so this weekend i watched Jude, a film made in 1996 (yeah, i guess i'm a little behind on this one since i'd never heard of it), starring kate winslet and christopher eccleston. the film is based on a thomas hardy novel called Jude the Obscure, and like all of hardy's novels is a cheerful romp through late 19th century english social ills. so cheerful, in fact, that i can't imagine why anybody would want to make such a film; the story is downright treacle.
any of you who know hardy's work know that hardy wasn't one for a happy ending, so don't expect one here. in fact, i think i only finished watching this because i ghoulishly wanted to see how they would play out the ending (not that i thought they would change it, but more that i was curious as to what they would show). it's a spoiler, but there's a murder suicide toward the end that even if i warn you about it here, it'll probably shock you if you decide to watch the film.
anyway, the performances here are excellent and the driving force behind an otherwise drab horrorshow of misery, disappointment, poverty, and despair. there's also some fairly graphic sex which is sorta necessary for the story and well done, so i won't fault it too much (though a more gratuitous birthing scene later on is something i totally could have lived without!). the palette is very drab. england looks english ~ which is to say very grey. in keeping with this temper, perhaps, the costumes are very understated. there's very little color here and for this being the height of the most opulent part of the victorian era, the dresses in particular seem rather plain. it's all good and well for kate as poor sue bridehead, but wealthy arabella wears very plain black (okay she's in morning, but it's arabella ~ does she really care?). i think the only dress with any splash is arabella's bar costume. so on the one hand a bit of a disappointment there, but on the other, nice to see some plain clothes and to get away from the glamorous set for a change from most period pieces.
a thoroughly depressing, well-made film. i can only guess the filmmaker was wanting to make a comment about the nature and definition of marriage. i almost wish that if this was (as i speculate) a soapbox against anti-gay-marriage laws, that the filmmaker would have went ahead, been more bold, and adapted the story making the two principles into two gay men or something. i dunno. hardy just straight up is pretty much a drag.
: o p