The Black Velvet Gown

Watch The Black Velvet Gown

  • TV-14
  • 1991
  • 1 hr 43 min
  • 6.9  (643)

In the movie The Black Velvet Gown from 1991, based on the novel by Catherine Cookson, directed by Norman Stone and starring Bob Peck, Janet McTeer, and Geraldine Somerville, we are taken to rural England in the 1830s, where life is tough and dominated by the wealthy landowners. It is a world of poverty, struggle, and hardship, where people are born, live, and die in the same place, and where opportunities for advancement are scarce.

Our protagonist, Riah Millican (Janet McTeer), is a young widow, struggling to make ends meet and provide for herself and her two children after the death of her abusive husband. She is a determined and resourceful woman, and when she is offered a job by the wealthy but eccentric landowner Percival Miller (Bob Peck), she jumps at the chance, despite the reservations of her family and friends.

Miller is a man with a reputation for being a recluse and a misanthrope, but Riah soon discovers that he is also a man with a passion for the written word and a deep intelligence that has gone unacknowledged by the society he despises. He offers Riah a position as his personal assistant, helping him to write his memoirs and assisting him in his private library. Soon Riah becomes more than an employee, as she and Miller develop a deep and complex relationship that defies social conventions and expectations.

As Riah becomes more comfortable in her new position, she becomes aware of the dark secrets that Miller is hiding, including the plight of his daughter Biddy (Geraldine Somerville), who has been imprisoned in an insane asylum for years. Riah becomes determined to set her free, leading her on a dangerous journey that threatens everything she has worked for and puts her in conflict with the powerful landowners that control the area.

The Black Velvet Gown is a tender, romantic drama that explores themes of love, class, and social injustice in a bygone era. The story is beautifully shot, with stunning landscapes and costumes that transport the viewer to another time and place. The performances are exceptional, with McTeer breathing life into a strong, sympathetic character and Peck bringing a depth of emotion to a complicated and often unlikeable character.

The relationship between Riah and Miller is complex and nuanced, evolving over time as the two protagonists struggle with their feelings for each other and the constraints of society. Their relationship is not just romantic but intellectual, as they engage in deep conversations about literature and philosophy, challenging each other's beliefs and developing a deep mutual respect and understanding.

The supporting characters are also well-drawn, with Somerville giving a heartbreaking performance as Biddy, the forgotten daughter trapped in a cruel and inhumane system. The relationship between Biddy and Riah is also touching and beautifully portrayed, as Riah becomes a mother figure to the fragile and damaged young woman.

The Black Velvet Gown is a story of love, loss, and redemption that will linger with the viewer long after the credits have rolled. It is a reminder of the struggles of the past and the ongoing fight for human rights and social justice, a story that reminds us that the power of love and determination can overcome even the darkest of circumstances.

The Black Velvet Gown is a 1991 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 43 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.

Where to Watch The Black Velvet Gown
The Black Velvet Gown is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Amazon Prime. Some platforms allow you to rent The Black Velvet Gown for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 43 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (643)