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The French Lieutenant's Woman Reviews

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Super Reviewer

February 2, 2011
This film interweaves two two-character dramas: as adulterous actors film a melodrama about a 19th Century adulterous couple, they begin to develop their own off-the-set feelings.
As a fan of his stage work and the film The Last Tycoon, I was excited to see more of Harold Pinter's work, but The French Lieutenant's Woman conspicuously lacks Pinter's characteristic pregnant pauses and focus on subtext. Yes, there's is a short scene between Smithson and his servant when we're to understand that the latter is blackmailing the former, but it's hardly as rich as Pinter's stage work. My expectations notwithstanding, the script provides us with precious few compelling scenes. More importantly, for most of the film I was unsure about why these two stories were being juxtaposed. What is this film saying about relationships and adultery? Sometimes it works, sometimes not? It's destructive? Either way, there's not much to sink our teeth into.
Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep try their best to wring some meta-textual complexity out of the story, but whereas Roger Ebert sees depth in their performances - he states, "Everything they say and do has another level of meaning, because we know the 'real' relationship between the actors themselves" - I saw actors and characters divorced, separated, as though these were two films that happened to be cut together. Thus, what I think is true of the script is also true of the performances.
Overall, the film's attempt to become greater than the sum of its parts only leaves us confused.
Julie B

Super Reviewer

December 9, 2010
Extremely well done, slow and deliberate unraveling of two intertwined love stories.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

April 21, 2007
The two love stories that are the link in this film would have been very boring in their own right, but mix the two, the time differences, the character changes and this film becomes a paradox of itself. It's tough going and not particularly exciting, but with Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep it's easy to spot this as a performance driven film.
John B

Super Reviewer

August 29, 2013
Meryl Streep does her best in a meandering film. The TV version apparently is shorter but I doubt that it does much to pick up the slow action in an otherwise dull period piece.
Alec B

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2010
Well acted, but the modern part of the story is silly and without any real point. That and the ending is a train wreck. Its not all bad, just rather tedious.

Super Reviewer

September 2, 2009
Sly, self-reflexive adaptation and movie-within-a-movie, having both a fictionalized and a real component complement each other, a meta-fictional technique used to great effect. As well as Harold Pinter's brilliant screenplay, Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons manage to keep their respective roles distinctive, yet parallel.

Super Reviewer

March 31, 2009
Fantastic performance from Jeremy Irons, and of course Meryl Streep is flawless. 1981's interpretation of a period piece, contrasted with '81 present day. I became a huge fan of 70s and more early 80s movies, for quality movies - slower pace, more left to the viewer to discover. Brilliant. If you like period pieces and amazing acting, you will like this.

Super Reviewer

August 19, 2010
Yet again I am plagued with the experiance of rating and reviewing a Meryl Streep film. I suppose the performances were well done, a bit dramatic, but well done. The plot itself was too obvious, and call-able, but it was slightly romantic and sometimes entertaining. I found it went on too long though, though it wasn't much more than two hours it felt like much more. Overall, an okay film that Meryl Streep fans with like, but others might not.
July 20, 2007
Though this had all the elements needed for a good period romance, it ends up being less than the sum of its parts. The storyline is both simple and complicated but never engaging. Somehow it all just felt clinical. But the sex scene ranks right up there with the most awkward I have yet to see (outside of my own bedroom that is)
May 7, 2008
Not having read the book, I can't comment on it's translation to screen, but the movie is very interesting. The jumping back-and-forth in time makes for an interesting symmetry in the lives of the "characters" and the "actors" playing them. Worth seeing.
March 30, 2008
Meryl Streep is the ONLY reason why I didn?t hate this movie. I fell asleep twice and it didn?t matter. Even the supposed creativity of paralleling two relationships from different eras couldn?t save this disaster. Big effin WOMT.
July 2, 2007
"Meet me at the undercliff."

Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons play characters in a movie who are having an affair, and their real lives offscreen parallel that relationship. But the movie being filmed is slow and melancholy (the screenplay is by Pinter -- there were enough pauses, I should have guessed) and the real relationship between them, the one we care about more, is explored less and less. I don't know what consequence any of it has. And I was sort of falling asleep, which is not so good.
April 27, 2007
I liked how they did it. The way they put the story and the actors playing the lovers is unique. Ireally liked it.
March 14, 2007
Meryl Streep can't go wrong. I've been meaning to read an old copy of this book that I just bought.
September 29, 2006
great plot, great cast and really really romantic...Meryl Streep is brilliant like always and Jeremy Irons is magnificent!
December 20, 2013
Extremamente bem feito, desenrolar lento e deliberado de duas histórias de amor entrelaçadas com finais divergentes
October 8, 2013
I quite liked the book, but I love this cinematic adaptation more. I think it even more interesting that this film was made at the beginning of the 1980's which, for me, was one of the worst decades for filmmaking. The power of this movie rests on the shoulders of Meryl Streep and the cinematography of Freddie Francis. This is film art.
May 14, 2013
The storytelling is sometimes confusing and messy, but The French Lieutenant's Woman is widely improved thanks to Meryl Streep compelling and remarkable dual performance as Sarah Woodruff/Sara, and the oustanding visuals and costume design.
March 10, 2013
The part of film that is based on the actual book is very well done and quite fascinating, but the part that is the movie company and the actors shooting the movie and carrying on an adulterous affair is contrived and uninteresting. The constant switching back and forth between the two plots also interrupts the flow of the movie and takes away from the passionate mood of the plot that actually came from the novel.
horse c.
February 22, 2013
OMG, what an awful movie!
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