Tess of the d’Urbervilles (2008)

3 Kernels

Stars: Gemma Arterton, Hans Matheson, Ruth Jones, Jodie Whittaker, Eddie Redmayne and others.

Type: BBC Television Series


People complain about The Price of Innocence being a book that touts the message “life is a bitch and then you die,” well you can add this story to the list. Talk about depressing. This is BBC’s four-hour adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s book (which I have not read, by the way).

It was one of those stories that breaks your heart through the majority of the series, as you watch young Tess struggle through a life of poverty during the Victorian era. She could have been a woman of potential in spite of her lot in life, but bad choices, poor circumstances, and the men she encounters is enough to make you go for a Skinny Cow after the bag of popcorn.

I found it to be well portrayed in acting, setting, and costumes. I must say you get caught up in each of the character’s lives. You feel terribly sorry for Tess’ life and struggle of survival. I found myself becoming very angry at her unforgiving husband, who frankly I blamed just as much for the outcome of her life. As far as the man who manipulates her to destruction, well, I could have killed him too.

If you can handle the outcome of the story, it’s a good watch. But if you’re looking for an uplifting story to leave you feeling great, move on elsewhere. Otherwise, you’ll overeat during this sitting. It’s hard to toss a TV across the room because the story dragged you down.

I’ll skip the favorite character, lines, and scenes in this one.

Goya’s Ghosts (2007)

3 Kernels

Stars: Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, and
Randy Quaid

Type: Movie (Disturbing Images)

Not much leaves me speechless when it comes to stories, but I must say this one for me personally ranked in the deeply disturbing row. I like historical films; and, yes, history isn’t very pretty at times. The Spanish Inquisition, as portrayed in this film, and the human suffering of innocent souls sickened me. This movie is not for the faint or tender of heart.

As far as the quality of the movie, it was well acted and directed. Natalie Portman’s portrayal of an innocent woman was spot on. Your heart breaks for her suffering and her plight of being locked up and tortured for turning away a pork dinner. Yes, you read that right. The defenders of the faith thought she was a Jew, because she turns away a bite of pork while dining out. Imprisoned, tortured, and raped, she is released after 15 years of being locked up like an animal to emerge as an unrecognizable woman who has lost her mind, all for the sake of religion.

I do not enjoy watching the “dark side” of humanity in centuries past, and the ignorance the church portrayed as messengers of a loving Christ by torturing individuals when “put to the question.” However, when I compare the cruelty and inhumane acts of men past to what is being done in the name of God today, I don’t think we’ve really evolved much as humans since the inquisition.

The three stars for a movie worth watching if you like history of this sort, but be warned you’ll not feel very happy when the credits roll by at the end. In fact, I had a knot in my stomach for days after it ended.