Period Drama Review: War and Peace (2007)

I love you…as I have never loved before…Have I any hope?
–Prince Andrei Bolkonsky

5nCJcQeWeqZU9sk5wLIS9Ie74wyWAR AND PEACE is based on Tolstoy’s massive 1000+ page long book. As I’ve not read W&P, I can’t say the adaptation is faithful to the book. All I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed the hours spent watching this series. By the end I was smiling and crying and had a pile of tissues by my side.

W&P is a story about love and forgiveness during the Napoleonic wars. To me, as I’m a major romance-junkie, my attention was mainly focused on blossoming relationship between Natasha Rostova and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky.

The naïve and hopelessly romantic Natasha first sees Bolkonsky at a party, which marks the turning point in her life. Not only does she find herself infatuated with the cynical (and married) Bolkonsky, but she, along with all the other women, discover that they will have to let go of their men. The men have been called to join the army to fight against Napoleon.

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Bolkonsky goes off to war, and it is at Austerlitz that he realizes that man cannot live for glory alone, so he is determined to return home and refocus his life on his family—to love the wife he had been neglecting for so long.

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However, things don’t turn out the way Bolkonsky planned.

His wife passes away and he is left in complete misery. It is during this period that Bolkonsky meets Natasha again. Her enthusiasm for life enchants and bewilders him. He eventually falls in love with her.

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But then war tears them apart again.

Natasha is left to wait for the Prince for a year, in which her devotion is tested…

As for the Prince, when he returns back from the war, his love for Natasha is also tested by the changes brought by their time apart…

This is one of the very, very few period dramas that not only gave me heart-palpitations but really moved me to the core. It’s not to say that this was a perfect series. However, the issues I had with it could be overlooked, as the message behind the story was so powerful.  SO powerful that I now am determined to to finish reading the book (within my lifetime). If anyone has read it, please leave a comment, and tell me how great this novel is.

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “Period Drama Review: War and Peace (2007)

  1. Lua

    Okay, confession time:) I’ve never read war & peace either!
    But I have read Anna Karenina and even though it does not end well, it’s one of my all time favorite love stories so I’m thinking war & peace cannot disappoint us, can it?

    But after reading your great review, I’m definitely going to watch the movie! And hopefully read the book-within my life time:)

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  2. I’ve read it. LOVED it. It’s so rich and layered and the characters are so complex. It’s just a great, great story. Do read it. And I’ll see if I can lay my hands on this adaptation.

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    • I’ll tell you what I thought of this book when I finish it–which will likely take me up to a year!!! I’ll be so busy this year. School. And then in the summer I’m working full time to pay off my tuition. How long did it take you to finish War and PEace?

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  3. I read the book two years ago, in summer, then watched the series on Tv, since it is a RAi (Italian State TV) production and I even bought the DVD set (3DVDs) at the newstand’s when it was released with a magazine. I liked it, not as much as other period dramas, but it was a good production. Alessio Boni (Bolkonsky) is one of those rare actors who unite handsomness and talent. Though I prefer him in contemporary movies ( La Meglio Gioventù , La Bestia nel Cuore are his best roles). He was also Heathcliff in an Italian adaptation of Wuthering Heights (Cime Tempestose) but I didn’t like that series nor him as Emily Bronte’s byronic hero. Cheers!

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    • Oh my gosh! I didn’t know Boni played in other movies!! I’m so excited now. I want to watch it! Whether or not the movie has subtitles, I don’t care. I just want to see him act. He IS so gorgeous, and acts so well. Does he play the cynic in other movies as well? Which movie would you recommend?

      I’m of a similar opinion as yourself. I liked the adaptation of War&peace, but it is also not my favourite. It wouldn’t be placed in my top five favourite series.

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  4. I’ve not read any of Tolstoy’s longer works, but I enjoy his short fiction. “Where there is love, there God is also” is one of my annual Christmas reads. Actually, Russian short fiction in general is very enjoyable–Chekov and Nabokov are other good ones to pick up if you have some time but not enough for a novel (aka tome).

    Will watch the film sometime, for sure–the story sounds captivating. Not just a romance, but the exploration of choosing which loves to pursue and how to love–either way, it’s going to be gripping!

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    • I love Nabokov–the Nabokov who wrote Lolita right? Ahhh Lolita is one of my favourite books. So disturbingly good!!!

      You MUST watch this series. I think you’ll enjoy it 🙂 If you go to my YouTube channel you’ll find the whole series on my playlist!

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  5. War and Peace is on the top of my “to read before i die” list. but i refuse to read it until i get my hands on a very old copy. cause i have this tingling feeling that it will be one of my favorite books.

    clemence poesy ❤ she's my favorite french actress.

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    • Yes, me too, I don’t want to read unless the book is leather bound, dusty, and ancient! The one I was reading was my cousin’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • they are the best kind of books one can ever own. i have a list of books i want to own, but so far the only nice leatherbound copy i’ve got is Grimm Brother’s Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales, and Jane Austen’s Complete Collection, which at the moment is my most favorite possession.

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  6. Brittany

    I don’t think any screen adaption of War and Peace will do any justice to the book unless it’s an original russian film.
    The American version and such just didn’t compare to the novel, and it feels like it rips the beautiful Russian story off a bit-the russian language in itself is amazing, and it makes sense for the film to be in Russian also.
    -Now hanging out until one a new one is made!

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    • Tiffany

      Brittany,

      The actors speak english yes but this is not american. This is an international cast and billed as a forgeign film. Also the original was written in russian and french.

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  7. Daiah Natasha

    I read War and Peace twice and it´s the best book I´ve ever read! I recommend you to read it it´s better than film, but film is very good too… And I fell in love with Andrej Bolkonskij immediately… Poor Andrej…

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  8. Ana

    Hello there,

    I am a huge period drama fan, and most of all of Jane Austen’s works, and since my room mate has recently began reading “War & Peace”, I got curious and took a pick.
    I haven’t read the book (yet, maybe) and I just finished watching the series. I am very confused: half of me is sad because of Andrej, and the other half is happy for Pierre (I didn’t like him much in the beggining, but in the end I think he is my favourite character and the one who developed the most during the show).

    Well, first of all I think the series could be more “polished”: there are some scenes ill “pasted”, not to mention other things that could be done in a better way, but most of them are details (I am a musician, so I payed attention to music details, for instance. And believe me, there are some mistakes, Historical and even musical ones).
    But in the end, I think it is a great story and the series are not that bad at all: great story line, great character development, great cast, and great settings!
    It’s a “must see” series for all period drama fans and I liked in very much. Like someone said above, it’s a story that teaches us something. Jane Austen didn’t want to show us the reality of people and her country had: she wanted to show love and young women’s fellings. Leo Tolstoy showed us, in a romance, how was the war, what it did to people’s lifes and loved ones and most of all, the power of forgiveness.

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    • Very good point Ana! Austen’s work shows us….the…more domestic and happier side of Europe. Anything dark and tragic is somewhat hidden behind a veil with subtlety and wit. But with Tolstoy, we see it all…

      Thanks for dropping by!

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    • Yes the music bothered me too (I am a musician as well). For example, didn’t the waltz come into being much later than the Napoleonic Era? And really — the Khachaturian Waltz is lovely — but over 100 years beyond that date. They were probably doing the Minuet and similar dances at that time in Russia — harpsichords and Mozart and that sort of thing. I doubt they even knew Beethoven very well in Moscow in 1805.
      But those are minor points. I loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What’s your Youtube channel? 😀

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  10. Julie

    I loved this movie, I have read the book to and the movie is a very good likeness to the book. A lot of the war is left out but all the romance is there Julie

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  11. Where can I download the original soudtrack?

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  12. I just finished watching the 2007 War and Peace miniseries. I loved it. I found myself totally caught up in the characters and their lives and destinies. I started out reading W&P a long time ago but floundered after 4 or 5 chapters which were mostly mini-genealogies of all the characters and families in the book….just could not hold my attention. I love that each of the characters, with possible exception of Pierre’s first wife, is redemptive. Each learns harsh, often fatal, life lessons and uses those experiences to become a better person. I loved that aspect. Also, I loved the Russian General — the character and the actor who played him. All very good actors. Very believable.

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