ill. I found it intriguing that he doesn't mind being seen in such an unromantic state to appeal to her compassion; it illustrates brilliantly his alarming - though flawed -insights inot her character and that of women generally.

I thought it a pity that the scenes where Lovelace's relatives know he has raped Clarissa, but are brought to accept him back into their favour if he marries her, could have been shown as an example of how rape was dismissed in this era, particularly if the man was prepared to 'make reparation' by marrying the woman, who was then meant to forget all about it.

The actual rape is depicted with hints from the book as ugly and brutal, therefore rightly disappointing anyone wishing to romanticize it. The women at Mrs Sinclair's assist, and the finishing touches are added of Lovelace slapping Clarissa's face and leaving on his hands and knees like an animal; all excellent.

In the novel, Lovelace's sufferings when he dies are drawn out ( now he genuinely vomits blood, and there is no Clarissa to sympathize with him, a fine ironic touch and true to Richardson's talent for detail). While we don't want too much puking lol, some depiction of his convulsions and torment might have made his last words' 'Let this expiate!' be more telling.

I always thought it unlucky that Richardson had such a mania about so-called purity in women and would have liked a few ironical ironical digs at this being valued more than true honour in this version for modern audiences. I know Clarissa is depicted as having all sorts of virtue, but I think it could have been done.

Generally, though, this is outstandingly good with excellent acting and wonderful photography. Highly recommended, especially for those who don't want to wade through the four volumes of the novel (Everyman edition).
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on 2 May 2014
Very enjoyable drama with a more satisfying conclusion than in the book. The quality of the clothes and sets and locations of this 18th century drama was very well done. The actors were superb and very convincing.
Reducing this story from the 9 volumes into a 3/4 hour television series must have been a challenge but nothing was lost in the story including her friendship with Ann Howe, the bitter relationship with her family and the devilry of Robert Lovelace.
The ending was changed from the book but for me it was more satisfying with the death of Lovelace by Jack and the family`s
exclusion from Clarissa`s WILL.
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on 12 January 2014
I was excited when I came across this in a charity shop - but gave up after less than 2 episodes. Beautiful settings and costumes could not redeem the cliched characters and overacting. The usually reliable Sean Bean as a sneering rake was simply miscast. Here we had the cardboard cut-outs of pure virgin, wicked rake, cruel brother and sister, unpleasant maidservant all desperately overacting except for the dignified performance of Saskia Wickham. No characterisation, no subtlety nothing of the psychology of Richardson's book at all.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2012
Im a period drama diva, love them all to bits but this was so disapointing!! the acting is terrible, story line is a common thread but so slow! I have many period drams and whatch them over and over, sadly this one i just couldnt finish whatching.... thats never happened to me before.
My recommendation? Dont bother, waste of money - go buy something else
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on 8 April 2013
fantastic period drama. The reality of how different and hard some peoples life was.
Worth watching and keeping. Good qaulity picture
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on 18 February 2013
This is a mini seriers with Sean Bean, I love watching anthing with Sean Bean he is a great actor, and played a very good part in this.
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on 12 May 2013
Liked seeing Sean Bean the book was more interesting but to see it in a movie, well, kind of trite and boring
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