Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gillian anderson’

Set in London in 1870, and based on the novel by Michael Faber, this mini-series tells the story of Sugar (Romola Garai), an East End prostitute who becomes the obsession of entrepreneur William Rackham (Chris O’Dowd).  William’s wife Agnes (Amanda Hale) is suffering with her mental health, and he finds solace in Sugar’s company, to the point of paying for exclusive use of her services.  As the series progresses, William and Sugar’s relationship becomes more complicated.  Meanwhile, Agnes is desperate to escape the abuse she is suffering at home at the hands of her husband and her doctor (Richard E. Grant), and comes to believe that Sugar is her guardian angel.

I love period drama, and this one certainly did not disappoint, but be warned – Downton Abbey it isn’t!  The seedy side of Sugar’s life, where she makes her home amongst the prostitutes and drunks of London is extremely well depicted, and you can almost smell the urine and vomit.  There is also some graphic nudity (Chris O’Dowd leaves nothing to the imagination in one scene), and some fairly explicit sex scenes.

If that doesn’t bother you and you are a fan of period drama, then you should really watch this series.  The acting is wonderful – Romola Garai continues to prove her versatility, showing Sugar as tough, intelligent, and also compassionate despite her circumstances.  Chris O’Dowd turns in an unexpectedly wonderful performance (unexpected only because it is so unlike anything else I have seen him do).  Gillian Anderson is a minor character in the story, but certainly makes the most of her part as the madam of the brothel where Sugar works.  She was virtually unrecognisable, and a thousand times removed from some of her more famous roles, such as Scully in The X-Files.  As the tragic Agnes Rackham, Amanda Hale is heartbreakingly fantastic.

The story is complex with loads of twists and turns – more happens in each one hour episode than often happens in films twice the length, but it is easy to follow, and certainly never boring.  Sometimes it makes for uncomfortable viewing, but it is always compelling.

Year of release: 2011

Director: Marc Munden

Producers: Daniel Proulx, Lorraine Richard, Lucy Richer, Ed Rubin, Joanie Blaikie, Julie Clark, Greg Dummett, Martha Fernandez, Steve Lightfoot, David M. Thompson

Writers: Michael Faber (book), Lucinda Coxon

Main cast: Romola Garai, Chris O’Dowd, Amanda Hale, Shirley Henderson, Katie Lyons, Richard E. Grant, Gillian Anderson

Read Full Post »