Monday, March 5, 2012

The Turn of the Screw (1999)

Awhile back I made a mental note that I do indeed love Colin Firth (this love originally inspired by that wet, white puffy shirt in Pride & Prejudice) and should therefore support him by watching all of his movies.  I had a little mini-frenzy with my Netflix queue, and now every once in awhile a Colin Firth movie will show up at my door.  


I was very curious about this particular movie.  I've not read the Henry James novel, but I do know that is pretty popular when the bloggers are reading scary stories for the RIP Challenge around Halloween.  And you know me, I love scary stories.




So for the three of you out there that don't know the premise, here it is.  A young governess (Jodhi May) is hired by a wealthy smooth operator (Colin Firth) to take care of his orphaned niece and nephew on his country estate.  He travels often, and does not want to be bothered with any issues that may arise - the governess is in charge.


Soon after the governess arrives at the estate, she learns that her predecessor and another male employee recently died under suspicious circumstances and begins to see their menacing ghosts appearing in various parts of the estate grounds.


At the same time, the nephew, who was away at a boarding school, is expelled for an undisclosed misdeed and comes to stay at the estate with his younger sister.  The governess begins to believe that the children are under the spells of the ghosts and may be transforming into evil minions.




This adaptation (and there have been many) was made for British television and was shown in the US as part of Masterpiece Theater.  I've not seen any other adaptations, but was not all that impressed with this one, with the exception of the dudely Mr. Firth, who was only in the movie for 5 or 10 minutes.  


I will say that I thought Jodhi May played a very convincing governess gripped by fear.  It was also refreshing that she had some frailties...she wasn't classically beautiful, and she had moments where she was totally spastic and completely the opposite of what you would expect from a proper woman of this time period.  The children were also adorable and precocious and three dimensional.  You could truly imagine them angelic or demonic.  


That aside, the movie dragged on, and any spookiness attempted fell flat.  My husband fell asleep.  I'm not seeing any evidence online that any of the other adaptations are any better, however.  But unless you need a quick Firth fix, I'd opt out of this one.





13 comments:

Jackie Bailey said...

I've watched this and agree with your thoughts. It did drag. But having read the book I liked finally understanding what had happened in the book as it didn't make much sense at the time!

bermudaonion said...

I'm glad you described this one since I am one of the three who didn't know the premise. I'll avoid this one unless I need a nap.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Oh dear, only ten minutes of Colin Firth? What a disappointment!

Trisha said...

I'm with Jill...there's not enough Firth to watch. :)

Zibilee said...

Oh, it sounds like this one was a bit of a disappointment, and though I also love Firth, I think I will probably have to skip it. Perhaps I will just stick to reading the book in October.

Literary Feline said...

I haven't seen a movie version of The Turn of the Screw. It's been years and years since I read the book. It's too bad the movie wasn't that good.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I've read the book, but I haven't seen this version. I saw the Deborah Kerr version, which is the same plot, but a different name - The Innocents. It's pretty good.

Melody said...

Read the book and though it wasn't that scary, it does have that atmospheric feel to it. Hope I'll be able to find this movie.

Jenners said...

Say "Firth fix" five times fast and see what happens! ; )

Tasha B. said...

I agree. I tried listening to this on audiobook, but decided to give up and watch the mini-series instead. I was so disappointed Firth was hardly in it! It was super-draggy, and the child actors were head-ache-inducing.

Amy said...

I haven't seen this movie yet but I have it listed on my Netflix. It sounds disappointing despite Colin Firth so I'll probably take this one off my list.

Thank you for your honest review, Sandy!

Ti said...

I thought the book dragged too. A lot of build-up for nothing. Anti-climactic if you will.

Kathleen said...

As much as I LOVE Colin Firth I think I will skip this one. If your husband fell asleep that is not a good sign!