Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Forsyte Saga

I mentioned yesterday that I find Damian Lewis rather attractive.  What I was unable to clearly define was how much I absolutely love his acting.  He was fantastic in Band of Brothers, and The Man and I were in awe of him in Life (curse you, NBC, for dropping the ball on that one).  I've been enjoying his new character in Homeland.  We have seen a few of his other parts as well, and liked them too.  I had the opportunity to see him in The Forsyte Saga this weekend on Netflix.

I should add that I'm not usually one to watch these Victorian love story type films.  I much prefer more popcorny blockbusters, not necessarily violent films, but at least some action scenes or a foot chase or something more exciting than watching hedges grow or seeing women spurned for daring to ride a horse astride (or whatever it is they do in Pride and Prejudice--I have so far been able to miss it).

But, knowing Damian Lewis as a fantastic actor, I set out with my trusty Netflix queue and watched all six hour-long first-season episodes this weekend.  The second "season" of four episodes is only available by disc on Netflix (stupid, stupid, stupid), or can be found on YouTube (yay!).  You can figure out how I watched those.

You can read the Wiki about the series here.  I will just continue with my review.

How difficult that role would be to play!  Soames Forsyte must be cruel and heartless for much of the series, yet someone the audience sympathizes with in the end.  He is a good man with good intentions, but he goes about things so incredibly wrong.  It was hard to watch him being mean.  It was hard to see him trying to be nice.  He just isn't a likeable fellow through the whole thing.  The acting was superb.  Lewis walked that fine line perfectly, breaking from Victorian stiffness at just the right moments.  I've seen other reviews that call his portrayal of Soames as flat or dull, but I don't think overacting would have been better.  Lewis was right to act as he did to bring out Soames' true colors, be they for good or evil.

I have now been introduced to Rupert Graves also.  Can I just say wow?  Well done on that end too.

If you like Victorian films or epic miniseries (or crazy love triangles told through overly stiff characters), you'll love The Forsyte Saga.

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