I bought this adaptation because I really liked Anne Brontë's novel when I read it some time ago and usually particularly enjoy BBC dramas. But I'm very disappointed, I never thought it would be as bad as that: the whole series made me laugh much more than moved me as the novel had.
First of all, the music (and songs) seems totally out of place in a period drama (sounds as if it's been written for a contemporary horror film)and like another commentator, I was particularly annoyed by the way the cameras spun and spun round the actors. I've seen some scenes filmed that way in "North and South" and it seemed all right there but in The Tenant, it's definitely overdone and simply annoying. Camera movements cannot make wooden acting lively.
Most of the second roles were difficult to distinguish at first and the script lacked clarity. None of the characters were properly introduced at first. The little boy gave a very good performance, he's very cute and the best feature of the film.
SPOILERS Tara Fitzgerald's characterisation of Helen Graham made her appear cold and harsh, letting no emotion pass through. She doesn't seem to be able to cry at all in a realistic way. I just couldn't believe Markham could have fell for her and I'm not mentioning the awful hairdo she was given. I could not help feeling some sympathy with her husband! Fancy being married to such a virago... Besides, he was the only main actor that sounded right to me. Toby Stephens I found just OK, Helen Graham's brother not very good.
Maybe it's difficult to adapt a novel that deals with such bleak subjects as alcoholism and cruelty. Besides, what is only hinted at and left to the reader's imagination in the book is dwelt upon with complaisance in the TV adaptation: making some scenes both gross and comic, (like when Huntingdon's eye starts bleeding) and others far too sexed up for a period drama! I mean, don't we get enough of those bed scenes in contemporary dramas?
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