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3.9 out of 5 stars106
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 7 May 2006
I'll be honest - in my opinion, this TV film by the BBC is worth around 4 or 4 1/2 stars. However, the inexplicably negative single review already on amazon.co.uk for this title has prompted me to even things out a little.

I have read George Eliot's novel, and subsequently found the film highly faithful to the spirit of the original text. If this fidelity means that the adaptation is measured and thoughtful rather than action-packed and mindless, then so be it. The performances of the cast are uniformly moving and absorbing, particularly Emily Watson in the title role of the heroine. Her portrayal is subtle, nuanced and deeply felt, pre-dating her breakthrough performance in Breaking the waves.

Well worthwhile!!
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on 24 October 2009
A thoroughly entertaining classic, George Eliot depicts Victorian rural society and how much women still had to struggle to attain freedom and sometimes basic human rights an excellent story of love passion and adversity a fine mixture of romance drama and tradgedy in this mix which makes a compelling medley effective melting pot! Not to be missed!

Jane Shehata
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on 11 August 2007
I saw this when it was first shown on the BBC 10 years ago, and although I am not usually attracted by 'period pieces' this one had me hooked. The story has haunted me ever since and I have been waiting for years to see this again. Then just a few months ago (Spring 2007) it was shown again on the BBC, but I missed the first half of it. Am I glad to see it is now available on DVD.

And as for our friend from France who was disappointed by the ending - you have obviously never known true love...
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on 27 November 2001
I read this book as a rebellious 15 year old and fully identified with Maggie Tulliver's character. What a superb actress the lead is- playing that "damned if you don't, dammed if you do" existence that a woman with courage and character had to live out in those days. Not a bodice ripper, but a touching, realistic, and truly thoughtful example of the very best that the BBC can produce. Quite Stunning in its beauty and simplicity. Unforgettable.
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on 25 April 2001
Despite the sad theme of this movie, so typical of George Eliot stories, the producers and actors must be congratulated upon an excellent effort. Maggie Tulliver is portrayed in a wonderfully sensitive manner and the audience immediately falls into sympathy with her plight. Her brother Tom, so devotedly loved by his sister, seems to take her affection for granted and does not fail to irritate the viewer as he fails to understand Maggie's childhood friendship with the hunchback son of their father's arch-enemy. Neither does Tom relent as he and Maggie reach adulthood and he discovers that the friendship has continued. Tom sees the mild and gentle Philip as a threat and becomes angry and resentful towards Maggie. He carries on the sworn hatred held by his father towards the Wakens and attempts to force Maggie to hate them as well. When she refuses, he forbids her to continue her friendship with Philip. This leaves a great void in the lonely Maggie's life. The plot thickens when Mr Tullivar dies and the Tullivars are evicted from their home at the Mill. Maggie goes on to meet Stephen Guest and falls deeply in love with him... This is a tragic story, so for those who do not like tear-jerkers, it's best avoided. On the other hand, the casting is superb (Maggie and Philip couldn't be better) and the period costuming excellent. The English countryside is something for non-British viewers to relish and provides the perfect backdrop for this haunting tale about human relationships. Likewise, the musical score is wistful and particularly beautiful. My only criticism is that the ending was so unexpected. The audience is left slightly stunned. I know I came away very thoughtful. However when one reconsiders the moral of the story (don't expect to escape that in any of George Eliot's works) the ending was probably inevitable. And if the ending causes us to ponder the tale a little longer than is usual, perhaps this is a point in favour rather than against it. If George Eliot could have imagined her book produced as a movie, this is how she would have seen it. And who can ask more than that?
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on 23 November 2014
It's difficult to see why any production team should wish to reduce a long, well-written novel to just two hours' screen time. There is nothing hopeless about the casting and direction of this film: it is generally quite faithful to the novel and manages the necessary abridgements sensibly. But at the heart of the story are Maggie's relationships with her father, her brother, her larger family, with Philip and with Steven: all engagingly explored in the book. Here we are given only cartoon simplifications of the most powerful moments. It's as if the BBC assumes its audience is too dim for the real thing.

But what makes the novel such a powerful experience, is its author's reading of events, her commentary upon the tragic process. That voice is wholly missing from this adaptation whereas, in Scorsese's outstanding film of Wharton's Age of Innocence, for example, the novelist's voice is the framework through which every episode is narrated. The result is a genuine distillation of a great novel.

In this film we have neither Eliot's witty penetration nor a full enough presentation of Maggie's relationships to understand her tragic trajectory. Just one more hour's screen time and a more intelligent use of Eliot's words might have transformed this into a first class film.
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on 4 August 2013
Quite a gripping film, typical of George Elliott though - gritty, compelling, excellent acting from all involved, very believable and you keep hoping that it will end well - but does it!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 February 2008
This is an enjoyable version of George Eliot's warm-hearted and melancholy novel. Visually it's good, with a lovely Dorlecote Mill and pleasant English rural scenes. Emily Watson is well cast as Maggie, Bernard Hill as her father, and all other characters are competently rendered. There is a very good visual likeness between the actors who play Maggie, Tom and Philip as children and their adult counterparts. The music is very appropriate - English, rural, yearning. But for all that, it never really seems to get off the ground. I don't really know why this is, because it is never bad, but it never seems to be really good either. Anyway, I enjoyed it, it held my interest, but I cannot give it a strong recommendation.
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on 25 January 2013
Some people get very indignant when directors and script-writers use a little too much artistic licence when putting together an adaptation. You know the score: 'The text is sacred; one shouldn't mar the literary merit of the book' blah, blah, and so on. However, it is that artistic license that stops texts from becoming sterile. Everyone interprets literature differently, and one of the reasons I watch adaptations of my favourite books is because I like seeing how others respond to them. I therefore think artistic licence can be a good thing, and it's something this film could have benefited from. The film has a lot of good points: It is well acted, the props and costumes are great the ending scene is brilliant, and it is very true to the book - to the point of being dogmatic. There are some aspects of books that cannot be reproduced on the screen no matter how good the screen-writer is. Prose can be slow and descriptive, it is also allowed to have long conversations that reveal a lot if you look under the surface. This doesn't always work when one watches it - you do need a bit of action and suspense. When taken out of the context of Eliot's novel some of the little events in Maggie's life just seem pointless because they lose their significance. The scene where Maggie chops her hair off is quite major in the novel but in the film it seems very trivial. The screen cannot show all. I think: Fair play to the cast and crew for attempting to adapt such a difficult novel, but I'm afraid it doesn't really work. Some texts just aren't suited to the scene and should be left alone.
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on 17 June 2016
I have not been familiar with the 'Mill on the Floss'. I found it beautifully done but was saddened by the ending. That, of course, was George Eliot's design but too abrupt and unsatisfying. That even non swimmers should be drowned in still water with the boat at hand challenger credulity.
The company did a marvellous job in getting the DVD to me in quick time. Very efficient. Thanks.
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