Romola Garai Reviews

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Having You

Review Itas early 20th-century England and Angelica Deverell (Romola Garai, Emma, Atonement, I Capture the Castle), the headstrong daughter of a grocer, fantasizes about living in Paradise House, the most sumptuous mansion in her otherwise dreary town, and sets out to achieve her dream life. Angel has always kept a journal of her musings, and out of her wildly romantic visions, she concocts an over-the-top melodramatic novel. She interests a London publisher (Sam Neill, The Tudors, Jurassic Park) in her book, and he manages to turn it into a bestseller a making young Angel the talk of London.
Not Since You

Review Based on the sensational novel by Michel Faber

"Thrilling" -Daily Express (U.K.) "A deep, dark treat" -The Times (U.K.)

"Compelling, beautifully shot, and vividly acted" -The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
"The outstanding drama of the year" -The Times (U.K.)

As seen on Encore

Enter a Victorian England you’ve never seen: gritty, dark, and unsettling. Based on Michel Faber’s international bestseller, this four-part BBC series follows the fortunes of Sugar (Romola Garai, Atonement, Emma), a notorious prostitute who longs for a better life. Sexually adept, ambitious, and clever, she casts a spell on William Rackham (Chris O’Dowd, Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd), feckless heir to a perfume business and husband to a wife slipping slowly into insanity. As their lives intertwine, events are set in motion that will change them forever.

This provocative psychological thriller boasts a stellar cast and a boldly original look and feel, exposing 1870s London as a place where violence and madness lurked everywhere. Garai is “electric” (The Telegraph Magazine, U.K.), O’Dowd “a revelation” (The Daily Telegraph, U.K.), and Amanda Hale “brilliant” (The Times, U.K.) as Rackham’s wife, Agnes. With Gillian Anderson (Bleak House, The X-Files) as monstrous madam Mrs. Castaway and Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park) as creepy Dr. Curlew, “this striking Gothic melodrama…[is] lurid in the best sense” (The Scotsman, U.K.).
Hank and Asha

Review Emma (2009/DVD)

Beautiful, clever, and rich Emma Woodhouse is convinced she is good at matchmaking after her older sister and her governess both marry suitable husbands. No matter that as Mr Knightley drily observes, in reality, she had nothing to do with these relationships. Yet Emma, certain of her talents, plays a dangerous game as she persuades her new friend, the young, pretty and socially inferior Harriet to reject an advantageous marriage proposal to a local farmer in favour of dashing Mr Elton. So begins a story which challenges Emma's naivety, her social preconceptions and her relationship with Knightley. Fresh and funny, this perceptive adaptation, featuring a stellar cast, brings Jane Austen's comic masterpiece to life.

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Cup of Love

Review Although Jane Austen's Emma has been adapted for the screen many times before, including for an American version starring Gwyneth Paltrow, this four-part miniseries is the version to begin with. The story of Miss Woodhouse, a matchmaker and meddler whose wit and misdirection need to be carefully acted to match the novel's complex character, is perfectly expressed through Romola Garai's portrayal. Throughout the retelling of this comedic romantic drama, Garai not only conveys Emma's strong-willed sensibility but also manages to update Emma for modern audiences without relinquishing the traditional manners and tastes that Austen fans love in her 1815 historical tale. Each episode, here, opens with a seasonal shot of Hartfield, the estate Emma rules while caring for her loyal and kind but protective father (Michael Gambon). Having lost her mother early, Emma feels a bond with two other unfortunate children in Highbury, Frank Churchill (Rupert Evans) and Jane Fairfax (Laura Pyper), whom Emma befriends as they return home from boarding schools abroad.

The dramas that ensue revolve around Emma's attempts to pair lovers, with varied degrees of success. Episode One establishes Emma's curious desire to marry everyone off except herself. John Knightley (Johnny Lee Miller), Emma's childhood friend, is constantly by her side, coaching, supporting, and chiding her as she matures into an intelligent, regal young lady. Miller's ability to portray Knightley as the respectable, patient man he is throughout the series also lends this Emma incredible strength. In Episode Two, after Emma's beloved governess, Anne Taylor (Jodhi May), moves out to marry, Emma bonds with new girlfriend Harriet Smith (Louise Dylan), and from here we begin to see some of Emma's plans backfiring. Part of this series' genius is in how it manages, in keeping with Austen's book, to express deeper love developing between Emma and her true mate while Highbury's daily gossip continues. Though in Episodes Three and Four one weathers some minor emotional upheaval with aging parents, losses of wealth, and illnesses, this story is not tragic and most side plots point toward Emma's final love realization, which does not arrive until the last 20 minutes of the last episode. Settings and costumes enhance the story greatly, and views of the village farmers' market contrast with lavish balls and dinner parties hosted by the Woodhouse family and others to underscore Austen's original emphasis on capturing the preoccupations of upper-class British society in her day. Some scenes, as in Episode One when Knightley and Emma squabble for much too long over whom Harriet should marry, drag on, allowing one to marvel at how much free time these people had to worry about other business besides their own. Still, the romance in Emma is quite powerful and humor throughout makes this series ultimately enchanting. --Trinie Dalton


In Lieu of Flowers

Review Itas early 20th-century England and Angelica Deverell (Romola Garai, Emma, Atonement, I Capture the Castle), the headstrong daughter of a grocer, fantasizes about living in Paradise House, the most sumptuous mansion in her otherwise dreary town, and sets out to achieve her dream life. Angel has always kept a journal of her musings, and out of her wildly romantic visions, she concocts an over-the-top melodramatic novel. She interests a London publisher (Sam Neill, The Tudors, Jurassic Park) in her book, and he manages to turn it into a bestseller a making young Angel the talk of London.
Stay

Review Based on the sensational novel by Michel Faber

"Thrilling" -Daily Express (U.K.) "A deep, dark treat" -The Times (U.K.)

"Compelling, beautifully shot, and vividly acted" -The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
"The outstanding drama of the year" -The Times (U.K.)

As seen on Encore

Enter a Victorian England you’ve never seen: gritty, dark, and unsettling. Based on Michel Faber’s international bestseller, this four-part BBC series follows the fortunes of Sugar (Romola Garai, Atonement, Emma), a notorious prostitute who longs for a better life. Sexually adept, ambitious, and clever, she casts a spell on William Rackham (Chris O’Dowd, Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd), feckless heir to a perfume business and husband to a wife slipping slowly into insanity. As their lives intertwine, events are set in motion that will change them forever.

This provocative psychological thriller boasts a stellar cast and a boldly original look and feel, exposing 1870s London as a place where violence and madness lurked everywhere. Garai is “electric” (The Telegraph Magazine, U.K.), O’Dowd “a revelation” (The Daily Telegraph, U.K.), and Amanda Hale “brilliant” (The Times, U.K.) as Rackham’s wife, Agnes. With Gillian Anderson (Bleak House, The X-Files) as monstrous madam Mrs. Castaway and Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park) as creepy Dr. Curlew, “this striking Gothic melodrama…[is] lurid in the best sense” (The Scotsman, U.K.).
Morning Glory

Review Emma (2009/DVD)

Beautiful, clever, and rich Emma Woodhouse is convinced she is good at matchmaking after her older sister and her governess both marry suitable husbands. No matter that as Mr Knightley drily observes, in reality, she had nothing to do with these relationships. Yet Emma, certain of her talents, plays a dangerous game as she persuades her new friend, the young, pretty and socially inferior Harriet to reject an advantageous marriage proposal to a local farmer in favour of dashing Mr Elton. So begins a story which challenges Emma's naivety, her social preconceptions and her relationship with Knightley. Fresh and funny, this perceptive adaptation, featuring a stellar cast, brings Jane Austen's comic masterpiece to life.

]]>
Who Gets The Dog

Review Although Jane Austen's Emma has been adapted for the screen many times before, including for an American version starring Gwyneth Paltrow, this four-part miniseries is the version to begin with. The story of Miss Woodhouse, a matchmaker and meddler whose wit and misdirection need to be carefully acted to match the novel's complex character, is perfectly expressed through Romola Garai's portrayal. Throughout the retelling of this comedic romantic drama, Garai not only conveys Emma's strong-willed sensibility but also manages to update Emma for modern audiences without relinquishing the traditional manners and tastes that Austen fans love in her 1815 historical tale. Each episode, here, opens with a seasonal shot of Hartfield, the estate Emma rules while caring for her loyal and kind but protective father (Michael Gambon). Having lost her mother early, Emma feels a bond with two other unfortunate children in Highbury, Frank Churchill (Rupert Evans) and Jane Fairfax (Laura Pyper), whom Emma befriends as they return home from boarding schools abroad.

The dramas that ensue revolve around Emma's attempts to pair lovers, with varied degrees of success. Episode One establishes Emma's curious desire to marry everyone off except herself. John Knightley (Johnny Lee Miller), Emma's childhood friend, is constantly by her side, coaching, supporting, and chiding her as she matures into an intelligent, regal young lady. Miller's ability to portray Knightley as the respectable, patient man he is throughout the series also lends this Emma incredible strength. In Episode Two, after Emma's beloved governess, Anne Taylor (Jodhi May), moves out to marry, Emma bonds with new girlfriend Harriet Smith (Louise Dylan), and from here we begin to see some of Emma's plans backfiring. Part of this series' genius is in how it manages, in keeping with Austen's book, to express deeper love developing between Emma and her true mate while Highbury's daily gossip continues. Though in Episodes Three and Four one weathers some minor emotional upheaval with aging parents, losses of wealth, and illnesses, this story is not tragic and most side plots point toward Emma's final love realization, which does not arrive until the last 20 minutes of the last episode. Settings and costumes enhance the story greatly, and views of the village farmers' market contrast with lavish balls and dinner parties hosted by the Woodhouse family and others to underscore Austen's original emphasis on capturing the preoccupations of upper-class British society in her day. Some scenes, as in Episode One when Knightley and Emma squabble for much too long over whom Harriet should marry, drag on, allowing one to marvel at how much free time these people had to worry about other business besides their own. Still, the romance in Emma is quite powerful and humor throughout makes this series ultimately enchanting. --Trinie Dalton



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