Tuesday, January 03, 2006


3pm on 3rd. And still not started on the resolutions. Not even resolute, never mind resolved.

Meantime, trying to distract ourselves from the gap left behind by departed family (and the elf in particular), the TH and I ventured out yesterday in heavy rainfall to the rather weather-beaten-pour-your-own-coffee ‘Sunshine’ cinema to see the ex’s movie ‘The Libertine’.

Not falling into the ‘must-see-and-love-everything-Johnny-Depp-is-in’ camp, and knowing the original play so well (having been at rehearsals and performances in Chicago when Malkovich played Rochester so brilliantly) I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but was surprised to find it not only as true to the play as is probably possible in adaptations but also quite simply a very enjoyable film.

Depp and Malkovich are magnificent. And Depp must surely get at least an Oscar nomination for this role? On the other hand, I couldn't really grasp from Samantha Morton's performance(as Elizabeth Barry) quite what it was about her that Rochester fell for....

It is quite rare to see a film in which you don’t particularly sympathise (or empathise ) with any of the characters, especially the protagonist, and it's a challenge to make that work. But this film remains true to its opening premise (the 'You will not like me' Rochester speech), and still does work. I wanted to like Rochester, but Depp plays the ‘don’t want sympathy’ card so well that however endeared to him you want to feel, it’s simply not possible, although you can't help feeling 'moved' by the sheer force of his will and arrogance (and consequent charisma.)

The play was wittier than the film, and I missed the sundial scene and could have done without the Dr Bendo one (much more drawn out and funny in the play), and the scenes of Rochester’s decline were perhaps weighted too much towards the deathbed rather than the downfall, but all that said, it rated an unbiased 7/10 to us.


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