Lady Chatterley's Lover 2022
"We've Got to Live, No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen"
Lorre de Clairmont Tonnere's incandescent adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover could just be the drama and book we all need to tear up our lives as we fast approach the end of another tumultuous year. And no dearest reader, I am not recommending it for the brave, honest, joyful, tender and life-affirming scenes of sexual love, desire and tenderness.
While Lawrence wanted to liberate us all from shame and awkwardness about sex, which he does brilliantly, there is far more to Lady Chatterley than a sexual revolution.
Lawrence's brave, glorious book also poses a question and warning. The book opens during and after the senseless carnage of the first world war. Ours is a tragic age, he says and then he goes on to discuss the grim and dirty pursuit of getting on whether you are a miner, a teacher or an aristocrat turned industrialist. Lady C is a profound rejection of the industrial age and a turning away from the glitter and allure of getting on, of money, success and wanting things as a result of endless striving and toil, while human contact, humanity and kindness our sacrificed along with our connection to nature.
What is remarkable is that Lawrence put forward his ideas in 1928, almost a century before the crisis we are facing now.
I wonder what the author would make of our slave culture to the internet and being connected 24/7?
When dear reader, did you last take off all your clothes and run around in the rain, make love in the woods or on a beach after the tourist hordes have departed? DH Lawrence and his glorious Lady Chatterley and Oliver Mellors make me want to do that.
Watching Lorre de Clermont-Tonnerre's elegiac, fiercely feminine adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover on Netflix this week with Emma Corrin, as its compelling crimson-gowned heroine falling madly for Jack O'Connell's quiet, bookish, noble savage, I declare Lawrence is a genius. A brave agent provocateur who is here to remind us of our place in the natural world and how important it is to our psyche, our well-being and our very survival.
That it is beauty and human companionship and that bright flame that makes us happy not consumerism, chasing success and 'the bitch goddess'.
But wait a moment - DH Lawrence unleashed his book in 1928, almost a century ago and yet it seems we have learned nothing.
What a mess the world is in right now from wars to corporate greed and the exhausted state of the planet. Perhaps it is time for all of us to get back to the woods and discover the delight of larking in bright pools and getting dirty!
While the Laurentian purists complain that Lawrence's profoundly complex, clever and remarkable ideas have been homogenised, and the sexual language reduced to one or two meagre FUCKS, that is true. But the book would be tough to film in all its endless dissection of orgasms, orgasms, orgasms, feelings and the 'Bitch Goddess' money, success and the pursuit of consumerism.
What De Tonnere has done is strip away a lot of the rhetoric and focus on the love story and class conflict at the heart of Lady Chatterley, giving it a bright, modern edge and a more hopeful denouement. I would like to think that this sensitive and authentic dramatisation will inspire many people to read or listen to DH Lawrence for the first time and discuss the man who imagined the sexual revolution thirty years before it finally could not be contained a moment longer by outdated social mores and the hypocrisy of the establishment.
So let's talk about this version of Lady Chatterley.
Firstly, I like Emma Corrin's Constance Reid. The actor has a rare, lovely vivacity about her and an ability to thoroughly inhabit the characters she plays from the young Diana taking dead aim at her prince as she pirouettes coquettishly across the hall at Althorp to the quiet school teacher who exacts a terrible revenge on her husband's lover in My Policeman. Here she captures the Edwardian age and what it is like to be young, to be a bright young thing, to be in love ( or to think you are) and on the cusp of everything.
Only to have the sky really fall in.
What is really interesting is how the writer, director and Corrin have made Connie more self-assured and so much more like a modern heroine for a 21st Century audience. Corrin plays Lady Chatterley with a steely sense of self-determination.
Of course, class and her station in life mean that it has to be Connie who makes the first move with Mellors. But even so, Corrin gives Connie a sort of brilliance and daring independence .... whether she is running out into the rain to celebrate the joy of being alive or wearing bold colours to mirror her personality and social status as the wife of a baronet and intellectual.
Now let's talk about Jack O'Connell. It's exciting to see him star in a period drama.
I don't want to see him play another bad boy delinquent. I want to hear him explore Lawrence's ideas about class, the industrial revolution, getting on and war.
O'Connell was made to play Mellors. He is gentle, sardonic and convincing as the brightest boy in the village who rose above his social station to become a Lieutenant in the army, only to reject capitalism and abandon the idea of getting on, to take a job as Clifford's gamekeeper, in order to avoid people, until he meets a woman he cannot ignore.
Notice how striking and elegant his clothes are. Emma Cryer dresses him in a distinctive shade of blue field clothing, rather than brown, to set Mellors apart from Clifford in his buttoned-up formal suits.
Oh, and hats off to Cryer for her stunning contemporary interpretation of how Lady Chatterley would dress now. How I want to dress in scarlet and purple velvet and silk and those all-important sashes!
Emma Corrin's rich, colourful gowns, inspired by the arts and crafts movement are as interesting and arresting as her predicament. Isolated and marooned, we see Constance dressed in achingly pretty gowns chosen by costume designer Emma Fryer from flower-power maxi dresses to rich, dark burgundy and scarlet, which perfectly mirror our heroine's half-virginal state, the awfulness of being hidden away far from the London social whirl and her longing to live and for something to happen.
When Connie impetuously flees her husband's dinner party and stalks out into the night in red velvet it is clear there will be orgasmic happenings in the woods!
Connie is beautiful and privileged and yet utterly trapped in a lifeless marriage to a man who has grown cold, selfish and cruel as he vents the tragedy of his war accident on his wife, by treating her as his carer until she is close to collapse.
Ironically, it is Clifford who pushes Connie towards Oliver Mellors by dropping a bomb into his unhappy marriage. He tells her that they need an heir, and as he is paralysed from the hips down, he is happy for her to become pregnant discreetly by another man. What a mistake to suggest that sex will be just like a trip to the dentist!
The writing really gets to the heart of Connie's unhappiness, her growing distaste for her husband's cruelty to the miners and how she unfurls and opens up to Mellors as he shows her the beauty of co-existing simply with nature. The scene where she holds the pheasant chick and is overcome with pent-up longing, trauma and desire is heartbreaking and authentic.
"So that is how it has been," says Mellors, with kindness and compassion.
Lady Chatterley's Lover is a meditation on class, on love lost and found, on the importance of nature in our lives and a manual on what we need to be happy and whole both mentally and physically.
The book is full of profound ideas and passages and contains one of the very finest descriptions of sexual ecstasy - no wonder it was banned and was only truly unleashed after the celebrated obscenity trial in 1960 when DH Lawrence's revolutionary novel could finally be set free and is published by Penguin Books. I will go and dance in the woods and celebrate DH Lawrence - a man who celebrates a woman's power and the transformative power of love.
Lady Chatterley's Lover 2022 is on Netflix
Listen to the full book on Audible, it's wonderful, especially on a winter's eve by a real fire.
Harry and Meghan - Brexit and The Collision of Class and Racism within the 1,000-Year System of the British Monarchy
This is the first look at Part 1 - Episodes 1-3.
Special in-depth opinion piece coming next week.
When Harry Met Meghan
What are the chances of a blue-blooded British prince going on a blind date in London's Soho, with a brainy, self-made Hollywood actress and UN activist and falling madly in love? This is the story of what happened when Prince Harry met Meghan Markle, the bi-racial star of Suits, in July 2016 - and fell in love with a woman he truly liked and admired. Harry's eyes light up as he describes his wife as having the same spirit and sense of compassion and philanthropy as his late mother Princess Diana.
Many people won't like this documentary. The director is the Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus. Garbus won international acclaim for her documentaries - The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, The Farm: Angola and Bobby Fisher Against the World.
Now she delivers the story of Harry and Meghan - The Royal renegades with a compelling mix of fly-on-the-wall intimacy, historical footage and academic comment. It's hot stuff.
Watch Harry with Meghan. It is clear that he is crazy about his wife. Harry has done the unthinkable within the institution of monarchy and dared to marry for love.
The announcement of the engagement seemed like a watershed moment for the monarchy. Meghan offered the monarchy a brilliant way to reflect how Britain and the world really look. Markle was a self-made, bi-racial woman, a UN spokeswoman on female empowerment and a born humanitarian.
Harry and Meghan were great for the royal family, but the tabloids didn't agree. Within days, they ran their vicious and blatantly racist headline that Harry's girl was ' straight out of Compton.'
Compton is a poor, predominantly black area of LA, troubled by deprivation, crime and social unrest. Meghan has never been to Compton.
Unfortunately, the timing of Harry's engagement to Meghan came in the wake of the social carnage of Brexit and the xenophobia unleashed by the rise of the right.
The tabloids were emboldened to unleash a tidal wave of abuse towards Meghan which was racist, cruel and ridiculous.
As Meghan states, it didn't matter how good she was or how popular she was with members of the general public, the hate continued in the press and via an increasingly terrifying side of cyberbullying. Under constant attack, she became suicidal. For Prince Harry, it was history repeating itself. As a young boy, he witnessed how his mother had to deal with relentless harassment from the paparazzi and how she cried before public appearances with his father.
Harry says he didn't do enough soon enough to protect his wife. But in the end, he was decisive and the announcement came that the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk were resigning from their royal duties and moving to California.
The losers here are not Prince Harry and Meghan. The royal family will come to regret not standing up to the tabloid press and embracing the couple and handing them the baton to transform the idea of the Commonwealth and make it relevant, fair and inspirational for the 21st Century and not an outdated legacy from Britain's imperial past.
Meghan Markle is a girl in a million. She's intelligent, accomplished and a born orator. Harry said he found his 'needle in a haystack' but the tabloids just wouldn't play along and accept a mixed-race princess. Instead, they attacked her in every which they could from the way she stroked her baby bump to the idea that she was 'princess pushy' - which really means she was too smart, too capable, to American and had opinions for once!
The documentary is a mix of candid interviews with Harry and Meghan, behind-the-scenes footage of their courtship interwoven with interviews with their friends and the people who had to protect the couple from the tidal wave of media intrusion, death threats and increasingly dark side of social media. Gravitas and comment are provided by interviews with academics and commentators specialising in monarchy, history, race and culture.
I admire Meghan Markle. She had made a success of her life as a leading actor and activist before she met Prince Harry and she achieved that through talent, sheer determination, discipline and self-belief not a regal spoon.
Isn't it time to cheer her on?
Harry and Meghan Part 1 and 2 is Streaming on Netflix
What Makes Us Human - BBC Sounds
Brenda Hale, Baroness of Richmond - The UK's First Woman President of the Supreme Court of Justice Wows us with Her Idea of a Grand Day Out and Reveals all About that Spider Brooch!
This is a podcast to listen to on a winter's evening or maybe a Sunday, after lunch. What a fascinating polymath Lady Hale is. She's the judge who became the first woman to hold the office of President of the Supreme Court of Justice in the UK. She's the ' swotty girl' with a heady mixture of warmth, fun and formidable intellect. Here she talks to Jeremy Vine about family, and her life as a trailblazer for women in the law and suggests that it is our ability to enjoy ourselves that is what makes us human. After flexing that razor-sharp brain on Jeremy, she relaxes and suddenly becomes a delightful, latterday Sheherazade and takes the listener on some of her 'grand days out' in Swaledale and Northumberland with a rare talent for colourful, evocative storytelling. Lady Hale is a proud Yorkshirewoman and she captures the castles, lofty views and atmosphere of a local agriculture show with such flair that you will feel that you are right there on the walk with her. She also spills the beans on how she feels about her famous judgment on the prorogation of Parliament in 2019 when she wore the dazzling, and much talked about spider brooch.
More Radio Highlights
Desert Island Discs - Cate Blanchett. Australian film and stage actor discusses the soundtrack to her life.
Sounds of the earth from wallowing elephants to flights of city sparrows.
How to Have a Better Brain
The critical role of diet in keeping the brain healthy and sharp.
The Reith Lectures
Author Chimamanda Ngozi delivers the first of four BBC lectures on freedom.
The Best Classic Films this Week and for Christmas
A Matter of Life and Death - A Powell and Pressburger surrealist romantic fantasy, shot in black and white, with magnetic performances from David Niven and Kim Hunter, the charismatic actress who would go on to play Marlon Brando's wife in A Street Car Named Desire opposite Vivien Leigh. Watch it and delight in the black humour, clever fizzing writing, monumental, avant-garde sets and life, love and death as a thrilling, erudite game of chance and English fog.
If what you want from a Western is a romantic telling of how the Wild West was won over, then Hugo Blick’s The English is not for you. It’s a bleak Mad Max-esque portrayal of the dog-eat-dog last days of settlement in the American old West. It follows Emily Blunt's fierce English aristocrat and the brooding, inscrutable Chaske Spencer.
Blunt plays Cornelia Locke, the daughter of an aristocratic soldier who was ‘gifted half of Devon’, who sets out from Wyoming on a revenge quest to bring justice to the man responsible for the death of her son. Questions of when, why and how are initially unclear.
Spencer plays Eli Whipp, a Pawnee scout, on his own mission to reclaim the lands of his people after a toughening up career in the US Cavalry. (The US army would employ Pawnee warriors to fight on the Plains against other hostile tribes, like the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho, instead of fighting for Westward expansion. Because of old feuds, the Pawnee people served in the army, earning a reputation as being a well-trained unit, especially in tracking and reconnaissance).
The 6 part series is filled with lingering tension set against a backdrop of stunningly vast expanses of scorched lands. The clever and visually arresting camera work does the landscape justice, as it captures both the emptiness and sense of possibility of what may lie beyond the horizon. Despite Blunt’s often overly modern delivery and Spencer’s often too quiet tones, their complimentary chemistry is undeniable.
This role is sure to become the crowning glory of Spencer’s career (which isn’t
really saying anything as it has been his small part as a werewolf in the Twilight Saga up until now). For Blunt, however, because of her dazzling repertoire of rom-coms, thrillers, period dramas and action roles, this may not quite cut it as her star performance. This could be the fault of the slow and ‘one-liner’ writing, as she obviously fully immerses herself as a multi-faceted heroine, who’s thrust far from her comfort zone. The story ramps up as it progresses, filled with
ferocity and shock, so persevere with the slow beginning and wait for the plot to come full circle, as you won’t be disappointed.
Written By Connie Davies
Watch it on BBC iPlayer
Titled by author Stephen King as ‘pure magic’, Guillermo del Toro’s reimagination of the classic tale of Pinocchio, the wooden puppet brought to life, is just that. Del Toro’s reputation in fantasy cinema is all about variety; from Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) to Crimson Peak (2015), and the award-winning The Shape of Water (2017), so it’s no surprise that such success has arisen from a
stop-motion musical recently uploaded to Netflix. The story is retold in the midst of fascism during the interwar years in Italy, featuring aspects of coming-of-age tales, detailing the friction
and overarching love between a father and his son. It stars the voices of Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Cate Blanchett and Christoph Waltz, among others, who all contribute effectively to either the well-known existing characters or newly created ones with their unique interpretations.
Without a doubt, Del Toro’s profound retelling of a somewhat saturated story is one of the best-animated movies of the year.
Watch it on Netflix
A testament to the first of the Knives Out series, Glass Onion follows on from the darkly humorous and rollicking murder mystery story that was characterised by its enormous entertainment factor. It has a short cinema run until it comes to Netflix later this month. The cast chemistry does possess the entertainment factor that was dominant in Knives Out but is perhaps not quite as cohesive. Daniel Craig amps up his Deep South investigator schtick in a compelling and enjoyable way and the story is just as full of as many twists and turns as you’d
expect from the former film, but comedy is slightly more prioritised. If you enjoy the genre and had fun during Knives Out, you’ll be pleased with Glass Onion.
Available on Netflix 23/12/22
Main Reviews by Editor Alison Jane Reid. Additional reviews by our volunteer placement graduate Connie Davies. Connie has a degree in English Literature from the University of York. She lives and breathes film and drama and came to The Luminaries because she couldn't find any opportunities to get started in a career in magazine or newspaper journalism.
Support The Luminaries Magazine - For Quality Slow Journalism and Opportunities for Graduates and Undergraduates
The Luminaries Magazine needs your support now. Quality independent arts and entertainment journalism free of vested interests are expensive to research, write and polish for your delight and entertainment. We are not funded by advertising, we are funded by readers, live interviews returning for 2023 and highly selective collaborations with slow, circular and heritage luxury brands. For more info, email the editor here - email@example.com
Become a paid supporter today and help us to make your day with exciting, original arts journalism and storytelling that you won't find anywhere else. AJ, our founding editor has spent 25 years in national newspapers and magazines as an iconic feature writer. She is passionate about helping the next generation of journalists and photojournalists and giving vital opportunities and mentoring to undergraduates and graduates wishing to take up careers in journalism, the arts, film and fashion.