Trishna film review: Tess Of The Dull-bervilles

Tess Of The Dull-bervilles

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UPDATED:

01:28 GMT, 9 March 2012

Trishna (15)

Verdict: Insufficiently Hardy

This offers welcome evidence that Freida Pinto, the beauty who starred in Slumdog Millionaire, can act. Unfortunately, until the climax she has an exceptionally passive role.

Based on Tess Of The D’Urbervilles – but transplanted to modern India – this is Michael Winterbottom’s third adaptation of a Thomas Hardy novel.

Frieda Pinto plays the title character, in this adaption of Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Frieda Pinto plays the title character, in this adaption of Tess of the D'Urbervilles

But I fear it’s too slow, miserable and unexciting to make an impact on the box office.

Both novel and film are about the corrupting influence of class on relationships between man and woman.

Pinto gives a charmingly nuanced performance as the young peasant woman who realises she is first being given a chance to better herself, but ultimately is reduced to a rich man’s plaything.

Riz Ahmed struggles to reconcile the romantic and chauvinistic elements of his character, as a rich young Indian running his family’s hotels. The sparsity of back story and glossing over of cultural influences means he feels underwritten.

The film offers an interesting contrast to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but while texture and local atmosphere are all very well, I wish Winterbottom had speeded up the plot and delved deeper into the characters.