A Labour of Love
Sisters Ursula (Rachael Stirling) and Gudrun Brangwen (Rosamund Pike) have both suffered heartache as Ursula almost married a man who didn't excite her just because she fell pregnant whilst Gudrun finds herself labelled a slut over a night of passion with a married man who leaves her the minute he's finished with her and then leaves his family. But these sisters meet close friends Rupert Birkin (Rory Kinnear) and Gerald Crich (Joseph Mawle).
Okay I am not going to go in to anymore depth than that for two reasons. Firstly those who are most likely to watch "Women in Love" are fans of D. H. Lawrence and who will have read both "The Rainbow" and "Women in Love" which I am informed are interwoven to create this mini-series/ TV movie. I say informed because as not much of a novel reader I have never read either or to be truthful any of D. H. Lawrence's novels. And of course for those who watch because of their love of Lawrence will know the stories already and so don't need to know the ins and outs of this drama about love and relationships.
But then there is the second reason and as someone who watched "Women in Love" having looked at a brief synopsis elsewhere I found it all a bit confusing. That confusion comes because the movie starts off with the look at the lives of the individuals prior to their coming together and what I read did not mention that. And one of the biggest things the synopsis didn't mention is the conflict which Rupert and Gerald feel as Rupert has desires and feelings whilst Gerald battles his own sexual desires. But if your persevere and make it to the 90 minute mark then it all starts to become clear and even a little entertaining as the story becomes more like the synopsis.
Now I have gone on the record before as mentioning I am not a fan of period dramas and truth be told "Women in Love" did nothing to change my mind. Yes the storyline ends up coming good but it felt painfully drawn out as if the dialogue was being held in too higher reverence as being something special. But it was not just the dialogue as some of the "artistic", although to me annoying, camera work and shot framing made it in places unbearable. The experimental camera angles, the use of lens flare, the floating in, out and around only achieved a level of visual inconsistency which personally didn't keep me on my toes but pushed me away.
But the saving grace to all this is that the casting and the performances keep you watching. Now for some it will be the looks of Rachael Stirling and Rosamund Pike which keeps them involved but for me it was the performance of Rory Kinnear who brings to life the confusion, politeness and sexual conflict of Rupert quite masterfully.
What this all boils down to is that "Women in Love" probably is a glorious experience for those who take joy in the works of D. H. Lawrence. But for those who come to it seeking entertainment then the reverence to the dialogue and its drawn out nature makes it hard work.