…Victorian victory

Little Dorrit (2008) Dir. Adam Smith, Dearbhla Walsh, Diarmuid Lawrence

I’d like to draw your attention to one of the best series based on a British classic. This one you can’t miss!

“Little Dorrit” is a 14-episode BBC production. The story is complicated so it’s not easy to describe it in a few sentences. Basically, it tells a story of two seemingly unconnected families: the Dorrits and the Clennams. Mr. Dorrit (Tom Courtenay), a respectable yet poor gentleman, lives in a debtors’ prison with his three children: Amy (Claire Foy), called Little Dorrit, Fanny (Emma Pierson), a dancer, and Tip (James Fleet), notoriously having problems with money. They’re poor, but their family bonds stay strong. In contrast, Mrs. Clennam (Judy Parfitt), an old, rigid, cold lady in a wheelchair, shows absolutely no maternal feelings towards her only child, Arthur (Matthew Macfadyen). These two families become involved in the same matters (business enterprises, feelings, old family secrets, and even a crime), and Amy and Arthur become best friends. As you may know, there are plenty of unique and fascinating characters, each playing an important part in the story.

Apart from the story and characters, which I find ravishing, the series presents a meticulous attention to details in recreating the Victorian times of Charles Dickens’s novel. The realism is incredible. Visually it couldn’t look better – fashion, interior designs, streets, buildings, etc. Everything is perfect – exactly as I imagine it. It also presents a stark contrast between the poorest class and the members of the high society – it shocks and make us sympathize with some of them, or be appalled by the behavior of others. It also carries an important message: money can’t buy you love, happiness, or respect. Instead, it proves that those who have nothing(no money, that is) have respect and good hearts.

One of the amazing elements of this production is the cast. Unfortunately, I can’t name all of them, but they all give a brilliant performance. I need to mention Tom Courtenay, who gives a heartbreaking performance as an indebted gentleman Mr. Dorrit. His final scenes, where he showed nostalgia and his broken heart, are especially moving. The same goes for Eddie Marsan, who plays a changing character Pancks; he’s quite memorable. Then, there’s Andy Serkis flawlessly starring a French guy Rigaud – it takes a very talented actor to create such an abominable and despicable persona. We have hilarious characters, as well – here, the king and the queen are Emma Pierson and Sebastian Armesto playing an extravagant couple – they’re both funny although they ridicule their characters. I can’t miss Alun Armstrong impersonating a revolting old servant Jeremiah Flintwinch. Lastly, there are Matthew Macfadyen and Claire Foy, who gracefully win our hearts. They epitomize goodness, pure intentions, and clemency. I hate to leave out so many names, but I can assure you the level of acting is high; all performances are artistic and moving. That’s a single most important reason to watch this series.

I wish I could express how well-done and beautiful “Little Dorrit” is. Let me just mention that it won seven Emmy awards and was nominated for more Emmy and BAFTA awards. I only believe that both bookworms and TV series enthusiasts will appreciate this one. “Little Dorrit” brings a fascinating story, the realism of the Victorian times, the panorama of the English society, the brilliant acting, and memorable characters. I certainly love it!

Long days, pleasant nights,

Veronica Bazydlo

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