So I recorded it earlier this month and finally got around to watching it this week. Here are my random thoughts (relatively spoiler free, although I do hint at a few things):
- The actor who plays Alec D'Urberville is Hans Matheson and I find him incredibly sexy. He always plays the creepy guys though. He was Mordred in The Mists of Avalon (horrible man), he was Cranmer in The Tudors (not so creepy, but still ...), and now Alec (blech). He's been in other things as well, but I only see him in the creepy roles. And yet, I'm still attracted to him. [I guess it's like Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator - if you can still be attracted to a guy who wants to sleep with his sister, you KNOW he's got to be hot. Or maybe it's just me?!]
- Her mother! Oh, her MOTHER! How I wanted to wring her neck! How you could send your 17 yr old daughter off like that, with no knowledge of the way the world works, and expect her NOT to get in trouble, I just don't know. I was so glad when Tess yelled at her when she came home. I tried to find the clip to show you all but it doesn't seem to be on YouTube. And then, And THEN! When Alec comes back and goes directly to her mother and she agrees to his plan - AAHH! Mother, how COULD you?!
- In the intro to the film I learned that Thomas Hardy had great difficulty getting this book published due to it's "racy" content. He went through four rejections before finding a publisher willing to work with him. When the book was finally published, it met with massive criticism for the sexual content. The narrator went on to say something to the effect that Hardy "never gave up defending his fallen woman." I wish I could remember the exact quote, because it was quite touching. I also learned that this book caused lots of arguments amongst its readers. The big question - one which affected the seating arrangements at dinner parties! - was whether Tess was a pure woman or not. According to the narrator, people were very passionate about their opinions on this issue.
- This story is really moving. I admire Hardy for standing up to his critics and writing a story that was much more "true" than other books written at the same time. And by "true" I mean that what happened to Tess likely happened to many girls - but no one was writing about it.
- It is also really depressing. Although I loved the movie and would definitely watch it again, I don't think I want to read the book.
- This book is on the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die list. I've been keeping track of my reads using the great spreadsheet of Arukiyomi's. But I modified it a bit. Now it also tracks the movies I've watched that are based on books on the list. After watching Tess, I'm up to 28 movies!
If you've seen this version of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (or any version), what did you think? What do you love about this book? What do you hate about this book? And do you agree that Hans is sexy, or is he another of those strange guys that I always seem to like but no one else seems to?