The Line of Beauty [DVD]
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BBC miniseries, adaptated by Andrew Davies from the Booker Prize-winning novel, exploring the underbelly of 1980s excess through the eyes of a young gay man. Nick Guest (Dan Stevens) moves to London in 1983, and finds himself caught up in a circle of the rich and powerful, including his Oxford friend Toby's (Oliver Coleman) father Gerald (Tim McInnerny), a new Conservative MP in Margaret Thatcher's triumphant post-Falklands administration. As the decade unfolds, Nick finds himself in two very different love affairs, which make him start to question the ruthlessness behind the glamour of 1980s wealth and excess.
Isn't it ironic that Nick Guest (Dan Stevens), the protagonist in the BBC's miniseries, A Line of Beauty, is a Henry James scholar at university before being inducted into the fast-paced, sexy world of upper class British society? Director Saul Dibb has transformed this politically scandalous story, based on the Alan Hollinghurst novel, into a juicy, three-part series set in 1986/87 that pits decadence against the heartbreak and crash that often follows it. A Line of Beauty follows Guest, an aspiring politician, who happily accepts an invitation to live and work for a friend's family headed by famous Conservative, Gerald Fedden (Tim McInnerny), under the condition that Guest watch their mentally unstable daughter, Cat (Hayley Atwell). Upon discovering that Nick's gay, Cat and Nick become best friends. Plots complicate to keep Nick's sexuality under wraps, as the viewer glimpses fancy debauched parties, major drug use (the show is named after a line of cocaine), and explicit sexual escapades. Soundtracked by great '80s bands like Duran Duran and New Order, the show's hip coolness counterbalances Guest's ultimate tragic fall, following the onset of AIDS. A story that at once assesses the British political corruption, sexual discrimination, and '80s fashion, A Line of Beauty offers soap opera-like entertainment along with conceptual substance. --Trinie Dalton --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Painful lessons lie ahead. Just as disease increasingly afflicts the gay community, Nick recognizes much that is rotten in the glittering world he has joined - it dominated by the blinkered and arrogant, they interested only in self-preservation and motivated by greed. They have no concern for the less fortunate, even those existing under their noses.
Gerald's troubled daughter sees things as they are. Woe betide others should she ever seek to expose the truth....
I know nothing of the book and can only comment on Andrew Davies' three part adaptation. It certainly looks good, but I could not help wondering if Nick was really so shallow in the novel. Here he certainly seems part of the problem, he himself an exploiter for as long as circumstances permit. Then there is Toby. He too appears astonishingly passive, never really making his mark. Tim McKinnerny excels in the plum role of Gerald - outwardly so affable and trustworthy, but secretly engaged in dubious activities, both business and sexual.
An attack on Thatcherism and the attitudes it seemed to encourage? Sadly we now know that in any party much which disturbs lies beneath the gloss. "The Line of Beauty" could perhaps have involved us far more than it did, but the main point is successfully made. Be not led astray by outer show. Delve deep to appreciate how things truly are.
The early part of the story is hopeful, with young gay graduate Nick Guest moving into the house and the world of the Feddens, becoming part of the family and also becoming part of the gay scene.
The latter stages follow Nick through an unsettled love life and the parallel emergence of his antics and that of Gerald cause the bubble to burst.
The only crazy bit was the party scene at the Feddens when Nick persuades Margaret Thatcher to dance with her much to the delight of the crowds. Trying to suspend my disbelief that this delicate looking actress was really the lady herself was a bit difficult!
The novel was adapted for television by Andrew Davies as a three-part mini-series for BBC Two, broadcast in 2006. This sophisticated social analysis is captured to perfection in the mini-series. It is no funny, typical gay story. Sex and drugs mix, love ends by social pressure and ignorance and all begins to be overshadowed by HIV. It is sad to watch.
Nothing what seems perfect in the beginning stays perfect, rather the reverse. It gets under your skin.
The title " The Line of Beauty" has many meanings ranging from Nick's company name Ogee taken from the sinuous double curve cited by Hogarth as the "line of beauty", to a line of cocaine to a man's lower back cleaves to his bottom.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Would recommend reading the book first to appreciate the subtleties of Dan Stevens' acting and a fair amount of the plot was left out, but great adaptation all the same.Published 17 months ago by MrsRobinson
Well acted and a great story - as good as the book, which is unusual !Published 18 months ago by Debo
Not quite what I expected but anything with Dan Stevens in is fab!!!Published 19 months ago by Angela Wingfield