Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mini-series: Bleak House

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Main characters: Esther Summerson, Ada Clare, Richard Carstone, John Jarndyce, Lady Dedlock (there are many characters)

Genre(s): Mystery, Drama

Primary actors: Anna Maxwell Martin, Carey Mulligan, Gillian Anderson

Filmmaker: BBC

Year: 2005

Length: 8 hrs. 30 min. (15 episodes)

Based on: the book by Charles Dickens

Time period: Mid-1800s

Exciting Events:  Murder, scandalous pasts uncovered, spontaneous combustion resulting in death, smallpox, & more.

Summary: “Charles Dickens' complex tale of young love, murder, and the quest for a mystery-man's identity unfolds in this adaptation by screenwriter Andrew Davies. Bleak House features some of the most famous plot twists in literary history, including a case of spontaneous human combustion and an inheritance dispute tied up for generations in the dysfunctional English courts.” ( (I usually write my own summaries, but I could foresee difficulties in attempting this one…the story is so complicated.)

Quotes: “Judy, shake me up!” –Mr. Smallweed
“They say he sold his soul to the devil. But if he did, I don’t know what he did with the money!” –Mr. Krook
Sir Leicester Dedlock: Is it still raining, my love?
Lady Dedlock: Yes, my love.
Sir Leicester: Remarkable.
Lady Dedlock: And I am bored to death with it. Bored to death with this place, bored to death with my life, bored to death with myself.
Sir Leicester: What was that, my love?
Lady Dedlock: Nothing! …Of consequence.
“I’m sorry I’m not quite the thing.” –Richard Carstone

My overall opinion: A very captivating and suspenseful mini-series – it kept me on the edge of my seat, and I probably finished it too quickly than was really good for me. I thought it had some creepy parts though, and like most Charles Dickens stories, I wasn’t exactly satisfied at the end. And a lot of people died! The romances weren’t exactly what I would have liked them to be, either. I felt sorry for Mr. Jarndyce, and even though he was so much older than Esther, I liked him - he was such a nice man. I liked enjoyed the costumes, and I liked Esther’s hair in the first half. (It reminded me of Margaret Hale’s in North and South, and I’ve tried to do it on myself.) Gross old Mr. Smallweed got on my nerves with his constant griping about his bones and shouting “Shake me up!” probably in all of his scenes, and usually to his granddaughter Judy. Mr. Skimpole was quite irritating with his constant declarations of being “like a child” (yeah, sure); but these characters are supposed to be annoying, so it’s all part of the story. ;-) Charles Dickens always chooses odd names, but as one of my friends observed, this one might top them off. “Tulkinghorn, Smallweed, Skimpole, Jarndyce, Guppy, Dedlock, Krook…” the list goes on.
     I recommend it as a very interesting mystery with an intricate plot, and well-made Dickens adaptation.

Trailer: (This trailer, to me, actually makes the movie seem less interesting than it actually is – plus, the main character is only shown a couple times.)

*Review by Melody*


Elizabeth said...

I have just started watching this show. I have not finished it, but so far I have enjoyed it. I have to say that Bleak House is my favorite Charles Dickens book. I am very happy to see your review

Jessica said...

Bleak House is a tear jerker, as are most of Dicken's stories.
Some of it was creepy! If I watched it again I would skip the spontaneous combustion scene- ha.

That quote by Richard is one of my favs. Hehe

Melody said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Yes, I usually skip that scene...ha.

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read Bleak House by Charles Dickens. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

Melody said...

Thank you! :)