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Film Review: Bleak House MiniSeries (based on the novel by Charles Dickens)

Updated on August 5, 2012

BBC Bleak House DVD

Bleak House film review (2005)

The story of Bleak House focuses around the court case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce with the characters and plot endeavouring to explore the various faults and failures of the British legal system as emphasised by Dickens throughout the duration of the story. By means of the characters' actions and motives towards one another, we're expored to the malevolent acts of treachery, deceit, secrecy and goodwill, all of which play a critical role in the overall story.

The plot follows the life of Miss Esther Summerson, a young orphan who is taken in by Mr John Jarndyce to whom she feels most grateful and obliged. At the other end of the scale, we're exposed to the fascinations and deceit that are explored through Sir Leicester & Lady Deadlock and Leicester Deadlock's lawyer and advisor - Mr Tulkinghorn.

As the story unfolds, we as an audience bear witness to the events which link the essential characters together, while also exploring the faults and failures of the English justice system and courts as explored through the case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce, where by certain characters are seen to be caught up in the interest of wealth and inheritence at the expense of their own quality of life. Throughout this case, we're able to explore the relationships developed by Esther Summerson and her link between the various characters within the story while also developing a sense of emotion and heartache for Ada Clare & Richard Carstone who get caught up in the troublesome mess of Jarndyce v Jarndyce.

The concluding chapters of the film allow us to explore and appreciate the attutides and nobility of some of the key characters, while also feeling a sense of trouble and deceit as experienced through the feelings of Esthar Summerson and John Jarndyce who experience tragedies and heartache in their own lives through the loss of close friends.

As an overall production, it's 9.5/10 from me. It failed to score a full 10/10 quite simply because some of the plot secrets could be revealed early on in the story through simple deductions by the viewer.


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