The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

DVD - 2008
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Dec 05, 2019

Surprised by how intriguing I found this one....main actress does well at portraying complicated feelings (and the difference a few years/experiences can make in a person!)

Aug 18, 2019

I'm reading the book, impressed by Brontë's sprightly rhetoric and flinty spirit. The novel's flaw is not its epistolary format so much as its being a journal wrapped in a series of letters: only the journal is shown in the film. The story itself is an antidote to all the lies told about married life, before and since. Anne never married, neither did Emily, they both died young, and when Charlotte succombed to marriage, it quickly killed her as a consequence of pregnancy. The three Brontë sisters were upright, passionate, and overweeningly virginal Romantics.
Unlike her literary predecessor, the marriage-promoting Jane Austen (1775-1817), Anne Brontë (1820-49) has written a proto-feminist take-down of male privilege, alcoholism, and domestic abuse. The mysterious Helen Graham (Tara Fitzgerald) seems to have a chip on her shoulder when she arrives in her rock and sheep-strewn moorland hideaway. Is Gilbert Markham (Toby Stephens) man enough to trust his love object long enough to learn the secrets of her painful past? Or will the gossiping locals drive Helen, the overprotective widowed mum of a small boy, away before Markham's incessant pursuit can yield a romantic promise? That's how far we get in Part One.

Beautifully coiffed and costumed, with evocative views of stone village houses and moors, this 1996 BBC adaptation is marred by a lack of confidence in its source material. The tortured screenplay wallows in inarticulate, fleshy nonverbalism, a betrayal of the novel's inspirational eloquence. Toby Stephens is too smug to play the yoeman farmer suitor. Rupert Graves is spot-on as the petulant boyish aristo who seduces Helen (in flashback, Part Two). Tara Fitzgerald lacks veneer, but her edge is refreshing. Part Three devolves into a mangle of flashback, but finishes strong.
I'd give the book 5, but can only give this disappointing version 3.

Feb 07, 2018

Would have to agree with the numerous positive comments below. This one might best be viewed in the dead of winter as it carries the bleakness of the Yorkshire moors in both narrative and appearance . Insightful story written by a young woman who like her sisters had to use a male pseudonym to be published. Tragic that the Bronte women all died so young. I too will seek out the novel.

Jun 30, 2017

This film is interesting enough to entice me to read the book by Ann Bronte--though I generally avoid obvious chickbooks. The main character is a confused woman with a child who is turning into a monster like his father secondary to her smothering helicopter mothering. She makes true Jack Nicholson's comment in As Good As It Gets when asked how he relates to women: "I think of a man; and take away reason and accountability."

Apr 12, 2017

Good adaptation of Anne Bronte's book. Has the bleak moor life portrayed in all Bronte novels, but this has a woman who endures life's hardships and ultimately finds happiness in the end. 3 - 1 hour episodes. Well done.

Feb 14, 2015

A superior, engrossing adaptation of an ignored novel by Ann Bronte, with superb performances by Tara Fitzgerald and Rupert Graves. It's the BBC at the top of its form.

May 15, 2014

I liked this fiction story alot. It represents how society was in early century. The male & female role was quite different then.

hania4987 Oct 08, 2013

This is my incentive to read the book!
The story begins with Helen settling in a secluded house in a small village. In small flashbacks, it is shown that she has fled from a dreadful situation. The village tries to become acquainted with her, but she is very standoffish. The gossip begins and she finds herself criticized and ostracized by everyone but Gilbert. The creepy melancholy music esp in the first episode does not enhance the story. It's a little choppy and disjointed.

wendybird Sep 11, 2013

Anne Bronte's under appreciated novel is brought to life here by a cast of experienced, perfectly pitched players, and near perfect English backdrop. A warning, though : a pleasant, soft-lens typical BBC costume drama this is not, featuring difficult themes and, at times, disturbing scenes.
The beautiful, mysterious Helen Graham and her young son rent gothic farmhouse, "Wildfell Hill" - and the plot consists of her personal secrets unraveling to the often cruel and petty society around her.

Froster Oct 01, 2012

It’s pretty amazing that the novel this adaptation is based upon is not much better known, as there are some genuine shocks contained within it. Evidently it rocked the Victorian world with its depictions of a realistically dysfunctional and abusive marriage. Because it’s not as famous as its renowned sisters, it’s difficult to judge the film that's been made of it. It works, certainly, though Tara Fitzgerald is singularly unsympathetic as the titular character (but perhaps that was a “brave” choice on the part of actor and director). Nitpicking though it is, her meticulous Victorian hair styles and costumes are also singularly unsympathetic. Added to that is a clunky mise en scene, with flashbacks and flash forwards that are needlessly confusing. But it is worth watching, and certainly within the Bronte oeuvre, a major revelation.

tradlibn May 24, 2012

This movie is based on a novel by a lesser-known Bronte sister - Anne. A mysterious young woman, dressed in mourning, and her son move into an old house along the coast of in Yorkshire.
The woman is reserved and resists mixing with her neighbors, but a young man living nearby becomes enamored of her just the same. Then rumors start in the town about who the father of her child is.

Jan 31, 2012

I quite enjoyed this, and found myself thinking quite a lot about it afterward. I haven't read the book so can't comment on how well the movie follows it, but I did appreciate that the nearly 3-hour length seemed to allow the time to fully tell the story. I'm impressed that a young unmarried woman of her time (Anne Bronte) could tell a story of married life with such insight.

Aug 09, 2011

Beautifully directed, written, acted, like a Pre-Raphaelite painting come to life. I agree Tara Fitzgerald comes on a bit rough as Helen, rougher than she would probably have been in the 19th century. I think it was necessary, though, to make it clear to a modern audience the villagers were not totally wrong and bigoted, and Helen not totally guiltless in her marriage fiasco. (Show this film to anyone who says "he'll change".) And really, she was pushed to the limit.

Jan 24, 2011

An interesting story, but I found the lead character a bit unsympathetic which given her circumstances is quite hard to fathom. It did have some moments though...

Dec 11, 2009

Not bad. I really like these period pieces so they're always worth watching for me. The problem that I had was with the lead character. She was so rude and unpleasant, I found it hard to believe the love story that evolved. Even though she'd come from an unpleasant past, there was still something lacking in this picture that makes you want to root for her.

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