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Fingersmith (2005)

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Elaine Cassidy, Rupert Evans, more...
Director: Aisling Walsh
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Acorn Media
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Gay & Lesbian, UK, Features
Running Time: 180 min.
    see additional details...

Two women from different worlds are brought together by strange circumstances and forbidden desires in this period-drama. Sue Trinder (Sally Hawkins) was left on her own as a young child when her parents died, and she was forced to fend for herself, living on the street in the company of thieves and confidence men. Sue is given a chance to reform when she's taken in by Mrs. Sucksby (Imelda Staunton), who wants to keep her off the streets, but Sucksby's friend Richard Rivers (Rupert Evans) is familiar with Sue's old circle and lures her into an elaborate criminal scheme. Sue is to get a job as a maid to Maud Lilly (Elaine Cassidy), a young woman who lives with her uncle (Charles Dance) and will claim a large family inheritance when she marries. Sue's role is to act as confidante to Maud, so when Richard attempts to court her, Sue will help convince the young heiress that marrying Richard is the right thing to do. Richard's scheme is to marry Maud, have her sanity called into question, and then take possession of her fortune after she's committed to an asylum, but as Sue becomes close friends with Maud, she begins to wonder if she has the nerve to go through with the plan, especially when her feelings for Maud begin to extend beyond just friendship. As Sue's choice becomes nearly unbearable, fate steps in and she discovers all is not as she'd been led to believe. Fingersmith was produced for the BBC, where it first aired in the spring of 2005. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Suspenseful--for a While by talltale March 7, 2006 - 7:47 PM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
A cracking good mystery complete with lesbian lovers (from the days when a certain queen who shall be nameless said this sort of thing did not exist), FINGERSMITH is like Masterpiece Theatre complete with pornographic drawings and outlaw sex. Featuring two excellent lesser-known leading ladies--Sally Hawkins ("Layer Cake") and Elaine Cassidy ("Felicia's Journey")--the film also boasts Imelda Staunton, giving another of her wonderful performances, and Charles Dance, who is relatively one-note (but that's due to the script).

There's a wallop of a surprise midway, after which this 3-hour British TV film begins to lessen in interest, due to not terribly believable plotting plus a little too much of the look and feel of TV. It never loses you completely, however, and so--with the fillip of a believable and somewhat touching lesbian romance--is quite worth the watch.

'Sucksby' ain't just the name of a character in this one! by KLocher December 2, 2005 - 9:56 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Fingersmith is just too overwrought. The thicket-like plot is full of elements that serve only to take the viewer out of the movie rather than engage them smoothly into the story. The characters are not really sympathetic, and they are always shaking and stage-whispering with wild-eyed emotion. Ok, I can take this for a few scenes of particular intensity, but use it too much, Ms. Director, and I become immune and wind up just wanting them to I felt like I was in the middle of a MFA thesis written by someone with a BA in women's studies and no editor. It was just strange and bleak and made me want to take a shower afterwards. I guess it was originally a mini-series, but it would have been much more effective with a 5 minute flashback sequence and a 10 minute resolution at the end, and some editing in the middle, rather than a whole second episode. oy. I'm still smarting from spending my evening on this thing.

Great lesbian costume drama! by LSteele August 27, 2005 - 12:55 PM PDT
9 out of 10 members found this review helpful
I heartily recommend this film to anyone who loves lesbian romances or BBC costume dramas (or both). This depicts one of the most compelling lesbian relationships I have seen in cinema; so often, lesbian sex scenes are silly and unreal, but the eroticism in this film is unforced and much more realistic. Moreover, I grew up with the BBC and find it very gratifying to see a Dickensian tale spun with lesbian characters. The acting is excellent, featuring Imelda Staunton as well as the two up-and-coming leads, Elaine Cassidy and Sally Hawkins. It's not surprising that the 2005 BBC adaptation is so good, considering it's based on an excellent novel by Sarah Waters (of "Tipping the Velvet" fame). Rent this along with "Tipping," and have a compare-and-contrast Victorian lesbian costume-drama extravaganza!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.33)
39 Votes
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