The Woodlanders

Watch The Woodlanders

"A Timeless Tale of Passion and Desire."
  • PG
  • 1997
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 6.2  (734)

The Woodlanders is a romantic drama film released in 1997, directed by Phil Agland and starring Emily Woof, Rufus Sewell, and Cal MacAninch. Based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Hardy, the film tells the romantic story of Grace Melbury (Woof), a woman caught between two men in a rural English town. The story begins with Grace returning to her hometown of Little Hintock after being educated in the city for several years. Upon her return, she is beloved by the town's young men, including woodsman Giles Winterbourne (Sewell) and wealthy doctor Edred Fitzpiers (MacAninch). Grace is betrothed to Giles since childhood, and that love remains firm, but she is also intrigued by the charm and sophistication of Fitzpiers.

As the story progresses, Grace becomes more attracted to Fitzpiers while Giles helps her father, who is losing his sight, by managing their woods. Fitzpiers' marriage to local heiress Felice Charmond (Jodhi May) does not prevent him from pursuing Grace, and soon he goes further by making advances toward her.

The conflict between Giles and Fitzpiers escalates as each man attempts to win Grace's heart. Giles is depicted as rustic and unrefined, while Fitzpiers is cultured and sophisticated, making himself a strong contender to win Grace. But the character flaws of Fitzpiers are revealed as his obsession with Grace deepens, and he begins to neglect his wife and his medical practice.

The movie is set in a bucolic world where the beauty of nature stands in sharp contrast to the human passions it contains - not just between the protagonists but also in the lives of other villagers, who are often not fully aware of the goings-on within the town. The film artfully captures the beauty of the rural English countryside, where the human and the natural worlds exist in a delicate balance.

The Woodlanders is a tale of love, betrayal, and the clash of interests in Victorian England, where class and education define one's social position. It contrasts the idealized world of childhood love against the complexities of adult relationships, where one's desires and ambitions can lead to heartbreak and tragedy.

The film is notable for its strong performances, especially by Emily Woof, who brings depth and complexity to her character. Rufus Sewell, as the woodsman Giles, gives a nuanced portrayal of a passionate man struggling with the changing world around him. Meanwhile, Cal MacAninch’s performance as the ambitious doctor is understated, making it all the more chilling when he reveals his darker side.

The movie's cinematography and the picturesque location make it a feast for the eyes. The film transports viewers into a world where time seems to stand still - an idyllic countryside with its winding lanes, charming cottages, and flourishing greenery.

Overall, The Woodlanders is a beautifully crafted period drama that offers a poignant exploration of love and its many complications. It is a must-see for fans of classic literature, historical romance and period dramas, and anyone seeking a thought-provoking film with a striking visual style.

The Woodlanders
The Woodlanders doesn't appear to be available from any streaming services.
Add this movie to your Watchlist to get notified when it's available.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (734)