Produced for British television, Daniel Deronda was adapted from George Eliot's final novel, written in 1874 (and first filmed in 1921). As was her habit, Eliot laid bare the hypocrisy and venality of Victorian-era "class culture," at the same time admitting that a certain amount of conformity was necessary if one hoped to survive in a world where ...
Produced for British television, Daniel Deronda was adapted from George Eliot's final novel, written in 1874 (and first filmed in 1921). As was her habit, Eliot laid bare the hypocrisy and venality of Victorian-era "class culture," at the same time admitting that a certain amount of conformity was necessary if one hoped to survive in a world where nonconformity was not only looked down upon but actively suppressed. Essentially, both the novel and the TV presentation are comprised of two separate stories, linked together by the titular Daniel Deronda (Hugh Dancy), a young man of Jewish heritage. In the main narrative, Daniel is attracted to the spoiled, headstrong Gwendolen Harleth (Romola Garai), who is reluctantly poised to enter into a marriage of convenience with the wealthy, snobbish, and intensely anti-Semitic Henleigh Grancourt (Hugh Bonneville). This romantic intrigue is played against the curious relationship between Daniel and the Zionist visionary Mordecai (Daniel Evans), who tirelessly proselytizes in favor of a permanent homeland for the Jewish people. Things come to a head when Daniel finds himself falling in love with Mordecai's sister Mirah (Jodhi May). Originally telecast in three parts on the BBC beginning December 7, 2002, Daniel Deronda was re-edited as a two-parter for the PBS anthology Masterpiece Theatre, where it first aired on March 30, 2003. Hal Erickson, Rovi
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The plot is good, the actors convincing - most of them, but Gwendolen Harleth did not get my sympathy. She was a spoiled, selfish woman who played with people's emotions, and I could not feel sorry for her. When she marries Grandcourt she gets her just desserts -the two are a good match; both lack a conscious and are self involved. Why Daniel wastes a second on Gwen is a mystery. His Jewish girlfriend, Mirah, is worth ten times more than Gwen will ever be and viewers/readers are gratified, I think, to see that he also realizes Mirah's worth. Discovering his own parentage helps him make his decision. I think Daniel's personality could have been developed a bit more so that we know what he's thinking and what, besides her fatuous personality - he sees in Gwen. I think Grandcourts relationship with his mistress could have been dealt with a little more. She obviously did not think he was evil and was hoping to marry him - perhaps because he was the father of her three children or perhaps because she loved him, as she seemed to. So did Grandcourt become evil or did Gwen just bring out the best in him? You decide! A worthy movie to watch, good actors and a plot that keeps your attention.