Cast: Sam Claflin, Matthew Macfadyen, Jim Broadbent
Another night surfing for something to watch brought me to this Masterpiece Classic on Netflix consisting of four episodes. Any Human Heart is based on a novel written by William Boyd, which I have not read. As far as how close the Masterpiece adaptation is to the written work, I have no idea.
It’s frankly an emotional journey about one man – Logan Mountstuart from his coming of age to his death. The movie starts on his pursuit to lose his virginity, along with his college friends that he remains fairly close to throughout life. Of course, like all young men, virginity is lost, and the boy grows into a man. Warning: There are some very graphic sexual scenes that may offend. They are boys in rut.
The story follows his pursuit to become a novelist, for which he accomplishes the writing of one book and never seems to come to a place of finishing another. Life takes him through a loveless marriage, an affair with his one true love, his stint as a British naval intelligence officer during WWII, his rubbing elbows with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Edward VIII and his wife Wallis Simpson, and finally ending up a recruited, but clueless revolutionary. Portions of his life are lived in opulent wealth, while toward the end of life he’s eating dog food to survive.
There are three actors who play Logan from young man to old – Sam Claflin, Matthew Macfadyen, Jim Broadbent. I enjoyed Matthew fairly well, but I cannot say it was his best performance. Logan, as a character, is interesting enough. He lives with the philosophy of his father, that life is merely about luck. It’s either good luck or back luck. There isn’t a God. There’s only luck, and you hear that phrase until you’re tired of hearing that phrase. The greatest heartache of his life revolves around his wife, daughter, and unborn child he loses during the war. It’s a loss he never truly recovers from the remainder of his days.
Any Human Heart isn’t the best of series that I’ve watched. It’s mildly engaging and a thoughtful look at the meaning of life from birth to death. By the end you’re beginning to weigh the good and bad luck in your own life. One part of the movie I did enjoy was the multiple times Logan sat down, rolled a piece of paper into the typewriter, and sat there waiting for his next book to come out of him. He had writer’s block that lasted for a lifetime and a blank page that never got filled.