- 3 hr 10 min
Tess is a 1979 film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel, Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The film tells the story of a beautiful, innocent young woman named Tess Durbeyfield (Nastassja Kinski) who, after the death of her father, is sent to work for distant relatives in the countryside. There, she meets and falls in love with Angel Clare (Peter Firth), a gentleman who is studying to be a preacher. However, Tess's tragic past comes back to haunt her and threatens to destroy the life she has built with Angel. The film is beautifully shot, with sweeping landscapes and stunning scenery that capture the beauty of the English countryside. Director Roman Polanski has a talent for creating visually rich films that are both moody and atmospheric. And in Tess, he does not disappoint. The film's opening shot of the sun rising over the landscape is particularly memorable, setting the tone for what is to come. The performance of Nastassja Kinski is outstanding. She perfectly captures the innocence and vulnerability of Tess, making her feel very relatable and sympathetic. Kinski's performance is aided by the excellent costume design, which gives Tess a very earthy and natural look that perfectly fits the character. Peter Firth is also excellent as Angel Clare. He perfectly captures the idealism of the character and makes him feel very human and relatable. Their chemistry is palpable, and their love story is one that is both moving and tragic. Leigh Lawson also deserves praise for his portrayal of Alec d'Urberville, the man responsible for Tess's tragic past. He is sly and manipulative, and his presence in the film is always felt even when he is not on screen. The film's themes of love, betrayal, and class struggle are still relevant today. Tess comes from a working-class family and is forced to work for wealthy relatives who do not treat her well. She falls in love with a man who comes from a higher class and struggles to fit in with his group of friends. And throughout the film, Tess is constantly reminded of her inferior status, which eventually leads to her downfall. Perhaps the most powerful theme of the film is the way it portrays the double standards of Victorian society. Men are allowed to be sexual beings and have affairs without much consequence, while women are punished severely for the same behavior. Tess's tragic fate is the result of her society's moralistic and puritanical attitudes towards women. Overall, Tess is a beautifully made film that is both haunting and tragic. The film's stunning cinematography and excellent performances from the cast make for a truly unforgettable experience. Fans of period dramas and romantic tragedies will not be disappointed.