Top positive review
TELEVISION MINI SERIES NIRVANA
July 31, 2017
What can I say about this TV classic that has not already been written and said in the 35 years since it first aired? I watched it in my late teens/ early 20's in 1981 and I was deeply impressed even then.But now, many years later in middle age I purchased the DVD for another viewing and I am stunned, heartbroken and more moved than I have ever been by a TV mini-series. I could not not have possibly cast this series more perfectly. Anthony Andrews as Sebastien deserves all the praise he received and then some, Diana Quick's Julia was almost too beautiful and elegant, and for years past and years to come I am haunted by Jeremy Iron's incomparable voice.."....vanity, vanity...all is vanity...". I would pay to listen to that guy read the menu at the local McDonald's. How I LOVED him in the role of Charles Ryder.
I understand that many viewers found John Gielgud as Edward Ryder to be funniest, but for me it was Nickolas Grace as Antony Blanche(I laughed so hard at his vicious, acerbic wit in one particular scene I got a muscle spasm) and the legendary Sir Laurence Olivier's Emmy winning Lord Marchmain. His death bed take down of "that uncouth couple"-meaning his soon to be disinherited oldest son Brideshead and "Bridey's" beloved Beryl Muspratt has been rewound and replayed on my DVD so many times I am terrified of damaging the disk. Priceless, priceless!
I will probably regret admitting this but as a practicing, believing member of the Roman Catholic Church the farewell scene between Charles and Julia on the staircase at Brideshead left me confused, heartbroken and angry all at once. I am to understand that because of tragic mistakes made when lonely and in search of real love, the decision was made that the only way to appease an all loving God was deny themselves a good life together?One that probably would have resulted in children and in Charles' eventual conversion anyway? Julia and Charles' relationship was probably the healthiest one either of them had ever experienced in their lives, but Julia was convinced that God demanded that the only way He might be appeased for her youthful, misguided decision to turn from the teachings of the Church was to renounce her vocation as a wife and a mother forever?
The ending broke my heart and frustrated me beyond words, but that has not stopped me from re-watching this unbelievable series at least 7 times in the last month alone..as if by some miracle the ending might change. The fact that something so special ever came out of television is itself a miracle.
If you have never seen this series, run don't walk to purchase it.
And don't by any means watch the movie re-make first.It's not even in the same league or the same universe for that matter..just trust me!