Taken from my review of The Mill on the Floss (1978)
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. Wakem. Meanwhile, Maggie grows fond of Phillip Waken, Mr. Wakem's hunchbacked son.
I only recognized two other period drama actresses in Mill on the Floss (three after looking at IMDB since Bessy Tulliver looked familiar).
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Emily Watson||Maggie Tulliver||Miss Potter as Milly Warne|
|Joanna David||Sophy Deane||Pride and Prejudice (1995) as Mrs. Gardiner|
|Cheryl Cambell||Bessy Tulliver||The Way We Live Now as Lady Carbury|
|Tom and Maggie Tulliver|
Maggie in this version was a lot more likable than the older version that I saw. I found that I could relate to her more than in the older version. I think part of that has to do with the child actor they picked to be young Maggie. She was a rebel, but without her getting annoying all the time (as opposed to the 1978 version, who always seemed to be yelling about one thing or another). So from the start, I was able to like Maggie and continued to like her when she grew up.
Tom, as in the older version, always seemed to pick more fights than was necessary. I'm not quite sure what to this of this Tom, but I think I liked him better than the older version's Tom. There was almost a good and a bad side to Tom: there was the side where he was trying his best to provide for his mother and sister and then there was the side that was seeking revenge from the Wakem family (though his father made him promise against the Wakems, I think he used that as an excuse to be cruel).
|Phillip Wakem, Maggie Tulliver, and Tom Tulliver|
I'd say the film quality is about the same as Persuasion (1995): there are colors (and nice colors too), but not the vibrant colors that you see in other period dramas. Scenes mostly take place around the mill the Tullivers live in, though the Deanes' (cousins on Bessy Tulliver's side) home is visited. There are also quite a few shots of the mill in motion throughout the movie: it might have been for some form of symbolism.
|A Party at the Deanes' home|
From looking at the costuming, I would say the story takes place (at least in the later part of the story) in the 1840s. Since the Tullivers are not rich, their clothes are not fancy (although Maggie does wear a nice party dress that I think her cousin Lucy gave her). The Deanes always have nice clothes since they are rich and comfortable.
The one thing I had an issue with for costuming was Maggie's hair: it was down way to often when she was an adult. As a child, it would have been passable for her to have her hair down, but when she was an adult, she would go outside of the house with her hair down, which an adult woman at the time would not have done.
I gave the newer version the same rating as I did the older version that I watched (after I re-rated it). There were things that one version did better than the other: the story and plot details were better in the 1978 version, while in the newer version, the costuming, scenery, and likability of the characters were better. This is a case where I would say watch both versions if you're interested in the story line: there are things that one did better than the other that are worth seeing. This is still not my favorite story mainly because of the sad ending. I probably wouldn't see this again, but I wouldn't be opposed to seeing it again.
There really isn't any really objectionable content in this movie that I can remember. I think I would probably rate it PG maybe for "thematic elements", but there really isn't anything too bad in here.
Mill on the Floss is available on Netflix Instant Streaming (there doesn't appear to be a reasonably priced DVD available). It runs for 90 minutes.