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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but grim
I thoroughly enjoyed The Village. The acting was top notch, the period setting well researched and executed, storylines authentic, the production values slick. The idea, I believe, is to chart the history of an unnamed village through the whole of the twentieth century through the eyes of one of its inhabitants - an epic undertaking which, I hope, runs its course...
Published 8 months ago by SS

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a bit of a dark story
I enjoyed it, even though it's not the usual light and happy type of show I normally tend to watch.
Published 2 months ago by Karen


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but grim, 14 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I thoroughly enjoyed The Village. The acting was top notch, the period setting well researched and executed, storylines authentic, the production values slick. The idea, I believe, is to chart the history of an unnamed village through the whole of the twentieth century through the eyes of one of its inhabitants - an epic undertaking which, I hope, runs its course.

The first series is set during the period 1913 - 1920, the same time period as Downton Abbey. Be warned though, for those of you expecting another pretty, well made, soap opera love fest between the classes in a period setting, The Village is as far removed from that as possible. This series is about harsh reality and imperfect people. And boy, is it harsh.

The Village is unrelentingly grim and heart-wrenching. I challenge even the most hard-hearted to not tear up at least once. No one in this village seems to smile. Everyone lives under a cloud of misery and drudgery - physical, emotional or both, regardless of whether they are the lords of the manor, the middle class villagers or the dirt poor farmers.

And that, really, is the one criticism I have of this show. I am well aware that life in those times was very difficult and it was often a struggle to stay alive and have enough to eat, but surely people found some happiness some time. Surely they still smiled and laughed on occasion; had some joy in their lives, however small.

It is for this reason that I have given this show 4 instead of 5 stars. If the idea is to show life the way it really was at the start of the last century, then the makers should show all facets of life, not just the grimness and misery. Everyone has problems, but we manage to find something to be happy about.

My verdict - I would definitely recommend it, but would also recommend to the makers that the second series lightens up a bit.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rural Life In A Village Community, 27 May 2013
By 
ACB (swansea) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Peter Moffatt has written a drama beginning in 1914 and ending in 1920 set in a single Peak District village without filming out of the location. The ambitious project aims to take the small community through the entire 20th century. Each episode starts with the present day recollections of 110 year old Bert Middleton. It then reverts to the story of the 11 year old Bert living on the Middleton Farm in 1914 with his long-suffering mother, Grace (Maxine Peake),father John (John Simm) and older brother Joe (Nico Mirallegro). The older Bert (David Ryall) is the link but he, as young Bert (Bill Jones), is also the story. The opening is of a failing farm and family hunger. Domestic violence follows with Bert bearing the brunt of his father's frustration and bitterness fuelled by alcohol. Prospects appear bleak and grim.

As the series develops, so do the lives and circumstances of the Middletons and the rest of the village change, particularly with the outbreak of World War One. Even the well-off in the local manor house are drawn into events. Joe enlists, John wanders out sucking beer slops off a brush while Bert amuses (and abuses) himself.

Enough said except the action continues with powerful scenes, impressive acting and dialogue. It is not without comical moments either nor emotional and dramatic incidents, some quite intense. Fortunes change one way or another largely war-related. All this is set against the scenic Derbyshire countryside. Series One may not be to everyones' taste, but what is? I found it absorbing and compelling viewing, eager for the next development. I hope the series continues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's hope yet..., 16 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I didn't think they made tv like this anymore. After all the shallow, meaningless nonsense you find flicking through hundreds of channels, I really needed something like this. Something that reflected life as I found it (I come from a very dysfunctional family), the good, bad, ambiguous, weird, hilarious (yes there are funny bits too!) and everything inbetween.

This won't be popular I'm sure, it's not Downton Abbey (I like that show too for different reasons). It has some very difficult characters, but I found these the most interesting, particularly John Simms character John Middleton. His violence and frustration; the way he tries to explain to young Bert what the farm and the land mean and its connection to his family, not in any intellectual way, but in the only way he knows: physically, through the dip in the floor worn away by Middletons past. There is one scene where John shouts out into the wind 'we have nothing!', older Bert goes to him and says 'we have our name'. Maxine Peake as Grace Middleton is equally amazing, the rock of the family. When Joe (Berts older brother) announces his intentions to go to enlist, John isn't having it. Joe walks out, Grace runs after him and says 'I can't bear it if you're not free, what am I if I can't give this to you? I want you to go". I found all of this completely moving.

It touches on a lot of things, quite subtly: nationalism, duty, war, P.T.S.D (post traumatic stress disorder - shell shock), poverty, the class system, religion, morality, guilt, forgiveness, conscious, politics, socialism...and much more. Some of it is placed in its time, but a lot is as timeless as ever. This may be why I found it resonated with me so personally. The best thing I've seen this year. Thanks to everyone involved in making this remarkable drama!

btw
This reminds me of a famous German tv drama called Heimat. Its time spans from the Great War all the way to the 1990s after the Berlin Wall falls, told through a family in a small village with one constant character Herman. I'd recommend anyone who liked this to check it out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Viewing, 16 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Enjoyed the television series so I treated myself to this DVD and found there was somethings I had missed when I watched it on TV. Ive cried and laughed and still enjoy it .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So HopeThis Series Continues, 13 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I just loved this series and can't wait for another to be released. Very true to it's time period and depiction of the war years . Excellent acting especially from the young boy .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's worth watching it, 10 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very touching and realistic story. We have enjoyed it very much. Look forward to the continuation. Please let me know as the next release comes out.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bones of a Landscape, 18 Oct 2013
By 
FYI (Rocky Mountain West) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
It's clear that writer Peter Moffat knows what he's writing about in his depiction of working-class village life at the turn of the previous century. His Scottish grandfather and great-grandfather were shepherds ("Doctor Who" fans, he is unrelated to Steven Moffat). A relative of ours lived from 1883 to 1986; the changes witnessed in her rural life were remarkable. Moffat's wonderful narrator, Old Bert Middleton (David Ryall), begins this story as the 2nd oldest man in Britain (and by episode 3, the 1st oldest man has perished, leaving our Bert in the place of honour). Vivid writing, a fine cast, and superb cinematography create an utterly believable world.

The summer of 1914 was the first time ever a bus came to Bert's Derbyshire village, no one expected anyone to actually get off. Young Bert Middleton (exquisitely played by Bill Jones) was only 12 years old, but he fell in love immediately with new arrival, young Martha Lane (Charlie Murphy). He still loves her 100 years later. Bert's older brother Joe (perfectly portrayed by Manchester native Nico Mirallegro), is a servant in the Big House and he also falls for Martha. Both boys are afraid of their tormented father John, a drunken Peak District farmer (the always remarkable John Simm, catch the Manchester drama Life on Mars). For context, Simm himself researched what the life of his struggling-against-the elements farmer would have been, reading local history in Milk, Muck and Memories: Farming Lives Collected by Margaret Wombwell. Maxine Peake is mesmerizing in her powerful performance as the long-suffering boy's mother, Grace Middleton (see her in Moffat's Criminal Justice). Grace is a ballast for her family.

Old Bert is asked what his childhood was like. His answer: "Short." What made it short? Wryly, he says, "Being poor and being hungry." This first collection covers the period from 1914 to 1920, with the harrowing fallout from World War I, with tragic consequences to the Middleton family, the entire village, and Bert's gentle schoolteacher Mr. Eyre (Matt Stokoe), who protects him from a bullying colleague. Eyre gifts the teenaged Bert (Alfie Stewart) with a camera, and we are thus treated to "historic" photos of a lost time. A menacing character is Detective Stephen Bairstow, darkly played by Joe Armstrong (we noticed an uncanny resemblance to another great actor, Alun Armstrong, and later discovered why).

An enormous feature of "The Village" series is its topography. Cinematographer David Odd captures a landscape where nothing is straight. The stone walls are the bones of the land, green with lichen and moss, seemingly holding the land together under a vast cloud-driven sky. Absolutely beautiful.

Thankfully, there is a second series in the works for 2014; this will progress the series into the 1920s. There is speculation that future series may also be created, to cover World War II, and possibly post-war Britain. We look forward to more!

354 Minutes on 2 Disks, English subtitles provided.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Village, 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Another wonderful series, I do like these type of programs that is why I choose them,
I am looking forward to the next series.
From New Zealand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic portrayal of Life in an English Village circa 1913-1920, 27 Feb 2014
By 
DF McCleland (Johannesburg, South Africa) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Undoubtedly a grim tale told through the eyes of a young Bert Middleton. Life was grim & tough for all in a down-at-heel village where nobody seems to smile. Powerful performances of John Middleton, a tormented alcoholic father struggling to make a living on a stony patch of land are buttressed by his wife, Grace, the ballast in the turbulent mix.

As John battles his demons & the elements, Grace somehow manages to put food on the table & keep the family intact.

From my perspective, there were a number of pertinent issues that this series highlights. For instance, the consequences of the war forced the villagers to confront the reality of their religious beliefs. For this, the local vicar himself admits that he does not have an answer. This war has now been recognised as the prelude to the secularization of Western society.

The effects of psychological damage parochially called shell shock were little understood by the medical profession at this time let alone the military authorities who considered this malady as an attempt at desertion. Instead of showing compassion & treating it as a bona fide ailment, the sufferers were usually forced back into action as soon as possibly with disastrous consequences. They failed to understand that this was the consequence of prolonged trauma in the front line. One such sufferer was Joe Middleton, Bert’s older brother. Whilst on leave, he suffers from a nervous breakdown for which he is ultimately executed for the crime of desertion.

Martha Lane, the daughter returns to the village as a suffragette. An intelligent head-strong young woman, she tackles various of the woes & tribulations with a feisty determination putting her squarely at odds with the men folk of the village.

Despite being the victim of physical spousal abuse by her husband, Grace still shows affection for him. It is genuine emotion but one wonders whether, under such circumstances, the womenfolk merely made the best of a bad situation rather than aggravate an untenable situation.

Despite being a grim tale, I found it thoroughly absorbing and compelling viewing. One hopes that the second series, apparently set in the 1920s, will be just as entertaining but hopefully leavened with more good cheer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See Movie!!, 30 Nov 2013
By 
Harry Quick (Berriedale, Tasmania, AU) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Village - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
This movie gave me added insight into life in Britain in the time of WW1. As we will soon be celebrating the centenary of this time, this movie reminds us all of the futility of war and the terrible sacrifice made by the cream of the youth of so many countries.
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The Village - Series 1 [DVD]
The Village - Series 1 [DVD] by John Simm (DVD - 2013)
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