The French Lieutenant's Woman

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79%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 24

67%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,899

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Movie Info

In this story-within-a-story, Anna (Meryl Streep) is an actress starring opposite Mike (Jeremy Irons) in a period piece about the forbidden love between their respective characters, Sarah and Charles. Both actors are involved in serious relationships, but the passionate nature of the script leads to an off-camera love affair as well. While attempting to maintain their composure and professionalism, Anna and Mike struggle to come to terms with their infidelity.

Cast & Crew

Meryl Streep
Sarah, Anna
Jeremy Irons
Charles Henry Smithson, Mike
Leo McKern
Dr. Grogan
Peter Vaughan
Mr. Freeman
Harold Pinter
Screenwriter
Carl Davis
Original Music
Fred Francis
Cinematographer
John Bloom
Film Editor
Assheton Gorton
Production Design
Allan Cameron
Art Director
Norman Dorme
Art Director
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News & Interviews for The French Lieutenant's Woman

Critic Reviews for The French Lieutenant's Woman

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for The French Lieutenant's Woman

  • Aug 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 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 <i>The Last Tycoon</i>, I was excited to see more of Harold Pinter's work, but <i>The French Lieutenant's Woman</i> 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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Dec 09, 2010
    Extremely well done, slow and deliberate unraveling of two intertwined love stories.
    Julie B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 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.
    Liz < Super Reviewer

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