Books On Film: DVDs

Over the weekend I had the chance to see two book related DVDs.

First up, Children of Men. I hadn't read the book but a quick look online revealed that P.D. James' novel of the same name hardly resembles the movie. I haven't read any of James' work and I'm ashamed to say that I thought she was a man! Very bad. If nothing else the movie made me want to read the book to see what compelled them to make this movie and why the big changes. Anyway...

The future, 2027, looks grim. No one has been able to have babies in 18 years. The world is in turmoil, except for Britain, or so they like to believe. Britain has a strict immigration policy, forcing refugees and illegal immigrants into camps. Because of this, terrorism is an everyday occurrence. Theo (Clive Owen) is a man without hope in this world. He has nothing to live for, until his ex-wife (Julianne Moore) comes to him for help. She and her group are trying to get a refugee woman to an organization called "The Human Project." Theo has connections that can get them out of the country without being captured and imprisoned. That's all I can really say without giving too much away.

The movie is very dark and violent. It was also a bit confusing. Watching Clive Owen for two hours wasn't bad though. At times, I was reminded of The Handmaid's Tale. Both show a very bleak future for humanity.

Speaking of bleak... I also had the chance to watch BBC's production of Charles Dickens' Bleak House (Like that? ;) ). I was lucky enough to be the first person to borrow it from the library: no scratches! Bleak House is a series 15 episodes long based on Dickens' tale of the same name.

At the center of the story is a court case, Jandyce vs Jandyce, that has been going on for years and years. The case is trying to settle an inheritance without a proper will. Two young people, Ada and Richard, both orphans, stand to win a pile of money, if it's ever settled. John Jandyce (Denis Lawson) is a descendant of the deceased and has seen the case ruin many lives. He takes the young people into his protection at Bleak House.

He kindly takes in another young woman, Esther Summerson (Anna Maxwell Martin), to be Ada's companion and his housekeeper. Esther was neglected by her nasty aunt who let her know she was an unwanted child. Still, Esther is kind hearted and sweet tempered. Everyone who knows her, loves her.

Meanwhile, the villainous lawyer, Tulkinghorn (Charles Dance) uses the law to find out other people's secrets and uses it for his own gain. He realizes his client Sir Leicester's wife, Lady Dedlock (Gillian Anderson) has a dark secret she's keeping from her husband.

The stories, in Dickens' fashion, intertwine and everything comes together at the end. There are some very humourous moments as well as some very touching ones.

This was a superb production. If Gillian Anderson was good in House of Mirth, she was great in Bleak House. All the acting was excellent. The film was beautiful to look at as well. I enjoyed the whole series. I watched it over three days. It's about 7 hours long. If you have the time, I recommend watching Bleak House.


  1. I saw "Children of Men" in the movies. It was, indeed, grim, and violent beyond what I had expected - but there were a couple of lighter notes provided by a wonderfully hammy Michael Caine. I kept thinking this was a combination of "Handmaid's Tale" and "Bladerunner"! It's a worthwhile movie, a well-thought-out dystopia.

  2. I love both those films. Gillian Anderson really is a wonderful actress. She was also great in a small but pivotal part in The Last King of Scotland.

  3. I totally agree about Bleak House, that's a terrific adaptation of Dickens' greatest book--and she was also good in House of Mirth, which I loved loved too.

    I was intrigued by Children of Men, I hadn't read or heard of the book and thought the plot line sounded interesting. I haven't seen it though because it did look a little dark and disturbing and I hadn't heard anything really very good about it.

  4. I'm dying to read Bleak House one of these days. It's been on my shelf forever. Maybe next year for the TBR? Anyway, once I've read it THEN I'll for sure check out this movie. Sounds just like something I'd love. But, books before movies, always.

  5. Oh, I loved Bleak House and House of Mirth. I wish I'd read HoM before I watched the movie (in a theater, which was quite nice) because I couldn't quite grasp Lily's problem.


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