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      Tess

      PG Released Oct 25, 1979 2h 50m Drama List
      81% Tomatometer 77 Reviews 77% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings In Roman Polanski's take on "Tess of the D'Urbervilles," impressionable young Tess (Nastassja Kinski) is sent by her alcoholic father to visit her rich relatives and apply for a job. She's taken in and immediately seduced by her cousin, Alec (Leigh Lawson), who leaves her pregnant. She keeps it to herself and, after the child dies, begins a relationship with a respectable farmer, Angel (Peter Firth). They marry, but when Angel learns of her speckled past, he's not sure he can live with it. Read More Read Less

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      Tess

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      Critics Consensus

      A reverent adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel, Tess marries painterly cinematography and unhurried pacing to create an epic ode to perseverance.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Judith Martin Washington Post This is cinematography at its best -- film used to present a view, in motion, of a reality that has been artistically ordered to reveal a greater-that-literal essence. Jun 17, 2022 Full Review Gary Arnold Washington Post Watching this long, placid maddeningly subdued movie, you can't help wondering what became of Hardy's stark chronicle of crimes of passion. Jun 17, 2022 Full Review Richard Schickel TIME Magazine One emerges from [Roman Polanski's] endless version of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles with a sense that one could have read the book in a shorter span and had more fun too. Jun 17, 2022 Full Review Scott Sublett Washington Blade It does not shout and it does not speed; it rolls along effortlessly, at an even rate, like a country brook, and when it ends one wishes for more. Jun 17, 2022 Full Review Jasper Rees The Arts Desk The triumph of Tess is in the yoking of remorseless Hardian sadism to the natural photogenic allure of both Kinski and her surroundings (not to mention Anthony Powell’s gorgeous costumes). Rated: 5/5 Jun 17, 2022 Full Review Stephen Schiff Boston Phoenix It's not art at all. It's art-like. Tess feeds on a sort of romanticized self-pity. If indeed Polanski sees himself mirrored in Tess's story, it's not as the resilient, sensual, quietly outraged character that Hardy imagined, but as a victim. Jun 17, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Robert W I was shocked to see this movie get an 81% rating. We found it tedious, the plot, ridiculous, and judging from what I've read about the book it veered away from the original Hardy version. I was sorry to have had to pay to rent it. We only finished it because we paid for it. We loved the Mayor of Casterbridge And watched this with the same expectation. The heroine's shy withdrawn personality, made her uninteresting and unsympathetic. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 04/09/24 Full Review Frances H Although the cinematography is excellent, Kinski's acting is far from being emotive. Watch the Masterpiece Theater version. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/15/24 Full Review Alec B This could easily have become a repetitive series of depressing events (which it almost does), but Polanski finds interesting themes among the misery and visual beauty in almost every scene (I think this film is tied with "Days of Heaven" for best use of the Golden Hour). Nastassja Kinski's performance has just the right blend of naivety and mystery for this role. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 11/10/23 Full Review Kyle E Tess had a lot going for it, a wonderful book and a director that was responsible for masterpieces like Chinatown, Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby. Tess didn't quite live up to the promising potential it did have and I don't consider it one of Polanski's masterpieces. However it is a commendable film and adaptation(even if I do prefer the 2008 BBC series) and better on re-watch than when I saw it a couple of years back and didn't care at all for it. The film is overlong, and while the pace is purposeful considering the book's complexity there are times where it does get a bit too languid. On the other hand, visually it is stunning with evocative scenery and photography. The music is also resolutely haunting, the scripting thought-provoking and literate and the story having its necessary pathos as well as being devastating and powerful in equal measure. The denouncement with Stonehenge as the backdrop is just stunning. The characters are not as complex as in the book or the series but are still interesting and emphatic. Nastassja Kinski does have moments where she is a little flat, but on the whole it is a very moving performance. Peter Firth is suitably subtle as Angel Clare and Leigh Lawson's menacing Alec comes close to stealing the film. Polanski's direction is exemplary. All in all, has much to admire but falls flat of being a truly outstanding movie. 7/10 Bethany Cox Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 12/10/22 Full Review dave s Based on the Thomas Hardy novel Tess of the d'Uberville's, Roman Polanski's adaptation proves to be unlike anything Polanski has ever tackled, an ambitious period piece set in late 19th century England, filled with complex themes and characters. Nastassja Kinski plays Tess, a young working-class girl with subtle aspirations of a better life, aspirations that ultimately lead to betrayal, deception and murder. Tess is Polanski's most visually stunning and artistic film, featuring beautiful cinematography, subtle performances, remarkable period details, and a languid pace that will mesmerize attentive viewers. On the down side, while Kinski is luminous to look at in the lead role, her bizarre attempt at a British accent can be distracting at times and the music score often feels like it overwhelms the phenomenal visuals. Despite this, Tess is a masterpiece that makes its faults easy to overlook. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member The greatest 02 hours: and 50 minutes ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Tess

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis In Roman Polanski's take on "Tess of the D'Urbervilles," impressionable young Tess (Nastassja Kinski) is sent by her alcoholic father to visit her rich relatives and apply for a job. She's taken in and immediately seduced by her cousin, Alec (Leigh Lawson), who leaves her pregnant. She keeps it to herself and, after the child dies, begins a relationship with a respectable farmer, Angel (Peter Firth). They marry, but when Angel learns of her speckled past, he's not sure he can live with it.
      Director
      Roman Polanski
      Producer
      Claude Berri
      Screenwriter
      Gérard Brach, Roman Polanski, John Brownjohn
      Distributor
      Columbia Pictures
      Production Co
      Burrill Productions
      Rating
      PG
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Oct 25, 1979, Wide
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jan 19, 2017
      Runtime
      2h 50m
      Sound Mix
      Surround
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