Bleak House

Finished watching the excellent BBC version of Bleak House last night, having started watching it over the weekend. It is great that the girls are now both old enough that we can all watch the same thing and like it. Jenny was very upset when Lady Deadlock died in her daughter’s arms, unusual for her to be upset by a film, usually in any "emotional" scences she checks me out to see if I am upset, as I cry very easily in movies (eg aforementioned scene) so she wants to comfort me, very cute and touching (wish she would not worry so much about me, though). The production was excellent, Andrew Davies does a fantastic adaptation of a classic, though the ending here was rushed, as is his trademark (eg his BBC Pride and Prejudice of 1995). The 7.5 hours of film was truly absorbing and pacy, though — of course there are one or two flaws as in LOTR (or anything, probably), eg Mr Turveydrop wearing the same costume for every scene he is in despite them supposedly taking place months or, in the last case, years apart. But the magnificent spread of Dickens, his plots, dilemmas, portrait of victorian society, withering satire on the legal profession (just as valid today), and his brilliant names for his characters, were riches to savour and enjoy. The acting was uniformly superb, the actors seemed to relish their roles, however small (eg Mercury the servant). The constant vignettes that flashed past were absolutely lovely. Interestingly, I did not find the Jarndyce/Esther conclusion as creepy and annoying as I did in the book, possibly becuase Denis Lawson played Jarndyce as knowing he wasn’t in with a chance from the start (or as Cathy put it with the perspective of a 14-year-old, "knowing he was doing the wrong thing"). Personally, if I had the choice of marrying Denis Lawson or the guy playing Alan Woodcourt, I know whom I would choose, but there you go (I would not have felt the same at Esther’s age so Dickens has it all right I am sure). PS to myself on Denis Lawson, must remember to watch "Local Hero" again — I think I bought the DVD cheap on Amazon a year or so ago and it is sitting in the "one day I’ll have time to watch the films I enjoyed BC (before children) pile" (in my dreams). When this movie came out I think it was the first time I saw Denis L perform; since then he has always been so impressive in whatever play or film I’ve seen him in. Was a nice surprise to see him in Bleak House as I did not know who was in it (apart from Gillian Anderson and Charles Dance) before watching it.