Mid-Day Mini ~ The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The Facts:

Synopsis: A film is being made of a story set in 19th century England about Charles, a engaged biologist who falls in love with outcast Sarah.  Anna and Mike, who play Sarah and Charles onscreen, find themselves in a relationship that runs parallel to that of their characters

Stars: Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Hilton McRae

Director: Karel Reisz

Rated: R

Running Length: 124 minutes

TMMM Score: (6/10)

Review:  Once you see that this 1981 film of the John Fowles tome was adapted for the screen by Harold Pinter, the film’s ever-o meta construct makes a little more sense.  Though Fowles work  is fairly dense and was considered by many un-adaptable for film, Pinter employs an interesting device that may seem a bit novel to modern audiences accustomed to the parallel time construct.

Though nominated twice before (and winning once) in the supporting category, Streep earned her first Best Actress Oscar nomination for her work  in the film.   Here she’s playing the dual role of a 19th century woman engaged in a torrid affair and her modern day film star counterpart involved in a similar dalliance on the set of The French Lieutenant’s Woman.  Irons is a strong co-star with a tricky role that often is relatable but unlikable at the same time.  The two classically trained actors have a believable rapport and chemistry that helps define their characters in each time period.

Pinter and director Reisz keep things on track but audiences will need to stay alert to follow the action as it bends, twists, and dips through two different time periods essentially telling the same story.  For Streep fans, it’s an interesting film to view as its really with this performance where she became an A-lister.

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