Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bernard and Doris

Seems this is quite a controversial TV movie and honestly I’m surprised to find how polarized critics and viewers comments are, as I did enjoyed this movie a lot thanks to excellent performances by Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes and all the glamour of the film expressed in grandiose sets, costumes, and wonderful music that totally sets the mood of this two actor, two characters pas-de-deux that mainly explores the dynamics of an unusual relationship between a millionaire heiress and her Irish gay butler.

According to what I read the film is loosely based on real events and does not have the intention to tell what may have happen in reality. As a matter of fact if you’re interested in learning more accurately about the life of Doris Duke and Bernard Lafferty I suggest you see the 1999 TV miniseries “Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke” with Lauren Bacall and Richard Chamberlain which acts more like a biopic than this film.

The film tells about two characters that when they find each other they become like each other’s project and is presented in a great non-sentimental way so there is no melodrama here, you will be able see two people that no matter whatever was going inside their heads found support in each other to have fun and ease their own sad, lonely and troubled lives.

Susan Sarandon may be too young to really represent the last years of Duke and Ralph Fiennes probably does not really look like Lafferty, but the two together develop their characters very well in a complex relationship and in a quite credible way, independently of all the implications that could be driven from the reasons why Duke left a vast part of her state to Lafferty in her will and the reasons why Lafferty was behaving like he did (was it for the money?). Actually you can speculate whatever you wish while seeing the movie, but at one moment you will feel compel to stop and just enjoy the performances as only two out of the ordinary characters having fun and giving each other company.

So, to be succinct, this is a movie that you can enjoy more if you really do not care about the real life people involved in the film and that you will enjoy for the outstanding performances and production values. Besides have to say that I was amazed by Fiennes performance as a gay, insecure, alcoholic and lonely man and when he dresses with Duke’s clothes he looks exactly like many men in drag look, which to me was extremely fun-delicious to watch.

I do recommend this TV drama that I know will amaze you and most of all will entertain you without melodramatics.


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