As this drama opens, the beautiful and innocent Tess Durbeyfield, dressed in white, dances in the May Day celebrations in her village. She catches a glimpse of a handsome stranger, but he ignores her.
Later Tess is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune. Here she meets a very different man - the manipulative and fraudulent Alec. Will her very innocence prove to be her downfall?
One year later a changed Tess watches the May dances. Embarking on a new chapter in her life, she leaves her home, finding work as a dairy maid. Here Tess meets the stranger from the celebrations - Angel Clare. He seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent.
A thrilling story of seduction, murder, cruelty and betrayal unfolds. Whilst unstintingly gorgeous and romantic, this new adaptation is an intense, moving and provocative depiction of the tragically beautiful story.
When they said 'tragic' I didn't realize... they really really meant it. I went into this mini series with no idea of the story in the slightest (I just thought the girl on the front cover looked pretty). Then, as I watched, this beautiful, innocent girl had tragedy upon tragedy heaped onto her until I was fervently glad that I live in this 'modern era' of relative gender equality.
In the time that Thomas Hardy wrote Tess of the D'Ubervilles, it was a radical and pointed statement about the unfairness of the double moral standard between men and women's sexual behavior. Without the social context, it loses a little of its significance and one simply comes away concluding 'men are bastards'.
On a more technical level, this production was beautifully cast and set with excellent attention to detail. It doesn't drag at all, which was a fear of mine going in. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand, the emotion potent. All in all, and excellent period drama, if you don't mind a heart-breaking, yet beautiful tragedy.
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