Daniel Deronda: DVD

For Mother's Day, I picked up the BBC's production of Daniel Deronda by George Eliot. It's a story of a young man finding himself.

Daniel (Hugh Dancy) was raised by a kind benefactor who gave him the best of everything, including an education, but Daniel hardly knows what to do with himself. Something is missing from his life. Still, he has a good heart and is kind to everyone, especially damsels in distress. He is drawn to the beautiful but selfish Gwendolen Harleth (Romola Garai). She is a woman who craves freedom but is pushed by her family and her own selfishness into a loveless marriage. He also has feelings for Mirah Lapidoth (Jodhi May), a poor opera singer he saves from drowning. She is a Jewish girl on a mission to find what's left of her family. While helping Mirah in her search, he finds himself drawn to the plight of her people and wishes to find his own family.

In typical Eliot fashion, there are unbelievable coincidences and the ending is a happy one. As in Adam Bede, she explores faith and religion, but instead of Methodism it's Judaism. She also questions the traditional roles of women as well. Some women just aren't meant to be wives and mothers. For the late 19th century, this is ground breaking.

I really enjoyed all 210 minutes of the movie, although I thought the ending was rushed. It was beautiful to watch and the acting wonderful (and Hugh wasn't bad to look at either). Definitely worth watching if you're a fan of Eliot. For more information, see the BBC's Daniel Deronda page.


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