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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 October 2010
The wife of a country vicar can be regarded in a small community as only that - an apendage of her husband - and she may not be seen as an individual in her own right with her own thoughts, feelings and aspirations that have nothing to do with being a rector's wife or anyone elses wife for that matter. Like many women the rector's wife, played by Lindsay Duncan feels trapped in this restrictive role and by the expectations of other people and she is dying to break away and assert herself and be her own woman but when she does there are unforeseen consequences, some of them disasterous for herself and the people around her.

Lindsay Duncan is an extremely attractive woman with a velvety smooth voice that I could listen to all day and she is perfect in the role. You really feel for the woman she portrays and you are annoyed that when she reacts in a way that is very understandable in the circumstances she comes a cropper. Aint life unfair.
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on 23 June 2008
The reader will not have to read many reviews about Giles Foster's 1994 adaptation of Joanna Trollope's (b.1943) novel of the same name before he or she realizes that there is considerable disagreement about the merits and flaws of this production. Without giving too much away, the essence of the main plot is thus; Anna is the Rev Peter Boverie's apparently long-suffering wife. She is in her early forties. Increasingly, Anna discerns that she has become, over the twenty years or so of their 'togetherness', rather too tightly and robustly clamped by and within the ecclesiastical mechanism of the Church of England - along with its encumbent ritual duties, expectations, taboos and the like. The plot in both the book and in this DVD of Channel 4's production deals with the personal vicissitudes and the personal, practical outworkings of what could liberally be described as Anna's 'struggle for self-realization', although that description would not satisfy all the critics as there are myriad other topics and issues raised which receive a passing nod in both book and screenplay (extra-marital affairs, adolescence, public and private education et al).

To be subjective for a while, this reviewer enjoyed this adaptation and, by and large, the performances of the cast. The general tenor and 'accumulative' depiction of the inner nature of the characters is achieved pretty well nigh on flawlessly. The rolling pastoral beauty of the southern Cotswolds is framed admirably (some of the filming was done aroun Witney, apparently) and Richard Harvey's subtile - non-intrusive and mellifluous 'background' soundtrack helps to secure a genuinely 'bucolic' presence, underpinning the action and the outworking of the plot.

Nevertheless, it is true to say that a reasonable degree of negative criticism has been levelled at the implausibility of Anna Boverie's (played by Lindsay Duncan)rather sudden 'rebellion' against a 'life married to the Church and Jesus'. Whether this such criticism is just or not, it would certainly apply to both book and film; in both, the featured character sets her face stonily against many of the practices she has embraced, either voluntarily or compulsorily. Her depleted and recently disappointed husband can only, it seems, interpret this as calculated recalcitrance. Precisely how feasible and realistic Anna's rather axiomatic transformation is, in the viewer's mind, will vary - this reviewer suspects - according to that viewer's own disposition. Such transformation is certainly not impossible; people's outlook and attitudes change with time, experience and, sometimes, without a particular abundance of either!

'The Rector's Wife' was the authoress' fourth ('non-historical') novels and certain literary critics have loved to draw parallels with the world of Barchester made famous by her ancestor. Indeed, Joanna Trollope is well at ease in an ecclesiastical, especially an Anglican environment and both the book and DVD are thoroughly drenched in details discernible only to one more fully immersed in the font of Anglican 'Churchianity' than is usually the case. Indeed, the authoress herself hails from the Cotswold village of Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire where she was born in her grandfather's rectory! Her first novel, 'The Choir' (1988) was made into a six-part adaptation and is now also available on DVD.

In summary, I would heartily recommend this adaptation and production to most viewers. The redoubtable Jonathan Coy turns in a sympathetic and convincing performance as Peter Bouverie, 'The Rector', as does Miles Anderson as the minted, beneficent and - to Anna, at least - tempting, flamboyant, newly-arrived neighbour, Patrick O'Sullivan who is, somewhat inauspiciously located in what was the village's previous rectory! There are a number of other strong performances, too. In closing, if you buy this 2 disc set, I hope that you find it both as interesting and as stimulating as I originally did.

Michael Calum Jacques
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on 27 June 2015
I enjoyed the book and therefore wanted to see the TV version. Made 20 years ago it is less slick than we are used to today - perhaps too determined to leave nothing out. The Archdeacon is miscast though his brother is excellent.
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on 29 September 2012
I was surprised how enjoyable this film was. I saw this actress in A Year In Provence, but her she excels. You wonder about the morality but soon understand her situation. I would recommend this film to those who appreciate British situation comedy but it's not that funny, just good.
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on 17 April 2011
I had read the book and watched the series some years later and was not dissapointed, it is a very sensative storyline and very well portrayed with a very good conclusion. Worth watching
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on 17 April 2013
I watched this as a serial in the 1990's and
remembered it fondly. The DVD was very
enjoyable and the acting superb.
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on 3 May 2012
This excellent dramatisation of Joanna Trollope's novel was one of the most memorable in recent years, with the great Lindsay Duncan in the lead role, amply supported by Stephen Dillane ( a fine actor all too rarely seen on the screen) and Ronald Pickup. Very good cast all round. A many-layered story and a satisfying and revealing drama about a woman in the wake of her husband's vocation.
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on 15 May 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed this production of the Rector's Wife and found it very absorbing. Very good value for money.
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on 11 August 2010
The Rectors Wife is a great story. I first watched on telly & it was brilliant then I bought the book which I have read several times I've wanted to see the TV version again & now I have it on DVD. Good story & well worth watching
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on 11 February 2015
Extremely tedious. After watching the first 45 minutes I thought I'd rather watch some paint dry. Two dimensional characters.
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