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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love It
To be honest I have never read anything by William Boyd before and when this was first advertised as coming on our screens I wondered what it was going to be like. After the first episode I went out and bought the bookAny Human Heart which I haven't touched as I didn't want to know what I would be seeing on the tv, now it is finished I can relax with the book at any...
Published on 13 Dec. 2010 by M. Dowden

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3.0 out of 5 stars All in the Eye of the Beholder
Reactions to this mini-series are going to be very personal. Like the book, it suffers from something that some will find a grave weakness: the dramatic climax occurs barely halfway through. The rest of the story is a long-drawn-out descent into predictability and mundaneness. Judging from most of the other reviews here, many don't mind that. Some will argue that that's...
Published 3 months ago by Mike Brecher


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Never say you know the last word about any human heart..." (Henry James), 18 Dec. 2011
By 
janebbooks (Jacksonville, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Ginia Bellafante wrote in the New York Times on February 11, 2011 that the Masterpiece production of "Any Human Heart" is a "Forrest Gump" for the literate. She also wrote that the beauty of the story is that "embitterment never sees its own victories. Failure, too, has its pleasure." A fun comparison yet fine words to describe the "heart" of one Logan Mountstuart, a fictional character, whose life in the 20th century is chronicled from his Oxford days in the 1920's to a mere existence in the 1990's.

William Boyd, who wrote the novel and the screenplay for this spectacular production, asks and answers this question: How did a boy adrift on a placid river in Uruguay become a grizzled old man sorting through piles of boxes and books in an old country house in France? It's a fascinating ride!

Sit back and enjoy the clever dialogue, the sets and the photography, the fine performances of Jim Broadbent and Matthew Macfadyen as Mountstuart.

Try to keep up with the wives and lovers. The casting is superb. Don't overlook the first wife, Lady Lottie Cassell, who gives Logan his love of the aristocratic life and a son. Hayley Atwell plays Freya, the much loved and beautiful second wife. Kim Cattrall (the sexy vamp from Sex and the City) plays Gloria, a redhaired lover and the third wife of Logan's Oxford buddy. And even after World War II, when Logan leaves a destitute life in London of eating cans of dog food and beans and moves to France, he charms a young neighborhood beauty who has a glorified memory of her father during the war. (The scenes of an older Mountstuart in military camoflage watching over her father's memorial plaque are hilarious.)

Enjoy the real-life 20th century figures who flit in and out of Logan's life. It does not go without saying...as the NYT reviewer suggests...that Logan with his minor literary fame meets Hemingway in Paris. There are multiple scenes with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Wallis Simpson is portrayed by Gillian Anderson (formerly of X-file fame) in glorious witchy mood---she even hisses! Ian Fleming becomes a suave friend who asks Logan to persuade the Windsor's to move to Bermuda for national security reasons and encourages Logan to join the Royal Navy.

What was so stunning midst Logan's trials and tribulations is the sad fact that he survives a son, a daughter, a wife and two very good friends from his Oxford days. Although he steals Peter's Oxford girlfriend and seduces his third wife, there's a great deal of admiration there: Peter is a best-selling author of mystery novels. And to Ben, the other friend, he gives five Joan Miro paintings smuggled out of Spain to start a successful gallery. And the tender scenes are tender indeed, when he takes in Gloria who is still beautiful but dying of pancreatic cancer. Their scenes eating pate and drinking wine on a disheveled bed are joyously poignant.

This is not a tale to remind us "that success is so often bestowed on those whose personal conduct would seem to warrant it least..." nor is it a tale of an embittered old man. It's just an entertaining story of one man's journey through the 20th century.

Enjoy! I did.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars QUALITY FARE, 16 April 2011
By 
Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
His own heart now failing, Logan Mountstuart sorts through eight decades of memorabilia - photos, souvenirs and journals causing him to reflect on his life's highs and lows....

Quite a life it has been too. What did it include? A stately home. A dingy basement (where he was reduced to eating dog food). Friendship with Hemingway. Work with Ian Fleming in Intelligence. Bizarre encounters with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (they superbly played by Tom Hollander and Gillian Anderson, and NOT emerging with credit). So many lovers, but only one who mattered (Hayley Atwell as Freya a delight). Never achieved was that great ambition of a literary masterpiece, something always contriving to thwart. Regrets? None really, merely acceptance "it's all just luck in the end."

An ambitious five part series, with interesting bonus features. Evocatively it recreates key aspects of the Twentieth Century - the skills in so doing perhaps particularly appreciated by viewers who themselves have reached a good age, their own memories similarly stirred. They too are more able to empathize with one who has outlived so many friends and colleagues.

Jim Broadbent is wonderful as the older Logan, Sam Claflin and Matthew MacFadyen shining as his younger selves. The transitions from one to another (and back again) are smoothly handled (slight adjustments to chins and earlobes helping continuity).

Totally involving, tender and true. Much humour, although sadness inevitably increases as the years advance. Destined to finish on a sombre note? Not at all. The last few seconds of the final episode contain a surprise that uplifts.

Wholeheartedly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars All in the Eye of the Beholder, 22 Feb. 2015
By 
Mike Brecher (London & New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Reactions to this mini-series are going to be very personal. Like the book, it suffers from something that some will find a grave weakness: the dramatic climax occurs barely halfway through. The rest of the story is a long-drawn-out descent into predictability and mundaneness. Judging from most of the other reviews here, many don't mind that. Some will argue that that's Boyd's point: a life once full of promise often ends up a disappointment; indeed, that the 'message' of the story is that life can be full (as Logan's undeniably is) yet ultimately unfulfilling. For me, it made devoting a couple of weeks' worth of precious reading time, and then 4 1/2 hours of TV-watching, seem rather empty experiences.

Acting and production generally top-notch, with the proviso that Jim Broadbent isn't given that much to do. He spends two-thirds of the film looking anguished, maudlin or regretful in close-up but saying nothing (bar an occasional voice-over), and then the last third having to speak fairly banal lines.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars why it didn't quite get there, 17 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
The overall production was very good, the acting the same, the story , the theme and the continuity also hit the mark,,, so why did it not get there,?,,,with all that happens to the main character , he seemed to be just hog-tied to a belief that life is a matter of luck, good and bad..and to meander through his life so full of tragedy , trauma, and be thrown into such variety of life experience and put it down to luck seems not to match his sensitivity as a man and a writer.....so, I was left with a sense of betrayal and disappointment as he arrived at his elderly period and still seekimg to prove himself as a man with the local prostitute...I felt his person deserved more but jim broadbent portrayed him as childlike in his need to revive his love for the only woman who really loved him...I have not really explained quite what I felt about this worthy production but the three good actors who played the hero just did not seem to link well...how could they....somehow I feel that the writer was trying to put over perhaps a more personal viewpoint which got lost in the complexity of the story and the very grand project that it was.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A realistic and human drama brilliantly done, 22 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
The story follows the life of one man (Logan) from undergraduate to old age, magnificently played by each of three characters, Sam Claflin, Matthew MacFadyen and Jim Broadbent. The story is realistic throughout, showing his episodes of fun, foolishness, tenderness, glibness, pain, triumph and loss. In every phase of his life there is a woman whom he loves deeply, again all excellently played and highly realistic. Some fabulous characters too; Kim Katrall's raunchy lover is a character full of warmth, fun and delight, Hayley Atwell as Freya is captivating and adorable. Logan, with all his attributes and yet his faults, has your undivided attention throughout.
So much better than so many other dramas on TV over the last decade, indeed one of the very best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great surprise!, 1 Jan. 2013
By 
Natascha Hix - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
I had only heard of this (mini)series before because of quotes from it that I had read online. I didn't know what to expect, but was so surprised by its intensity and warmth and love for the characters. It seriously is so good!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful series., 3 May 2011
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This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
I bought this DVD after reading some of the reviews on Amazon and absolutely loved it. Definitely deserves 5 stars. Best series I have seen in a long time....I didn't want it to end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 3 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
This serise follows the life of Logan Mountstuart (excellently played by Matthew MacFayden and Jim Broadbent) with a great supporting cast. I've not read the book, but liked this.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I found this dull and disappointing, 19 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
I found this dull and disappointing. The best parts involve the Duke and Duchess of Winsor, but there are hours of this drama when they are not on screen. The film tells the life story of one man, played successively by three actors. The first (Sam Claflin) is excellent; Michael Macfayden is reasonably good even though his eyes always look bloodshot and very sore; Jim Broadbent is extremely weak and incredibly lame. So the drama gets weaker and weaker as it goes on. There are good things here (hence my two-star rating); but the overall reaction was one of disappointment and, frankly, boredom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 26 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
I loved this. Brilliant story backed up with a great script and wonderful acting and casting. I was sorry it finished and look forward to watching it again.
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Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010]
Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] by Michael Samuels (DVD - 2010)
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