Sons And Lovers  [DVD]
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Sarah Lancashire stars in a TV adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's classic novel. Frustrated in her marriage to the hard-drinking miner Walter, Gertrude puts all her energies into her sons William and Paul. After William leaves for a job in London, Paul also tries to make his own way in the world, but his close relations to his mother mean that his path will not be an easy one.
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DH Lawrence spent years trying to stop his early publishers from expergating his novels,and not until recently, when the Cambridge University Press restored all his works to their original composition,have we been able to read his novels with the original intended text
Sons and Lovers had almost 80 passages,a tenth of the book,removed by the original publisher, but at last we can now read the book as intended.
I didn't see this adaptation first time round, but I was given it has a Christmas present by my daughter who knows I am a Lawrence fan.
Well I have to say it has been a very disappointing experience viewing this 2002 ITV production.
This film has simply turned the clock back and spoilt what is probably one of the great novels of the 20th century.
Where is Arthur the 4th child,a more important character in the Morel household than Annie.The relationship between Paul and Mirian was a long, close, friendship which covered many years from adolesence to adulthood,with Paul spending many days at the farm with Miriam and her brothers.The film gives the impression that they didn't meet till much later. Where was the very important holiday Paul took with Dawes and Clara near the end of the book? The sex scenes were base,cold and brutal, whereas Lawrence gave them an almost spiritual experience.
This film had over 3 hours to get the story right and failed miserably. No film can be expected to relate a book fully,but this adaptation left far too many gaps. Sorry.
Of course, you can't expect an exact translation of a novel (there is no definitive reading & this has been adapted before- most recently in 1981)- but the simplification that occurs here. It fails to say anything about the book or era it depicts- unlike a BBC TV adaptation of The Rainbow in the 80's, or Ken Russell's versions of Women in Love, The Rainbow (again) & Lady Chatterley's Lover. Lawrence's work is simplified here into a series of sex scenes between Paul & Clara, then Miriam.
I never thought I'd complain about too much sex on screen, after all most TV revolves around sex in forms of affairs in soaps/MOR TV drama- but rarely shows it. Here we get full-frontal nudity- which I think is fine, after all- most people are naked when they have sex. But it overplays the nudity & sex, becoming repetitious and placating the idea that it's OK in this instance- cos it's based on a classic (do we get similar nudity in "Golden Handcuff"-based TV drama? The answer is no). Nothing is really said with the frequent depiction of sex, this is not David Cronenberg's Crash- so it comes across as a titillating excuse to show pubic hair on screen. Ken Russell also used full-frontal nudity in Lady Chatterley's Lover- but he did say other things also- whereas this adaptation was erring towards a classy form of titillation- which has been prevalent since 1996's Moll Flanders.
This adaptation is watchable, particularly nice to see more roles for women on screen, pity they erred towards stereotypes- I do think that Esther Hall (as Clara) & Lyndsey Marshal (as Miriam) were notable in their performances- I would like to see these actors used in TV drama that has some guts & originality. This was just adaptation by numbers- more Nanchero-style period nonsense than a work approaching any complexity- which is to be found in Lawrence's classic novel. Which is not only far superior, but a lot cheaper than this...
As far as the sex scenes were concerned- well Lawrence did portray the phsycological problems that Morel had and I suppose the deterioration of the relationship with Clara was graphically portayed.
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