by Corrie Glanville
A Doll’s House (1972)
While this version may look a bit dated since it is essentially a filmed play, it is worth watching for the extraordinary performances of its celebrated British cast. With a deft adaptation by Christopher Hampton that remains faithful to the original text, the film conveys the sense of confinement and suffocation Nora experiences, which eventually pushes her to break with all she has known. Sir Ralph Richardson plays the ailing Dr. Rank, the family friend who loves Nora, Anthony Hopkins plays a cold but decent Torvald and the exquisite Claire Bloom, still one of the great English actresses of her generation, plays the indelible Nora.
The Piano (1993)
Mesmerizing and hauntingly beautiful, Jane Campion’s The Piano is a rare jewelof a film. Like A Doll’s House, Campion explores patriarchy and female discontent in the mid-19th century; Holly Hunter plays Ada, a deaf mute, who is sent with her young daughter (Anna Paquin) to marry a frontiersman played by Sam Neill on the West Coast of New Zealand. Ada cares little for anything except her daughter and her beloved piano until she becomes involved with aneighbor (Harvey Keitel) who prefers the company of the local Maori tribe. Their affair has brutal consequences for all involved. The images of The Piano will stay with you along with the unforgettable score by Michael Nyman.
The Duchess (2008)
This lavish period drama was adapted from Amanda Foreman’s best-selling book about Georgiana Cavendish who became the Duchess of Devonshire. Played by the incandescent Keira Knightley, Georgiana ascends to the top echelon of British society when she marries the sullen Duke of Devonshire, played by Ralph Fiennes. Her wit, passion and trend-setting fashion sense make her beloved by everyone but her husband — eventually forcing Georgiana to take her own lover, teaching her the merciless judgment of society bestowed on women who do not follow the rules.