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Customer Review

160 of 169 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant Forsyte remake for the modern generation., 9 Jun. 2008
This review is from: The Complete Forsyte Saga: Series 1 and 2 [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
For those of you who are very fond of the original black/white series, do not fear. This new adaptation takes nothing away from the beloved earlier version, but rather takes a fresh and modern look at the novel.

We begin in the late Victorian period with the Forsytes, a very rich and powerful family who appear to have it all on the outside, but underneath lies deceit, betrayal, unhappiness and affairs.

Young Jolyon Foryste (Rupert Graves) is stuck in a loveless marriage with only his young daughter, June, as his happiness. When Jolyon falls in love with his daughter's nanny and leaves his wife, he is cast out by his father, Jolyon Forsyte Sr (Corin Redgrave brilliantly cast) and left to live in poverty.

Years later, Jolyon Sr is now looking after his beloved granddaughter, June (Gillian Kearney) and has come to deeply regret his estrangement with his son.
As he tries to rebuild a relationship lost, meanwhile the story now has shifted focus to the other side of the family - to Jolyon Sr's brother, James Forsyte, and his son Soames and daughter Winifred.

Young Soames (Damian Lewis), a solicitor attached to his father's business, has been brought up to think that men have higher rights over women and that people should follow codes of honor and duty.
When he meets pretty Irene (Gina McKee) he instantly becomes infatuated by her. Despite her reservations and concerns, Irene is pushed into marrying Soames for security. However she soon finds herself suffocated by a lonely marriage, after Soames becomes possesive and overbearing.
As her hatred towards her husband grows, tensions arise within the Forsytes, and tragedy ensues when Irene embarkes on a passionate affair with June's fiancee, the handsome Phillip Bosinney (Ioan Gruffudd).

The second series continues to be as addictive and enthrawling as the first, with a new generation of Forsyte's taking centre stage just as the 19th century unfolds - bringing with it new fashions, art, music and technology.
As the years roll by, cracks appear across the whole family when Forsytes fall in love with other Forsytes, money is gambled away, affairs ruin friendships, and a whole generation of old and new come and go.

The Forsyte Saga is an exciting and addictive drama that you never want to end. The acting and casting is superb. Rupert Graves and Damian Lewis in particular shine in their roles, the supporting cast (including Gillian Kearney, Amanda Root and Ben Miles) and later in the second series the two young leads (Emma Griffiths Malin and Lee Williams) are brilliant and the bright costumes and locations just adds to the perfection.

The only thing I would say I didnt like was the casting of Irene (Gina McKee). McKee is without a doubt a brilliant actress, and here she does well, but she doesn't look the part. I don't see why Soames and her future lovers, including Phillip Bosinney, would be so infatuated by her. She is not especially 'attractive and beautiful', as she is constantly described and her portrayal is also very under stated.

However If you love period romances and dramas, then this modern Forsyte Saga complete series is for you!
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Jul 2009 20:47:26 BDT
A great review of a most absorbing drama.

I have to disagree with your observation about Gina McKee. She made the series for me - a completely captivating, bewitching and beautiful woman.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2009 11:08:56 GMT
I totally agree with the original comment. Gina McKee seems unnatural in the role of Irene in an otherwise brilliant cast.

Posted on 29 Nov 2009 18:51:42 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Dec 2009 16:36:02 GMT
Default says:
I agree with the comments about Gina McKee. She is a fine actress but she portrays Irene as such a joyless individual, even during the happier years of her story, it's difficult to believe so many men would be captivated by her.
Otherwise a fine adaptation - well worth watching - and Damien Lewis' performance as Soames is spot on.

Posted on 2 Feb 2011 15:32:07 GMT
R. J. Barton says:
There's no pleasing some people, is there? Sure, Gina McKee is not the most beautiful I could suggest for the part, but for me she radiated all the poise, breeding and self-assurance the part demanded. And that comes from an inner beauty which I for one would ask for in a wife. And she's beautiful enough with it.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2011 10:16:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2011 10:18:32 BDT
P. C. Jones says:
I agree I thought Gina McKee was perfect. Part did not require a pretty simpering heroine but someone who could portray a rather "tortured" soul.

Posted on 14 Oct 2012 18:50:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2012 18:51:08 BDT
Bondy says:
Why on earth did they finish when they did? There are another three novels to the Saga - are there plans to make a third series?

Posted on 10 Feb 2013 17:25:50 GMT
|Jules, Kent says:
Thanks, now I know the whole story I don't think I'll bother!!

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jun 2013 01:10:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Jun 2013 01:11:34 BDT
Gina McKee is very beautiful to the eye and her performance utterly captivating. It was a challenging task to consistently present a controlled and understated character, but she delivered superbly. With her eyes and small gestures, she conveyed deeply held emotion when the script called for it. Watch her dancing with Bosinney and you'll see what I mean.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Dec 2014 20:48:51 GMT
Yes - I felt as if I'd been told the whole story. Still bought it though - great!
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