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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

October 16, 2009 at 9:26 AM

Gillian Anderson in “Bleak House”

I have of late been finding great pleasure in the BBC series “Bleak House.” (OK, that sentence sounded totally Victorian, didn’t it? Obviously this show is having an effect on me. But the Victorians didn’t have DVDs, unfortunately for them.) I didn’t catch it when it played on TV a few years ago, but heard so many rave reviews from friends I knew I had to watch it someday. Based on one of the Charles Dickens novels that I never got around to reading in grad school, it’s shot and directed like a wonderfully tangled combination of period drama, psychological thriller and courtroom procedural. And Gillian Anderson, who I loved in “The X-Files,” is just marvelous as Lady Dedlock, a noblewoman haunted by secrets who holds her mouth clamped tightly (as if she’s afraid of what she might say) and always seems to be standing as if posing for a grim portrait. Here she is in a brief scene, early in the eight-hour series; her behavior makes little sense at this point in the story, but becomes completely clear later on. (Also note the lovely, wordless contribution here by Lilo Bauer as the dark-eyed maid Hortense, who follows Anderson out at the end of the scene; she becomes a more important character later on.)

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