Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: Mill on the Floss

Haven't watch movies from The George Eliot Collection in a while. My mom and I had some time this weekend to watch Mill on the Floss, which neither of us had heard of before we got The George Eliot Collection. We were able to watch it in one evening, even though it was a miniseries.
Box Art

Mill on the Floss follows the story of Maggie and Tom Tulliver, two siblings who live at a mill by a river. When their father, Mr. Tulliver, loses the mill to Mr. Wakem, a lawyer, he suffers a stoke. Mr. Tulliver stays at the mill as Mr. Waken's manager until his death, though he despises working for Mr. Waken. Meanwhile, Maggie grows fond of Phillip Waken, Mr. Wakem's hunchbacked son.

Watchers of Keeping Up Appearances will notice that Judy Cornwell, who was Daisy in Keeping Up Appearances, is much seen as Mrs. Tulliver, Maggie and Tom's mother. Other than her, I didn't see anyone else that I would have recognized. But, on to the characters...

What was up with young Maggie? The girl was positively nuts! Between randomly cutting her hair and abusing her doll, this girl was crazy. She also would change moods very quickly: she would go from being glad to see her cousin, Lucy, and asking her to stay with them for a while to pushing her into the mud. Thankfully, she does grow out of this very wild behavior; if she was going to be like that the whole miniseries, it would have been less enjoyable.

Adult Maggy reading outside.

Adult Maggie really mellowed out. She seemed much more likable than she was when she was younger - she was less... crazed. She still would have her tiffs with Tom, but they didn't seem to last as long as the one when they were younger. What bothered me a little was that her and Tom seemed to fight a lot, but then it seemed like they were best friends only a short while later. There was no period after the fights where they wouldn't talk to each other a while. I'm not saying that they shouldn't talk to each other, but it's natural to not talk to someone you were fighting with for a while.

Tom always seemed to want to starts fights all the time. I would understand this if he was always a boy, but even when he grows up, he always seems to start fights with Maggie. It got a little annoying after a while.

Some of the outdoor scenes were nice, but since this was made in the late 70's, the miniseries comes across as more like a play (which seems to be common for BBC adaptations prior to the 90's probably due to the lack of technology that we have today in filming). Obviously, the colors aren't going to be as striking as some of the more recent period dramas. There were a couple of nice outdoor scenes, though. Scenes took place outside along the river or in the forest or indoors in country houses, barns, or a warehouse. There was one scene in a conservatory in a fancy house, which was nice to see.

Lucy and Tom seated while Maggie looks under the sheets
in the background.

Some of the costumes were nice. The dresses looked like they were from the 1830's or 1840's. Some did include the big sleeves popular during the 1830's period, so those dresses I did not particularly like, but some of the others I did.

Adult Maggie had a couple of nice dresses. One dress in particular was a blue dress that she wore when Phillip Wakem was drawing her portrait. I thought the color was a nice blue.

Young Lucy looked so sweet. She seemed to wear a lot of white dresses, and her hair was always very nicely arranged. It was a shame that young Maggie pushed her into the mud and ruined her lovely dress!

Maggie's aunts' dresses I did not like very much. They had the big sleeves of the 1830's period, which I never really cared for. I suppose because they had money, they could afford the latest fashions, but 1830's fashions never really impressed me too much.

Not much music to speak of. The only significant song was the theme song. It can be a little piercing if you have the volume up on your TV too much. Other than that, there wasn't much music.

Overall: 3.5/5 3/5
Overall, I didn't hate it, but it's not my favorite. Spoiler This could have something to do with the fact that this story has a sad ending, and I always preferred happy endings to sad endings. Spoiler It was okay to watch once, but I don't know if I would watch it again, not because I disliked it, but rather because I have already seen it.

Mill on the Floss is available on DVD either as a part of The George Eliot Collection or can be bought on it's own. It is made up of eight half-hour episodes and runs for about 212 minutes.


  1. Oh dear. I hate movies with sad endings. :(

  2. I've seen the newer adaptation of this book but haven't seen this one. The story is definitely not one of my favorite George Eliot, probably because of the sad ending and heartaches along the way.

    ~Miss Laurie
    Old-Fashioned Charm


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