John Fowles's bestselling 1969 novel, seemingly too rich and complex to be filmed, was brought to the screen in 1981 by eminent British playwright Harold Pinter and Czech director Karel Reisz. Pinter chose a parallel plot device to approximate the novel's self-consciousness: We see the story of two Victoria era lovers, and alongside it, the modern-day actors who are filming a movie about them. In the 19th-century, young gentleman Charles Smithson is engaged to marry pleasant but somewhat shallow Ernestina, but he becomes fascinated with "fallen woman" Sarah Woodruff. She runs away from him after their brief but passionate affair, which destroys his previous plans. Mike and Anna, the contemporary actors, are married to other people but have an affair during the film project. The story is perhaps too multilayered and cerebral to please the average American moviegoer, but the actors work hard (this was Americans' first good look at Irons), and the location settings -- especially lovely Lyme Regis in Dorset, where Fowles set the story and has lived most of his professional life -- are gorgeous.
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The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus