I stayed up half the night watching the first three quarters of “Middlemarch,” and finishing it up was first on my priority list this morning. It was that good.
It took me a few minutes to get into the story. Rather than following one family or one set of friends, the film takes us into the lives of several families and I didn’t get the threads gathered together for about twenty minutes. From then on, though, I was completely hooked.
Middlemarch is a small English town essentially run by its banker, Mr. Bulstrode. When the new doctor, Mr. Lidgate, comes to town, Mr. Bulstrode takes him aside and tells him that things will go much easier for him if he just does as he’s told. Lidgate is an idealist, full of dreams about his future. He wants to really do some good in the world, find ways to prevent and cure fevers, and Mr. Bulstrode has funded a new hospital primarily for the doctor’s research. But soon word gets around town that Lidgate is in Bulstrode’s pocket, and in the end, this alliance proves bad for both of them.
We go now to the home of Mr. Brooke, a bachelor who raised his two orphaned nieces. The oldest is Dorothea (pictured) a good-hearted, lovely young woman who wants to use her wealth to ease the suffering of others. The younger is Celia, also good-hearted but somewhat more simple and concerned with her own wants and needs. Dorothea has caught the eye of several young men, but it’s not until she meets Mr. Casaubon, a man several years older than herself and completely obsessed with research, that she decides to marry. He appeals to her higher notions of what life should be like, and her greatest wish is to help him with his research, but after they are married, he shuts her out, refusing to allow her to help him or even be involved in his work. She continues to believe in him, even though her marriage is nothing like she’d hoped.
These are the two major threads in the plot, although there are several others. We see Dr. Lidgate fall head over heels in love with a beautiful but silly girl who leads to his disgrace, and yet he never blames her for it. We see Dorothea continue to dream of a better life and a higher standard of living, until she is finally able to pursue the course she’s always wanted. We see others make mistakes and learn from them, while others, unfortunately, don’t learn from them.
This movie is rather along the lines of “Pride and Prejudice,” although in “Middlemarch,” the characters do actually kiss when they fall in love. I just ordered my own copy from Amazon. For those of you subscribed to Netflix, you can watch this film free on your computer.
Return to the Neighborhood.
And while you're there, subscribe to the yourLDSneighborhood.com Newsletter.
In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the newsletter brings you articles, products, services, resources and interviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.