Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie Review: The Mill on the Floss

From L to R, Lucy, Maggie Tulliver, Tom Tulliver
Oh Tulliver family, how conflicted your lives are.  It hasn't been that long since I read "The Mill on the Floss" so many of the details were fresh in my mind.  When I rented the 'movie', I didn't realize that it was a BBC mini-series created prior to the year of my birth.  That said, they don't make them how they used to.  Slow movies that are true to the book are often not best sellers, especially in North America, so it was nice to see.  There were some errors that existed, but things need to be simplified to not draw the movie any longer than it's 212 minute duration.

Book: "The Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
Movie: "The Mill on the Floss" BBC
Book Publication Date: 1860
Movie Production Date: 1978
Read: July 2010
Watched: January 2011
Stars: 3.5

The characters were cast very appropriately.  The best acting came from Mr. Tulliver himself, who I found I felt the same way for him in the book as I did in the movie.  I loved him for his compassion and felt sorry for him with his inability to forgive.

Maggie Tulliver was cast twice - in the child years and then the adult years.  Same goes for Tom.  What was interesting though, is that Phillip Wakem remained the same actor throughout.  I guess humpbacks don't age or we're supposed to believe he's older due to some substantial mutton chops.  Dunno.

The movie was made like a soap opera in parts, which I laughed at for some time until I settled in and then didn't mind as much.  If you're a soap opera fan, you'll know what I mean.  I don't know what cinematography technique they use... I can only describe it as a matte finish on the film and a feeling that you're on the stage.

Maggie's aunts were as annoying as pictured in my head, with the men being just as accommodating of their intolerable wives.  Mrs. Tulliver was a good dichotomy of annoying/naive and sweet... showing some growth at the end.

The one thing that may have been a discrepancy, but I can't really recall what happened in the book.   Before the flood, Phillip Wakem came over and apologized to Maggie.  I don't know if this happened.  It wraps things up a little better, but I don't remember if the novel has this event.  Since the rest of the mini-series was pretty bang on, I assume this was the case and distrust my memory.

Has anyone else seen this movie/mini-series?  What did you think of it compared to the book?


Anonymous said...

Sadly, my only foray into George Eliot thus far has been Silas Marner (which I loved, and for which there is a "modernized version" film adaptation starring - of all people - comedian Steve Martin).

Someday I hope to add to me Eliot portfolio...


Hannah said...

My first thought on reading the film stats was "Well, it isn't THAT old!" I am nicely on the OTHER side of the production date.

I've never seen this or any other adaptation of Eliot--but I think I'll have to put it in my movie queue. I love old BBC adaptations. Thanks for the heads up.

Mystica said...

I had this book as my part of my O level literature class!

Anonymous said...

The "soap opera" look comes from how in the 70's and I guess even the 80's they used to shoot outdoor scenes on film and indoor scenes on video. It looks substantially different and I always found it jarring. I finally sort of accepted it and was able to just enjoy the movie. You can see this "technique" used in pretty much all of the older BBC shows like Tom Brown's Schooldays or The Secret Garden, for a couple of examples.

I saw The Mill on the Floss in 2006 on DVD and I really only watched it because it has Jonathan Scott-Taylor in it who played Damien in Damien: Omen 2. He was a hot guy in his youth!:) I've since seen Anton Lesser in quite a few things (he played Wakeham) and now he's actually on Game of Thrones as Qyburn. He was also in the film Miss Potter which is a really sweet movie about Beatrix Potter that came out some years ago.