Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA/United Kingdom, 1995. Touchstone Pictures, Merchant Ivory Productions, Peregrine Productions. Screenplay by Christopher Neame, based on the novel by H.E. Bates. Cinematography by Peter Sova. Produced by Henry Herbert, Christopher Neame. Music by Zbigniew Preisner. Production Design by Christopher Robilliard. Costume Design by Phoebe De Gaye. Film Editing by Chris Wimble.
Monumentally depressing Merchant Ivory drama about a mysterious stranger (Embeth Davidtz) who wanders into a small English village nine months pregnant and not a shade of a ring on her finger. A farming family take her in and take care of her after her baby is born, having no idea what mess of trouble they’ll get themselves into when one of their sons (Ben Chaplin) falls madly in love with the young woman. The trouble starts when the newborn baby’s charlatan father arrives, intending on winning back his conquered lady. Based on the novella by H.E. Bates, this is a somber and rich film that climaxes at the beautifully shot titular harvest feast scene, but is so very sad that I must warn audiences not to proceed too hastily in watching it unless they are well prepared.