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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 6 May 2017
Unfortunately, this version of Handful of Dust seems dated and asks us to suspend just a bit too much disbelief. Waugh's fairly early model relies a bit too much on confected coincidences. Brideshead Revisited (the 1981 TV series), dating from the same era or even earlier is, however, marvellous.

The difference is the TV series uses, to a much greater extent, Waugh's words... and the writing in Brideshead (and Jeremy Irons' speaking of it) is wonderful...
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on 21 April 2017
Depressing storyline
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on 24 May 2017
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on 14 June 2006
Occasionally you see a film which stays in your mind and even disturbs you somewhat. This for me is one of those films. Not knowing much about it before hand I was n`t prepared for the savage story to be told of what people can do to one another. All the acting is superb and the music adds to the haunting effect that this film had on me. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a good story portrayed with style and expertise

and see if it haunts you too
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on 27 January 2004
Charles Sturridge was also responsible for Brideshead Revisited: here he has considerably less time to capture the essence of what (for me) is a far better book, and it shows. That being said, Kristin Scott Thomas is brilliant at capturing the essence of the beautiful but cold Brenda, and Judy Dench plays the arriviste Mrs. Beaver superbly. Despite a good performance by Rupert Graves, it is not entirely clear, however, what John Beaver has that so enthrals Brenda. James Wilby is excellent as the ingenu Tony (although there are points where you want to slap him) and Alec Guinness is all too convincing in the quietly horrific last act of the film. Definitely worth seeing.
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on 3 March 2016
This is a pretty exquisite evocation of Evelyn Waugh's early novel of the same name. Scott Thomas and Wilby both put in quite outstanding performances, and Alec Guinness' chilling contribution, although only starting late in the film, is simply brilliant. The selection of locations for virtually every scene is in impeccably appropriate taste. The only wrinkle that I would have liked to have seen brought out in slightly sharper focus is the fact that Judy Dench (as the mother of Beaver, wonderfully played by Rupert Graves) has actually manipulated the entire catastrophe that unfolds upon Tony Last (Wilby), and has done so in complete cynicism: no criticism of Dench, but the screenplay and cutting leave this point (which actually is at the heart of Waugh's personal despair) a little too easily to be missed.
But it's undoubtedly a classic and not to be missed on any account. Hugely recommended.
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on 15 August 2012
The story, set during the inter-war period, centres on the uppercrust Lasts, an ill-matched couple who are detached from "society" due to his reserved, asocial personality. As his name suggests, he is the "last" of a dying breed of entitled, privileged, unaccountable aristocrats, although he strives to recreate his Victorian idyll in their unfashionable pile, telling his son what is expected of people of their class. He is a gentle, essentially decent man but his modern and outgoing wife is bored and unhappy, and ripe for adventure...

Mrs Beaver, played by Judi Dench, is a middle- class arriviste with an eye for an opportunity. Also aptly named, she works diligently and tirelessly to ensure her son's prosperity. Her courteous, gentle villainy is matched only by that of Stephen Fry, who excels in his scene as the smiling, steely brother of Brenda Last.

Minor characters include exquisitely clad party-girls with nothing much to do, such as Brenda's sister who does little to discourage her sister's dubious decision. There are also scenes of lazy, wealthy types in gentlemen's clubs, parties, restaurants, the hunt.

Jock and his American friend serve to remind us that not everyone is vacuous and cruel, although there is a back story, unexplored, about the American's children, which begs questions about her past behaviour.

It's a pessimistic and cynical story, clever, scrupulous and well acted. Scott Thomas' scene when she finds out about events at the hunt is one of the most powerful and sickening I've seen.

Fans of quality period drama should enjoy this film.
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on 31 May 2015
This is a fabulous film very we worth watching.
This book by Evelyn Waugh is I think his best -better than Brideshead Revisited. it is partly autobiographical in that Waugh was very embittered at the time he wrote ir by the fact that his wife -The Hon Evelyn Gardner had had an affair and left him for a "ramshackle oaf" - John Heygate reflected in the film as Brenda Last and John Beaver..
The film deals with Tony Last s wife's (Brenda) affair with John Beaver (Rupert Everett) in which he is simply trying to make money out of Brenda s divorce settlement. Tony and Brenda's 10 year old son John Andrew is killed in a hunting accident and the couple split up, Tony goes off to South
America on an exploratory trip with an incompetent companion .Eventually the companion is killed and Tony ends up in a native village where Alec Guiness is the chief. Guiness' character is very fond of Dickens but cannot read so he gets Tony to read to him.
Meanwhile Brenda and John Beaver split up when he realises he isn t going to get any money out of the divorce and she is left penniless . Tony is left in the jungle reading Dickens to Alec Guiness, apparently for this rest of his life. This actually happened to Waugh when he was in South America -he met a man who "liked Dickens" but couldn t read and realised that he could have kept him there if he had wanted to..
The film contains what is said to be the most tragically poignant scene in English Literature when Brenda thinks that the "John" who is killed is her lover,but then realises it is her son. An excellent story and excellent film.
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on 4 July 2016
Shouldn't shoot the ferryman I suppose but I rather kept on hoping things might turn out well for at least one or two of them, but, the producer stuck to the story and a famous man wrote the story and so - not to be. Well made and great actors but all a bit rather accepting of bad times.
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The story opens in 1932, in the magnificent country estate of Tony and Brenda Last (James Wilby, Kristin Scott Thomas). Tony loves puttering around the old manor, while Brenda longs for the party life in London. Out of sheer boredom, she begins an affair with a social-climbing mama's boy (Rupert Graves).

As the title indicates, this is a grim story, the first part being a rather typical domestic drama focusing on the stuffy, idle rich. No one plays the snobby aristocrat better than Thomas, and she is so wonderfully convincing, you'll hate her. Wilby is well-cast as the dull but loyal lord of the manor who dotes on his young son. Graves is handsome and suitably innocuous. This section of the film exaggerates the stiff-upper-lip, passionless lives of the upper classes in contrast to the end, which takes us halfway around the world to a primitive land. This part was very creepy and left me cringing.

I love period pieces set in posh locations, so I really enjoyed this movie. It's beautifully photographed at the exquisite Carlton Towers estate. The acting is excellent and the odd turn at the end may leave one a bit depressed but still satisfied. Recommended.
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