“The story concerns a simple country girl, Tess Durbetfield, whose father’s pretensions to social status lead her into the company of the nouveau-riche d’Urberville family. In a scene which suggests rape, though it is open to interpretation, Tess is made pregnant by the rakish Alec d’Urberville. Tess returns home in disgrace, but the child she bears soon dies, leaving her free to leave her village once again to look for work. While employed as a milkmaid, she encounters the morally upright Angel Clare, who falls in love with her…[knowing nothing of her past]”
Oh. My. Lord. I just finished watching this 4-part series with my sister and we nearly used up an entire tissue box from wailing so much. To me, compared to the other adaptations I watched, this one was the most faithful to Thomas Hardy’s heart-breaking novel.
The music was bewitching, the cast was amazing (!), the scenery was breathtaking… I loved how the director gave us more perspective on Angel Clare. In other adaptations, a lot of it was left to the viewer’s imagination, and it ended up making Clare look less in love.
For example, in the 1998 adaptation, when Tess is arrested, Clare looks a bit too composed for my liking. But in this 2008 version the viewer is able to get a better sense of just how deeply Clare was in love with Tess.
The trailer didn’t do justice to this series though. I put off watching this series mainly because of how modernized the trailer made the adaptation look, which wasn’t at all appealing.
So, for the period drama fanatics out there: Thou must watcheth Tess!