Posts Tagged ‘adultery’


In this three part drama, Helen McCrory plays Julie, a 44 year old married mother of two, who falls in love with Aaron, a young man in his mid-20s. They meet because Julie is a wedding planner at a posh hotel, and Aaron is a wedding guest devastated that a girl he dated is now marrying his brother. However, their relationship takes them both by surprise and Julie finds herself with a dilemma on her hands – does she stay in her stale marriage where she feels underappreciated, or does she take a chance and leave with the young man who makes her feel alive? And can such a romance ever really survive in the real world?

I enjoyed this a lot, but there is no denying that it is not the cheeriest of watches. The first episode moves fairly slowly as it sets up the background to the romance, but the second and third episodes pick up the pace. However, it bounces back and forth between moments of joy and bliss, and moments of sadness and anger. And it always seemed that just as Julie was about to find a chance at real happiness something would come along to throw her off course.

The acting was pretty much excellent. Helen McCrory was excellent and utterly believable as Julie. Sean Gallagher was also great as her husband, who has problems of his own, which impact on their lives. Callum Turner was also great as Aaron, although as a woman of a similar age of Julie, I struggled to see the attraction! Yes he was nice looking but he was also sulky and a bit self-absorbed. Nick Dunning and Deborah Findlay came across well as his parents, who struggled to understand his attraction to this older married woman, although his mother had some understanding of what it was to want to feel passionate and alive again.

I’m not going to spoil the ending for anyone, but I will say that it was the most believable ending I could have imagined for this couple. Would I recommend it? Well yes, probably – but be prepared to feel on a bit of a downer afterwards.


Year of release: 2012

Director: Gaby Dellal

Writer: Tony Marchant

Main cast: Helen McCrory, Callum Turner, Sean Gallagher



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At a young age, the virtuous and sweet Fanny Price is sent to live with her Uncle and Aunt Bertram, and her four cousins, the feckless Tom, the moral Edmund, and their flighty sisters Maria and Julia.  Fanny falls for Edmund, but keeps her feelings hidden and has to watch as he falls for their friend Mary Crawford, while Maria and Julia are both attracted to Mary’s sister Henry Crawford.  As the Crawford and the Bertrams become closer, entanglements and complications ensue.

In all honesty, there is too much story to put into one small summary, and in many ways this is the most socially aware and least romantic novel of Austens.  It is also probably the least popular of her novels, and I can understand why, although I did enjoy it.

The thing that struck me about the characters is that none of them are particularly likeable.  Fanny is sweet and kind, and Edmund is very  moralistic and by far the most thoughtful of the Bertram children, but (for me anyway) they were both ever-so-slightly boring.  The rest of the characters don’t have much to redeem them, with Mrs Bertram seeming kind, but practically catatonic for most of the novel, and Mr Bertram being well-meaning, but cold and distant.  The other youngsters are pretty self-absorbed, and Fanny’s other aunt, Aunt Norris, is mean-spirited and never misses an opportunity to put Fanny down.

Despite this, there were moments of humour, and the plot was interesting, with a pivotal scene being the play which the youngsters hope to stage, and which is the point at which feelings and attractions start to develop.  (Edmund’s horror at the thought of something so scandalous a play taking place at Mansfield Park – even with no audience – was unintentionally funny!)  There was a lot of angsty dialogue between the characters, and some scenes were overplayed, but I did like the gradual growth in characters as Edmund tries to excuse some of Mary Crawford’s behaviour which he would have found unacceptable in anyone else, and as Fanny starts to be more confident about giving her own opinion (in the first half of the book Fanny is really little more than an onlooker through whose eyes we see the proceedings, but as the story develops she features more, and becomes more interesting to read about).

Overall, it’s well worth reading, and I didn’t think it the disappointment that some Austen fans do.  Fanny, while not the most engaging of characters – she does not have half as much personality as Emma Woodhouse or Elizabeth Bennet for instance – is likeable, and eventually admirable, and the story is well told, even if the ending is predictable to anyone who has read any other of Austen’s books.

(For more information about Jane Austen, please click here.)

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When the beautiful and wilful Emma marries the studious and quiet Charles Bovary, she soon finds herself dissatisfied with their lifestyle.  At first she seeks solace in novels, and then in voracious spending, and finally in adultery.  However, nothing brings Emma pleasure for long – she never wants what she has and always covets what she hasn’t got.  Her destructive patterns of behaviour eventually end up setting her – and her husband – on a doomed path…

Oh, I so wanted to love this book.  It’s a classic, it’s one of those books that you feel you ‘should’ read, and it caused a sensation when it was first published.  In fact, I can see why it scandalised readers, and accept that it was probably very shocking (not so much because of any explicit use of language – which in fact was not explicit at all – but because of it’s subject).

However, I found that I simply could not engage with any of the characters.  For the most part, they seemed particularly unlikeable, especially Emma Bovary herself, who just came across as ungrateful, unkind and selfish.  I certainly never felt any sympathy or empathy towards her.  The most interesting character was the pharmacist Homais, who, if not always pleasant, at least seemed a more rounded and fleshed out character than any of the others.  Charles was rather bland and nondescript – although, in fairness I imagine that that was the intention.

Another thing that put me off somewhat were the endless descriptions of places and settings.  Every time it looked as though the storyline might be moving on, there was a pause while every inch of every scene was described.  True, at times the descriptive passages were beautifully written, but there were just too many of those passages!

However, in the last 100 pages or so, the story did pick up, as Emma’s actions seemed to be leading her into ever more dangerous territory.  Here, the story moved faster and became interesting, and it eventually finished off in a satisfying way.

In short, this book did not move me to feel any emotions whatsoever.  It wasn’t a terrible read, and I didn’t exactly struggle with it, but I can’t say I would really recommend it to others.

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