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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars12
3.2 out of 5 stars
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2012
I saw this film yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. This film is shot beautifully - it's absolutely breath-taking from a cinematic point of view, with India being portrayed in a stunning light, and it really gives the film a 'grounded' feeling. Freida Pinto's acting was especially convincing throughout, and I felt as though I was going along on the harrowing journey with her. I could watch it all over again right now!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2012
This is Michael Winterbottom's third adaptation of a Thomas Hardy novel- we previously had Gold Rush Western The Mayor of Casterbridge and Spark-Notes Jude. He has really botched this adaptation of Tess of The D'Urbervilles up.

The setting does work actually. We're in modern day Rajasthan and Trishna (the Tess character) is sent to work at a restaurant, owned by British-Indian Jay (Riz Ahmed). The parallels with the novel are all very neat, the setting looks lovely, and somewhere lurking under the smut, there is an interesting theme about the Westernisation of India.

The problem lies in the decision to merge the characters of Angel and Alec (Tess' two very different lovers in the novel), so that Jay's character just comes off as a sleaze and then suddenly goes mad and starts forcing Trishna to go through the Karma Sutra with him. One could argue that it is linked to Hardy's theme of erotolepsy (sex addiction) but this is Michael Winterbottom, where smut needs no explanation for its presence. Ahmed's performance is dreadful- he is so irritating and uncharismatic that it is ridiculous that Trishna would ever have been attracted to him, and it makes us think less of him and Trishna. Frieda Pinto is sufficiently beautiful, which is enough for her to get by.

Ahmed's dire performance is not helped by the idiotic decision to use improvisation. There is very little dialogue in this film, which we have to be thankful for, considering what the actors come up with. When Trishna announces her pregnancy, Jay reacts as if she's burnt his toast. There is no drama or excitement or any tension in the dialogue. Was Winterbottom too stingy to get a decent screenwriter?

So, a promising idea ruined by a poor director. As much as I admire Winterbottom's decision to bring Hardy's brilliant novels to the screen, I'd rather he handed the job over to a better director.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2012
The social divisions of India create the perfect context for a the re-teiing of Tess. Beautifully shot and superbly acted.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2012
This is simply a poignant movie, Freida Pinto is amazing. The end was very sad, I lean a lot about the different class systems in India. I would recommend it to my friends.
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on 19 November 2015
Thomas Hardy's novel takes place in modern India, while the picture of India is interesting, I prefer this as a period piece in Wessex.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2014
Excellent actor/actress,
Will tell my friends, the story line is mostly interesting. however so sad at the end, but very
interesting when you know the life of the women in India.

Great film/
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2013
If you like this sort of film you will enjoy it, it was very sad in parts but on the whole a good film.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 September 2014
Prolific British film-maker Michael Winterbottom has had his ups and downs. From outstanding earlier works – Wonderland (his masterpiece), Jude, In This World – through to more mediocre (or sensationalist) recent affairs – Genova, The Killer Inside Me, 9 Songs, Everyday. What he can’t be criticised for, though, is his level of ambition (or diversity). With this 2011 film, in effect a (loose) updating of Hardy’s Tess to India, I think he just about manages to keep his head above water, with a vibrant (and increasingly powerful and tragic – as per Hardy) piece of work, which does for Freida Pinto’s title character ('Tess’) what Danny Boyle did for the same actress’ Latika in Slumdog Millionaire, as Winterbottom’s film transports us from remote, poverty-stricken rural India to the bustling, hi-tech streets of Mumbai and the possibility (for Trishna) of a high-flying career in the media.

Where Trishna scores (particularly) for me is in its look and feel. Winterbottom is ambitious and (usually) masterful at capturing foreign climes (Pakistan and Afghanistan in In This World, Italy in Genova, Canada – for California – in The Claim) and here he and cinematographer Marcel Zyskind seamlessly treat us to the idyllic sun-drenched luxury of peacock and budgerigar(!)-strewn hotels (to where Riz Ahmed’s 'little rich boy’ Jay sweeps Trishna off her feet) and the trendy hustle of India’s Bollywood-driven centre for film and entertainment. Where it is (for me, at least) less convincing is in its central pairing of Ahmed and Pinto. I put this down primarily to Ahmed’s character not being fully developed (or compelling) enough (at least, until his latter decline into depravity). On the other hand, Pinto is outstanding as the vulnerable, devoted family girl whose head is turned by the bright lights of the big city and by 'love in the air’. Acting-wise, the film’s other notable turn is the cameo delivered by Roshan Seth as Jay’s father (and source of funds).

Narrative-wise, Trishna is a little up and down – episodic and at times stretching credibility (such as when Trishna decides spontaneously to 'up sticks’ and follow Jay to Mumbai). However, once our heroine’s ‘hidden secret’ is revealed to her lover, prompting the film’s subtle transition into much darker territory, it becomes (for me) much more engaging – all building to a powerful denouement which ultimately provides a strangely beautiful and haunting ending.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2013
This film is a joke. Suffused with cheap cinematography (which tries really hard to be artistic) and a story line that is very thin,
I kept on waiting for something to 'happen'. It is a complete parody (accidentally) of the east and west divide,
but that is never really developed, instead we are treated to a rich British Asian's (Riz Ahmed) lack of acting ability and then
his immature sex obsession.

Honestly, my gift to you, humanity, is not to waste your life like I did. I swear to you I couldn't believe
I was fooled into thinking there was going to be a twist,
but the moral is that if you can tell a film is going to be bad early on, its probably because its bad
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2014
interesting movie, but the music in this film is a disaster!!
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