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Customer Review

on 25 April 2001
Despite the sad theme of this movie, so typical of George Eliot stories, the producers and actors must be congratulated upon an excellent effort. Maggie Tulliver is portrayed in a wonderfully sensitive manner and the audience immediately falls into sympathy with her plight. Her brother Tom, so devotedly loved by his sister, seems to take her affection for granted and does not fail to irritate the viewer as he fails to understand Maggie's childhood friendship with the hunchback son of their father's arch-enemy. Neither does Tom relent as he and Maggie reach adulthood and he discovers that the friendship has continued. Tom sees the mild and gentle Philip as a threat and becomes angry and resentful towards Maggie. He carries on the sworn hatred held by his father towards the Wakens and attempts to force Maggie to hate them as well. When she refuses, he forbids her to continue her friendship with Philip. This leaves a great void in the lonely Maggie's life. The plot thickens when Mr Tullivar dies and the Tullivars are evicted from their home at the Mill. Maggie goes on to meet Stephen Guest and falls deeply in love with him... This is a tragic story, so for those who do not like tear-jerkers, it's best avoided. On the other hand, the casting is superb (Maggie and Philip couldn't be better) and the period costuming excellent. The English countryside is something for non-British viewers to relish and provides the perfect backdrop for this haunting tale about human relationships. Likewise, the musical score is wistful and particularly beautiful. My only criticism is that the ending was so unexpected. The audience is left slightly stunned. I know I came away very thoughtful. However when one reconsiders the moral of the story (don't expect to escape that in any of George Eliot's works) the ending was probably inevitable. And if the ending causes us to ponder the tale a little longer than is usual, perhaps this is a point in favour rather than against it. If George Eliot could have imagined her book produced as a movie, this is how she would have seen it. And who can ask more than that?
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