Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Middlemarch

Lastly in The George Eliot Collection, my mom and I watched Middlemarch (I will have reviewed all the movies in The George Eliot Collection except for one, Silas Marner). I never heard about it until I started watching period dramas.

Box art
There are two main storylines to Middlemarch. The first one is about a woman, Dorothea Brooke (Juliet Aubrey), who marries the middle-aged Casaubon. She wishes to help him with his research, but he gets irriated when she tries to help him. She meets Casaubon's young cousin, Will Ladislaw, and the two quickly become close. The second is about a doctor named Tertius Lydgate, who comes to Middlemarch. He soon afterwards, marries the beautiful Rosamond Vincy and then deals with financial problems.

Fans of Colin Firth (Pride and Prejudice) might be interested to know that his brother, Jonathan Firth, was in this movie. Other than that, there weren't any actors or actresses that I recognized.

I had a really hard time telling the characters apart for a good majority of the movie. Most of the men looked too much alike. This made it difficult to follow certain parts of the story. They should have dressed them differently from each other or give the characters different hair colors, something to tell them apart. It's wasier to tell woman characters apart, since they all wear their hair differently and dress differently. With the men, it was difficult, indeed!

Casaubon, Dorothea, and Landislaw.
Since the plot is divided into two storylines, it would be inevitable to compare them with each other. The whole storyline with Dorothea was a bit uninteresting: Spoilers she marries an older man hoping to help him on his research, but he doesn't want her to help him, she starts to love his cousin (who looked shifty, if you ask me), and then her husband dies and his will prevents her from marrying his cousin. End of Spoilers There really wasn't anything very interesting going on in that plot. It was all a bit dull.

The Lydgate story fared a little bit better than the Dorothea story. It was a little bit more interesting, but even throughout most of that story, it was one bad thing happening after another. If you're looking for something to cheer you up, this isn't the right storyline for you...

Kind of disappointing. Usually for BBC miniseries, there is such lovely scenery and bright, beautiful colors. I don't know if they used an inferior camera or the technology wasn't great, but the colors did not look that good. There was also a brief screen or two towards the end where the picture was very poor, but after a few shots, it went back to normal. Scenes took place in Middlemarch and a couple in Rome, both inside and outside.

Rosamond and Lydgate on their wedding day.
Nothing really spactacular as far as costuming was in this miniseries. Since Dorothea has a plain personality, she was dressed in very plain clothing. I will say that Rosamond had very pretty dresses; her dresses had a very nice color on them and they were in very pretty styles. Her dresses were probably the best throughout the entire miniseries.

Like I said before, they should have varied the men's costumes, since it was difficult to tell them apart.

Overall: 1/5
Not very good. The whole miniseries was dull, uninteresting, and hard to follow. I didn't like it very much. There was one adult scene, but it didn't last too long. It was hard to pay attention what was going on throughout the miniseries. I probably wouldn't watch it again. I know there are a lot of people who love this miniseries, but I did not like it. Although, Rosamond's costumes were very nice: if you are looking for costume ideas, you might want to take a look at her dresses.

Middlemarch is available on DVD through The George Eliot Collection or you can purchase it on it's own. It runs for 375 minutes. It has six episodes with varying lengths.


  1. Thanks for this review, you did a very good job! I watched this quite a long time ago and when I tried to watch it again recently I was quite disappointed at how boring and depressing it was! I actually didn't make it through to the end. I couldn't help thinking that a lot of trouble could have been avoided if only Dorothea had married Dr. Lydgate and helped him with his work, and Rosamund had married Casaubon and been the pretty trophy wife he wanted. Except as it turned out Dorothea did seem to do a bit of good with Casaubon's money. Rosamund was too young, pretty and silly for me to truly like her. But I'm usually dissatisfied with George Eliot's books, she wasn't a very peaceful soul and her writings directly show that. Her characters never seem able to be truly happy or at least content. Oh well! You did a good job on this review! :)

    ~Miss Laurie
    Old-Fashioned Charm

  2. Interesting. I say that too much. ;) But it was! It's too bad that they use all that time and money to take a film that isn't enjoyed by many!

    Looking forward to the next round of the tournament...does it come tomorrow? I'm subsribing. :)

  3. Miss Laurie,
    Thank you. I know what you mean: it was hard to pay attention to it a lot of the time because it was slow moving. Plus there weren't really any characters that I liked enough. I'll definately watch a Jane Austen adaptation over a George Eliot adaptation any day.

    Charity U,
    I would have expected it to be okay since Andrew Davies, who wrote the screenplay for Pride and Prejudic (1995), wrote the screenplay for Middlemarch, but it just wasn't good...
    Round 1 ends tomorrow at 11:55. I'll probably post Round 2 sometime on Wednesday. I think it will be interesting. :-)

  4. Edit to above: Round 1 ends at 11:55 PM.

  5. I had no difficulty in following the miniseries. Nor did I require that most of the male characters possess widely different hair coloring, let alone costumes.

    And by the way, I consider "MIDDLEMARCH" to be one of the best British period dramas to air on television in the last twenty years. Probably one of the top ten best.

    1. Thank you for your opinion. I know there are a lot of people who really like Middlemarch, but I also know there are a lot who really don't like it. I'm apart of the latter personally. It's probably one of those miniseries where you either really love it or you simply don't like it.

  6. I love period dramas! After seeing Middlemarch (first on YT only to be removed), I had to purchase it. I watched it again several nights ago. One of the most enjoyable parts was hearing Rosamond sing. I've tried to find, "No Place Like Home" to no avail. After watching (and purchasing) North and South, starring Richard Armitage, I find myself comparing everything to the depth of that miniseries. I have never seen such feeling portrayed on screen. Middlemarch is still a favorite, but it pales in comparison. I agree with another commentator that George Eliot's stories are somewhat disappointing if you enjoy happy endings. I did enjoy the music from Middlemarch. Perhaps in the future, they will do a remake (as they have of so many Jane Austen novels). I certainly would purchase it. I have every Jane Austen movie I could get my hands on. Same for Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell.


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