Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Lady Chatterley

France 2007
Directed by
Pascale Ferran
168 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
4.5 stars

Lady Chatterley

Synopsis: Lady Constance Chatterley (Marina Hands) lives on her grand estate with husband, Clifford (Hippolyte Girardot), who returned from World War 1 three years earlier paralysed from the waist down. Advised by her doctor to take some fresh air to cure her spiritual malaise Connie wanders down by the hut where the estate’s taciturn gamekeeper Oliver Parkin (Jean Louis Coulloc’h) works in the day. Attracted to the natural beauty and solitude of the area, as well as to the masculine presence of Parkin, Connie finds herself embroiled in a love affair that progresses from almost animalistic coupling to overwhelming passion. Despite their radical class differences, Parkin and Connie will help each other to grow and awaken, both sensually and spiritually.

It’s no surprise that Lady Chatterley has won five awards at this year’s French Césars, including best actress, best cinematography, best screen adaptation and best film. This exquisite film is based upon the second of three versions of a novel written by D.H. Lawrence, the best known being Lady Chatterley’s Lover. This version, entitled John Thomas and Lady Jane depicts Parkin as more of a simple man than the equivalent character of Mellors in LCL. The book, as well as its film adaptation, focuses more intently upon the relationship of the lovers than the better-known version. In this version they simply experience their love rather than analysing it, constantly in the moment and transforming with each meeting.

Because the film has so little of what we would call conventional plot and is built around the couple’s sexual encounters, it is all the more remarkable just how engrossing it is. Stillness is the first noticeable thing, or rather, the absence of aggravating superfluous music. When Connie first walks out, leaving her formal, slightly oppressive home and heads into the fields of daffodils near Parkin’s hut, we are aware of every nuance of sound that envelops her, from the rustling leaves to the swish of grasses and the calls of birds. In another scene, where the newly-employed nurse, Mrs Bolton, shaves Clifford, we can actually hear the sound the blade makes on the bristles. This is an absolute joy for a cinema-goer over-sated with extraneous and jarring soundtracks so popular today. In every scene the director takes time to let things unfold allowing the audience to feel what the characters are feeling.

The lovemaking scenes are even more extraordinary, in that they capture an intimacy that is almost shocking on today’s screen. Not shocking for any blatant flaunting of bodies or explicit sex, but for the film-maker’s ability to virtually get into Connie and Parkin’s minds and bodies; their every moan, breath and gesture captured in a rapture of intensity and transformation. By showing less, (with the exception of a couple of scenes) the director achieves more – a true eroticism and capturing of sexual desire seldom seen in most films today.

The two leads can only be described as giving tour de force performances – the emotion they are required to call forth, and the character arcs they both go through is nothing short of magnificent. Through the many long silences and in the love-making scenes so much must be conveyed through eyes and hands and they both achieve this in compelling fashion.

The breath-taking cinematography is another major highlight of this gorgeous film. As Connie’s awareness of her sensual self expands so does her delight in the natural world around her, which is shared by her lover. Some scenes were moving through their sheer beauty or in the way they captured so lovingly the characters’ pleasure in simple things like picking wildflowers or running naked in the rain.

Don’t be deterred by the film’s length – it allows you to fully immerse in the experience of the lovers and to be gradually drawn in as each sexual rendezvous turns another corner and brings a new revelation. Whilst watching Lady Chatterley just allow yourself to be enveloped by a rare cinematically sensual delight.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst