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Interesting, bizarre, intriguing as well. Events and hardships over time this does tell. Life with all its twists and turns. Is it admirable that her son's love is all this mother yearns?

Set in 1885 in Nottingshire England, the story is set in motion by being a spectator, so to speak, at a local dance where a young lad tries to put on his charms to have a dance with a young, quite timid lass. Sons and Lovers is an adaptation based on the classic novel by D.H. Lawrence. Through the persistence of the young lad, he wins not only a dance but a way into her heart.

Sons and Lovers

Movie
Hugo Spears plays the part of Walter Morel, a coal-miner who, on first glance, was not what he presented himself to be. While courting briefly, we are introduced to the spectacular scenery of the English countryside and one can almost smell the clean air on a beautiful sunny day. What struck me was the clarity of the scenes and you almost felt as if they were actually standing in front of you. After his whirlwind romance with Gertrude, played splendidly by Sarah Lancashire, he turns into a nasty, abusive, drunkard who is only interested in his own selfish pursuits whether in the bedroom or alcoholic intake.

Two years elapse and we find Gertrude expecting their first child only to find out one night over tea with her husband and mother-in-law that Walter does not own theirs or his mother's apartment and he has been neglecting the bills. In addition, and to her surprise, he has been paying his mother's rent and giving her a little bit of money on the side as well. Surprise, surprise, who is this husband before her eyes?

Four years and two children later Gertrude finds herself with another child, to be named Paul, almost due. For the first time, we can share her breakdown as she confesses to her local pastor that she feels like she is just going through the motions of life and feels buried alive. Nothing will ever get better and nothing will ever change. Is she really destined to a life of doom, gloom and despair? I guess you will just have to see for yourself.

One is invited to view the children, William played by  James Murray XIII, Annie played by Keeley Forsyth and Paul played by Rupert Evans II, growing up literally right in front of our very eyes. Despite the financial and emotional hardships, one would think the children overall grow into adulthood quite well. However, it is now through the interactions with Gertrude's sons and lovers that the true test of loyalty and love appear.

Should a mother's love reign supreme over William's and Paul's potential partners? One could initially look and say that Gertrude was just trying to be protective over her sons and their future and to make sure the pattern of their father's abusiveness would not overlap into their lives. How many times have people heard that they are just like their mother or just like their father? I found the subplot about the Gertrude's jealousy and reactions to any of her son's lovers quite intriguing. Just where does protection end and love begin? Can a lover's love ever compare to the love of their mother? Should it? They say love can make a person do strange things. We are certainly shown many examples in Sons and Lovers of how feelings of love certainly gets confused and the resulting behaviours that ensue based on these feelings.

Sons and Lovers

While the initial scenes of the movie were a tad slow, it was only setting up what was yet to come. I particularly enjoyed the pace of Sons and Lovers that followed and how the years saw all the family members age with the times and the hardships they had endured. It was not until the viewer was invited to attend an art gallery presentation of Paul's work that we realize that Gertrude is indeed feeling old while viewing a portrait of her made by Paul.

Lifestyle options and changes were not so readily available as they are today. The film teaches us that the women in particular must have been extremely strong-willed individuals to not only endue the hardships they lived, but survive the mental and emotional ordeals. When it comes down to it, our most basis instinct is to survive. And survive these people did.

Video
Sons and Lovers is presented in 1.85:1 and 16 x 9 enhanced. Overall, the scenes were very good , especially the outdoor scenery. Colouring was clear as well and flesh tones were good. Honestly, with so much going on with the plot (and the subplot) it would be futile to try and pick things wrong with the DVD. I tend to enjoy a DVD for how it presents itself to you. Sons and Lovers makes one have to think about the life and times of those who lived in the late 1800's as well as a woman's place in society. So the transfer overall is generally quite good.

Audio
Presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0, overall the sound is quite good. I was particularly impressed with listening to the sounds of the birds  while in the countryside. I am a particular fan of trains and it makes one feel like they were literally on the platform either waiting for the train to arrive or seeing it depart. The music, by Colin Towers was outstanding. The placing of the various scores as well as how it particularly fit into a scene was very good. Nothing special, which is as expected from a 2.0 mix, but it does the job quite well.

Extras
Provided in the extras section is a D.H Lawrence Biography and Book List, Production Notes,  and Cast Filmographies. Personally, I did not feel that this added to Sons and Lovers. Reading through pages of text while viewing a DVD isn‘t all that appealing and there could have been so many other extras that I would have liked to see. Perhaps a further explanation of the time period, its clothing and what money actually purchased in the late 1880's, for instance. Also, even though this adaptation was based on a classic novel, viewers seemingly like to see bloopers and hear from the actors themselves about what was interesting or unique in making the film. Sadly, there’s nothing of the sort on this release.

Sons and Lovers

Overall
While this might not be a movie for all, I enjoyed the adaptation of Sons and Lovers. D.H. Lawrence novels are known for their love, passion and relationships. Gertrude, in my opinion, was a strong women who, despite her life, focused her attentions and her children's futures. Seemingly she was misguided in her feelings and behaviours with her sons and her daughter's life was pretty insignificant compared to that of her sons. It seems the more she tried to ensure they would not turn out like their father, the more she reaffirmed they would turn out exactly like their father. One also ponders the fact of what their lives would have been if the father had been killed in the mining accident. Would they have been better off? Life sometimes does not always turn out the way one might expect.

Sons and Lovers, if nothing else, could possibly make us feel a little bit better about our own lives and choices that are available to us all. In turn, we could also take a lesson from Gertrude that no matter how desperate life is and no matter how many obstacles and hardships we encounter along the way, we will always survive.


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