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Sunday, June 8, 2008

THE WOODLANDERS (1997)

Thomas Hardy’s novel is largely a study of land and character, rather than plot. (Marriageable country beauty chooses to wed a couple of steps up and regrets the fine honest longtime neighbor she rebuffed, with tragic consequences, natch.) So any adaptation had better make the woodland and its people compelling. But with the notable exception of Rufus Sewell, with those startling Bette Davis eyes, no one makes enough of an impression in this handsome, but bland rendition. You can’t exactly fault the work, it’s honest enough, but just not memorable. You begin to tote up all the missed opportunities.

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