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Film 2 Little Dorrit: Little Dorrit's Story Movie Review

christine edzard clennam jacobi

Nineteenth century London was not quite as rosy as it appears in contemporary storybooks. Typhoid ran rampant among rich and poor alike, debtor's prisons were a fact of life, and work was often synonymous with unrelieved drudgery. And then there was something called a government bureaucracy that first engulfed and finally drained those who tried to grapple with it. In Little Dorrit, named 1988's picture of the year by the National Board of Review, director Christine Edzard is scrupulously faithful to Charles Dickens’ critical view of the period. Both Nobody's Fault (AKA Poverty), focusing on Derek Jacobi as Arthur Clennam, and Little Dorrit's Story (AKA Riches), told from Amy Dorrit's perspective, are compulsively watchable, the cinematic equivalent of a book you can't put down. What Clennam lacks in drive and imagination, he makes up for in kindness and decency. Clennam wanders through a world of far more colorful characters than himself, but as portrayed by the innately charismatic Jacobi, his low-key demeanor constantly seems on the edge of some sort of private revolution. Interestingly, it is Amy Dorrit, even more low-key than himself, who provides the catalytic change. When Clennam looks at Little Dorrit, played by 20-year-old newcomer Sarah Pickering, she appears more delicate than glass, but Amy actually proves to be a diamond in the rough. Little Dorrit certainly doesn't see herself as frail while she resourcefully makes her own way in the world. Producers for this Dickensian epic are Richard Goodwin and John Brabourne (the late Lord Mountbatten's son-in-law), who showed us another glimpse of an eroding Empire with A Passage to India. It's actually possible to catch the entire epic of Nobody's Fault and Little Dorrit's Story in one day. Allow an hour for dinner and you may find that you'll spend the most memorable day of the season in another time and place, courtesy of your VCR. Despite its length, Little Dorrit is well worth making a special point to see. Christine Edzard and company have certainly provided me with six hours that I'll never forget.

1988 189m/C GB Alec Guinness, Derek Jacobi, Cyril Cusack, Sarah Pickering, Joan Greenwood, Max Wall, Amelda Brown, Daniel Chatto, Miriam Margolyes, Bill Fraser, Roshan Seth, Michael Elphick, Patricia Hayes, Robert Morley, Sophie Ward, Eleanor Bron; D: Christine Edzard; W: Christine Edzard; C: Bruno de Keyzer; M: Giuseppe Verdi. Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards ‘88: Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (Guinness). VHS, LV, Closed Caption

The Little Girl Who Lives down the Lane Movie Review [next] [back] Film 1 Little Dorrit: Nobody's Fault Movie Review

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