Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Good Viewing-North & South/ The Forsyte Saga

North & South tells the story of John Thornton who is master of Marlborough mills and Margaret Hale who is the daughter of a Minister. What should have been an uncomplicated romance between the two main characters becomes complicated when Margaret witnesses an incident with Mr. Thornton and one of his workers. It begins a journey of misunderstanding as prejudices rule and sides are taken.

What makes this story different is the relationship between John Thornton and his mother, the sensitivity, affection and respect shared between both mother and son is touching to watch.

We see in North and South two sides of the coin between the masters and the workers and how compromise can bring about change.

It is a story of the North with its brutal and gritty realism verses life in the more quiet and easy going South, a clash of cultures ensues.

This is a great love story of a strong willed woman used to speaking her opinion openly played with great confidence by Daniela-Denby-Ashe and a man who finds himself falling inlove with a woman who does not return his affections played with understated brilliance by Richard Armitage.

The story is helped by excellent performances from Sinead Cusack who plays Mrs. Thornton, Brendan Coyle who portrays firebrand union man Nicholas Higgins and Tim Pigott Smith who plays Margarets father.

Good viewing for all.


The Forsyte Saga

This is the modern interpretation of an old classic which played decades ago on the BBC.

In this version Soames Forsyte is played brilliantly by Damian Lewis who portrays the character of Soames so well that one feels both pity and repulsion almost at the same time.

It is the story of unrequited love and how it can destroy both the object of love and the unloved with equal force.

In the background are two sides of the Soames family. One side which is more bohemian, while the other clan is repressingly and hypocritically polite and civil leaving their cruelties unspoken, but nevertheless felt.

There are no heroes in this partcilar drama as both sides are deeply flawed characters. The cold, beautiful yet passionate Irene Forsyte who marries for money and finds herself imprisoned by her husbands obsessive love. The character is played very well by Gina McKee.

But all eyes are fixed on Damian Lewis who actually says very little but can portray so much by a flicker of an eye lid and a small sneer. Soames Forsyte is a man who follows the norms of society, who refuses to break the rules and has little compassion for those who do and yet is undone by his obsessive love for a woman who loves him not. This leaves him to behave in a brutal fashion which haunts his conscience and colours all his relationships.

The tragedy of this will follow the Forsytes into the next generation.

Excellent viewing.