In the opulent St. Petersburg of the Empire period, Eugene Onegin is a jaded but dashing aristocrat - a man often lacking in empathy, who suffers from restlessness, melancholy and, finally, regret. Through his best friend Lensky, Onegin is introduced to the young Tatiana. A passionate and virtuous girl, she soon falls hopelessly under the spell of the aloof newcomer and professes her love for him.
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Based on Pushkin's novel, this film is superbly acted and has a great script. Liv Tyler proves in this one that she is not just a pretty face or the daughter of a famous musician. Ralph Fiennes puts on a strong performance, but the movie overall seems to go around in circles and it becomes rather slow, I guess some novels are meant to remain novels for as film they can become something totally different.
Lovely colour etc. Just sorry the sound track is out of sync with the visuals.
This is a movie i never heard of. I love Liv Tyler and she is so beautiful in it. But the lack of love and romance made it boring for me. I really, really wanted to like this movie. But of course i don't like it very much and now i want to get rid of it :( So that's why i give it a 3, not enough smooching!
I was very fortunate to go to a high school that offered Russian language classes, and my teacher was a Russian aristocrat who escaped the country during the Bolshevik Revolution. She introduced me to Pushkin, and to this story. I thought it would have made a great film (Tchaikovsky made it an opera), and had high hopes for this. Unfortunately, it appears that the nepotism in this film brought about its downfall, particularly in that Martha focused on Ralph's face to distraction. And although I thought Liv Tyler did a fairly good job, the role of Tatyana lacked depth. Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't believe an actress in this culture and with Tyler's background has done the amount of reading and the type of reading that could effectively reflect the bookish thoughtfulness of a character like Tatyana.That said, the photography was gorgeous, and there were some devices that really worked. I thought the device of Tatyana moving through all the doors was an effective show of the passage of time, and that the scene with her writing the love letter to Onegin dramatic and sensual. I've always thought of ink as a conveyer of passion, but never seen it depicted in images as Martha Fiennes did it here.Not a bad movie taken for the movie as it is. Just not a great recreation of the Pushkin work.
A truly spectacular film with so many visual, psychological andmelancholy delights that it is hard to know whom or what to praisemore. Ralph Fiennes executes a stunning performance as the aloof, sarcasticdisillusioned aristocrat managing a performance which combines a greatdeal of emotion and extreme surface passivity; Liv Tyler is at her mostbeautiful in one of her best performances to date as the poignantTatiana who, as the film unfolds, evolves from passionate idealism intoresignation and honour; and Martha Fiennes proves herself as part andparcel of the elite group of great directors... The filming is of high quality; a lot of very English wit and charm. Afilm which will appeal to those who enjoy BBC dramatisations, classicssuch as Cate Blanchett's performance in Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love,etc.Enjoy!
This review is from: Onegin (DVD) Having never read the novel in verse on which this is based, I regard the story by its own merit. 'Onegin' is a haunting, passionate, beautiful, and unforgettable tale of unrequited love. The film follows the tragic story of Evgene Onegin (Ralph Fiennes), a Russian playboy who catches the eye of innocent Tatyana (Liv Tyler). Rejecting her confession of love, Onegin is lead to commit a spontanious action which leads to eventual tragedy, his seperation from Tatyana, and their reunion years later after her marriage to his cousin, a czar. The film ends with a powerful climax very different from most productions of this nature.With lush costuming, beautiful cinematography, and rock-solid performances from a fantastic cast, 'Onegin' is an unusual kind of film. Moving along at a measured pace, it demands patience but also evokes obsession. We cringe at the inevitable, shed a few tears, and cheer at the final conflict. It's a story of love, tragedy, circumstance, and choices. I came into it with sincere doubt, certain my hopes would be dashed. For once I was pleasantly surprised at the restraint and dignity shown in the production and its conclusion. When all other aspects are stripped away, it becomes a tale of a woman's honor. It's not a subject often breached, and for this element alone hold my admiration and praise. It also has one of the most stunningly picturesque and yet chillingly horrific dueling scenes I've ever witnessed on film. The emotion and intensity of the tragic cold winter morning on the docks builds to an inevitable climax and shows the profound sorrow that follows in the wake of a terrible mistake. I much appreciated witnessing the victor's anger, frustration, and sorrow over what he was forced to do in order to defend his good name. Was the outcome by chance or intention? Perhaps we'll never know. Fiennes' sister directed the film and his claims that she has a "sensual power" over the camera are true. Every frame is full of romantic intensity. I do question her reasoning for moments of complete silence and the soundtrack at times is grating on the nerves, but overall I was very impressed.
Let's get this out in the air before anything more is said: This movie isn't exactly a cheery comedy. It's not even a cheery drama. It's not even a sad drama! It's a downright depressing, miserable movie. Nothing goes the way you think it will, nothing works out right, everything turns out horrible.But the movie is still one of my favorites. And no, I'm not mixing medications.Performances are exellent, especially by Liv Tyler, almost surprisingly as she is such a fresh, modern actress. But of course, that's not all it takes to make a good movie. The script has to be good, and it is, very. Not at all bombastic, boring (well, only sometimes), or corny. And then the visual aspect has to be good, as well, and that's taken care of in the first five minutes. The scenery sets the stage for such a frosty, rainy, gloomy, barren tale such as this. You don't walk away with a sense of despair and longing, however - and maybe you should - but rather with a sense of hope and endurance. Good feelings to have, especially after so much dreariness. Depressing in a good, make-you-think, touch-your-soul kind of way.
This review is from: Onegin (DVD) This is a top-five favorite of mine. Directed by Ralph Fiennes' sister and musically scored by his brother, this movie is based on Pushkin's masterpiece poem-novel. The photography, acting, and message are superb. If you like this movie, please also consider Last of the Mohicans, First Knight, House of Flying Daggers, and The Count of Monte Cristo for other visually gorgeous, wonderfully-acted and -directed stories.
I watched 'Onegin' twice in the space of two days, and I have to admit thatthe first time I watched the film - I hated it. I found it poorly written,slowly paced with huge jumps in plotline and character development - andjust a bit of a waste of film. The second time I watched the film, Idiscovered a second level which enhanced a lot of the features that I feltwere lacking on a first viewing.For example, on the first viewing, I didn't realise how important costumeand setting were to character development - and Martha Fiennes has workedwell with symbolism to present the complete turnarounds in both Tatyana andOnegin's character - especially in the big 6 year jump in the film'snarrative. Tatyana's dresses become more flamboyant as the film progresses(in fact, the first time we observe her she could almost be mistaken for apeasant with the headscarf, but by the end of the film she is far closer toOlga and her mother in style). She wears increasing amounts of jewellery asthe film progresses also, representing her increasing desire to impress. However, she is still the same character and is still true to her originalbelief to repel any sense of adultery. This sort of symbolism is extremelyimportant to the characters in 'Onegin', and is quite possibly overlooked ona first screening.The film is also beautifully shot, a lot of it on location in Russia, whichmeans the snow covered streets of Petersburg look little short of stunningon the screen. One of the films final scenes, where Onegin declares hisundying love for Tatyana, is astoundingly beautiful, with the black ofOnegin contrasting perfectly with the white of Tatyana - showing that theycould not be further apart from each other, despite the mutual attraction. The social situation that pressured Tatyana into marriage makes any kind offormal relationship impossible.However, I found the film quite poorly written, and the addition of ahandful of one liners from Onegin took away from the potential seriousnessof scenes. The writers may argue that they were trying to further therepresentation of Onegin as a sarcastic man apart from society - but Ithought they were cheap tricks to get a giggle from the audience. Withoutthe symbolism, the characters were quite poorly written, with no real reasonfor Onegin's sudden changes of heart or a decent image made out of theactual social pressure that girls of the period were put under to marry. The only scene which begins to extend on this is a comic one, so it doesn'treally have the desired effect.I think personal taste also comes into my apparent slight distaste for thisfilm. It would not be the sort of film that I would watch out of choice. 6/10
The best film ive seen in a long time.Brilliantly directed and shot.Art or film you decide.A must buy
Several members of the Fiennes family collaborate to produce 'Onegin', astory of unrequited love and based on Pushkin's epic poem. The film lookswonderful, there's an icy beauty in the way that scenes are framed (whichgives the movie its own distinct aesthetic, albeit at a price of conveying acertain cliche of Russia), and the overall tone is excellently judged. Slightly strangely, the film was shot in English (and English English atthat), so that occasionally Liv Tyler sounds wrong (to this English ear) isspite of the fact that she is supposed to be speaking Russian! But ingeneral the performances are good (and it's fun to see Martin Donovan in anunlikely historical role).However, I can't help but feel that if you were to set the same story on amodern council estate, no-one would dare stretch so little plot over anentire film. The set-pieces are terrific, the images are lovely, but thetruth is that nothing really happens. Which is not to say I dislike thisparticular film, but why should a costume drama be more languid per se thanan L.A.-set thriller? This comment cuts both ways, of course: it's just a(pointless) appeal for directors to make films at the pace demanded by theirmaterial (as opposed to their expected audiences). In fact, 'Onegin' itselfis better able than most films of its kind to justify its tendency toluxuriate in its setting because of the intensity of its imagery. A solemn,but good, film.
I admit, I had strong reservations about this movie. I just couldn't picture Liv Tyler as Tatiana. I saw her in "That Thing You Do" and just couldn't imagine her doing costume drama, especially based on a classical Russian poem. I rented the movie mainly for Ralph Fiennes. And then I was pleasantly surprised. Granted, this was not an Oscar performance on behalf of Liv Tyler, but she did not ruin the movie. She has a very otherworldly face, which suits the character she was playing.
Comparable to "An Age of Innocence" in pace and message, Onegin reminds us of the danger and sometimes irreversible and devastating consequences that procrastination and pride can have when allowed to enter a relationship.Beautifully cast and developed, this story was riveting to watch as each tragic event slowly unfolded, revealing strengths and flaws in characters each of us can identify with at some level.
This review is from: Onegin (DVD) So when does a movie stop in the middle and leave you with no closure? When you watch Onegin! It's really slow at the get go and then when you think the movie it finally going to pick up and get good it stops! And stops with no real conclusion as to what's going to happen to all involved! I did not like this movie one bit! I was highly disappointed and would recommend that people see anything else.
This review is from: Onegin (DVD) I had a hard time finding this DVD,so finding it was a big deal, then I got a great price, they shipped right away, prefect quality. Great!
I was drawn to this movie after seeing Marthe Fiennes latest work: Chromophobia. Liv Tyler is absolutely gorgeous to watch but she is wooden and bland. No doubt this would not have become apparent should she have been paired with less seasoned and brilliant actors, but in the company of Ralf Fiennes, Toby Stevens, and the like, she is clearly out of her depth. She did the best she could and clearly gave a performance that stretched her prior abilities, but the director might be the one to thank for this.Her body movement is clearly American and she, unlike someone like Rachel Weiz who can both look gorgeous AND convey intellectual fortitude, is not convincing as an avid reader and Old World aristocrat. I didn't think there was much chemistry between her and Ralph Fiennes. There were more sparks flying in the 1 minute of screen time he shared with Francesca Annis, his real-life girlfriend at the time, then in the whole movie with Liv Tyler. Outside of that, the movie is superb, directing and acting-wise, the music is wonderful. Those Fiennes kids are a talented bunch!
Is it necessary to place yet another comment on Onegin? YES IT IS. Thisfilm is brilliant. All comments on historic technicalities aside thisfilm creates a breathtaking performance of Pushkins masterpiece. I haveread the translated Onegin; I have to admit, only after seeing thisfilm. After I did I could not decide if I liked Onegin so much becauseof Pushkins beautiful prose or Fiennes fantastic acting. He, in myopinion becomes very much the true personification of Onegin'scharacter as it was meant by Pushkin when he wrote Onegin. Captivatedby his indifferent arrogance and later on tormented and consumed by hisheartfelt passions, the public is undeniably drawn into this film. LivTyler contraries his character beautifully, playing the young, innocentand introvert Tatjana. She is beauty in it's simplest and purest form.The kind of beauty that is sublime. Shy and isolated from herenvironment, she is both mysterious and lovely. This film has touchedmy soul and placed itself in my heart.Onegin is a must for anyone who loves a romantic tragedy which sets ina magnificent place. This drama is excellent for those who want toenjoy the magic of poetry on screen.
Many viewers are quick to note the fine effort of the Fiennes family tobring a Russian literary masterpiece on screen in the English language.The Fiennes family need to be complimented for their dedicated work tobring such an important literary work closer to thousands who wouldnever have heard the name of Yevgeny Onegin.However, I would like to underline the work of Martha Fiennes--thedirector. This is a marvelous debut for a director. The pivotal pointof the film is the letter of Tatyana to Yevgeny. If the viewer were toreplace the images of the blue/black ink with red blood, the imagescould have been of a lover hurting oneself while writing the letter.Pushkin intended this savage intensity--Ms. Fiennes succeeds incapturing this on screen without the blood. After the letter iswritten, the writer cleans her fingers on the white dress. Thedirector's detailed shots on the writing of the letter, the opening ofthe letter, and the refusal of the return of the letter are visually asimportant as any performance in the film.Second, Martha Fiennes is to be complimented on the sartorial detailsof Tatyana. The gradual change in clothes--color-wise andwealth-wise--is structurally well done in tandem with the plot ofPushkin.I particularly loved the sequences of Onegin staring at neck of hislost love during the concert--Ms Feinnes captures the mood eloquentlywith shots which could easily have been spoiled had the camera beenplaced in front of the two actors.The opening shot of the sleigh drawn by horses is very Russian.Unfortunately, for Ms Feinnes, Russian director Igor Talankin's film"Tchaikovsky" had used similar imagery--only Talankin did it muchbetter with striking effect.The duel sequence is perhaps an important part of the film, if onerecalls the writer Pushkin himself went through such an ordeal in reallife--I do not recall if "Yevgeny Onegin" was written before or afterthe incident...But Ms Feinnes' duel sequence is comparable to those ofKubrick in "Barry Lyndon" or Ridley Scott's brilliant early work "TheDuellists." It is equally interesting to note that Pushkin's workalludes to the importance of married persons remaining faithful to eachother--in real life Pushkin demanded the same of his wife, butsuspected his spouse was cheating on him and this forced the duel thatwounded him in real life.But what is the modern windmill doing in "Tsarist Russia"? Thewindmills in Tsarist Russia I believe had more spokes (or hands), if wewere to go by the paintings of that era..Ms. Fiennes' on the other hand has taken care of details that a maledirector would have perhaps overlooked--the postures of Tatyana in theboat hidden by the reeds. Ms. Fiennes has shown talent in many waysthat recall the brilliance of Julie Taymor. I only wish Fiennes were aRussian director using Russian actors--the work would then have been soreal. For an effort from a non-Russian, I applaud her work as adirector and the contribution of her family to the finished product. Sois the contribution of cinematographer Remi Adeferasin. The performanceof Liv Tyler should be assessed against the opportunity the roleoffered--she was good but not outstanding--she has done better underthe direction of Robert Altman.
Had I not seen the new Bond film in the same week (The World Is Not Enough)I'd just about have marked this down as bore of the year.Ralph Fiennes, who is supposedly a great actor (I can't see it) is EugeneOnegin, a St Petersburg aristocrat who inherits a farm in the country, goesout there, predictably falls in love with a local girl, it doesn't happen,they meet again later when he goes back to St Petersburg (very predictable),she's now married, he declares his love for her and amazingly there wasn'tthe sloshy happy ending.This would have got a much lower rating were it not for the excellentcostumes and the brilliant sets and scenery - go and see this as a travelfilm rather than a serious period piece!
I wanted to love the movie so badly but Liv Tyler's performance keptthatfrom happening. She's a beautiful girl, but she had that "deer in theheadlights" look through the whole film. Also, she's got the grace andsubtlety of a wrecking ball. I know she was supposed to be a countrygirl,but sheesh! And I can't think of a single language whose accent wouldproduce "oool" for the English "all" ... Inuit maybe? It's hard tobelieveone critic pronounced her mastery of an aristocratic accent successful;itkept playing a tense game of hide and seek with my ears.I wondered to myself how many feet of film were wasted in the creationofthat ice skating scene? It seems it could've been so much more powerfulwithalmost anyone in FrankenTyler's place. The only thing that redeemed thescene for me was Ralph's genuine look of devastation at its close. It'sreally hard to feel the potency of Tyler's unaffected gaze by that pointwhen she's got that look on her face through the WHOLE movie! Ralph'spathos-drenched reaction (how DOES he do that?) to her mediocre actionpulled it through. But Ralph shouldn't HAVE to work that hard. A moreexperienced actress would've pulled her own weight. I should probablyjustbe grateful that Ralph DID have to work that hard and that I was luckyenough to get to see the results.Enough about that poor Tyler girl! I'll just assume her intentions aregood and it's all very Dickensian and she's supporting her poor fatherandher life is not within her control. Let's just hope that a waning of herinterest in acting or a would-be suitor comes quickly along to save herfromthe degradation in which she too often finds herself when appearing inthesame movie with someone talented like Ralph. If she'd stick to playingopposite Keanu Reeves or Antonio Banderas, I think everything would workoutfine.I thought Martha Fiennes' directing was very thoughtful and daring,firstfeature length effort or not. A couple places left me mildly jarredcontinuity-wise, but that's so insignificant compared to the many verybeautiful and effective scenes I can still feel. I agree with someone whomentioned the strength of the opening sleigh scene. As in Dr. Zhivago andBram Stoker's Dracula, there's just something really powerful about thesight of a snorting horse running at full throttle, transporting ourcharacters to some unknown fate. I liked the staging and shooting (sorry)ofthe duel scene very much. It must have taken a lot of control not to haveVladimir go plunging slow motion into the icy water surrounding theaction.Martha Fiennes must have quite a bit of confidence and restraint not togothat predictable route merely for the sake of the dramatic shot. Thewholestory oozes restraint (and its inherent frustrations) and sheintelligentlyreplied. Some nice symbolic visual gestures as well -- the moth and fly,thecoffin in the closing scene, etc. Just gorgeous direction and camera workoverall. She did such a good job of using the sets and locations to theirbest advantage and utility. Nothing seemed superfluous nor ignored. Itallseemed so unified in intent.Ralph's performance was predictably very good, but I think it couldhavebeen superb given even a halfway decent female lead against/with which towork (maybe it's my imagination but I swear I saw him inappropriatelygritting his teeth and narrowing an eye! I kept waiting for him to burstout, "I just can't work with this stupid, clumsy girl!"). I know therearen't that many "doe-eyed ingenues" for casting purposes these days, butthere had to be SOMEONE else available ... ANYONE! The scenes where Ralphshone were those in which Liv Tyler was completely out of range. Did younotice how few shots had them framed together? Whether this was adirectorial decision to support the plot or a last ditch effort tode-emphasize the obvious disparity between the two leads' acting talentsI'mnot sure.Also, that notary character seemed just way too angry, no? I think alongday of retakes with Liv might have taken its toll. And do you think itwasjust a coincidence that the poor girl was always lurking from behindcolumns, trees, reeds, etc.? I think what we were supposed to read asTatyana's wary curiosity might have as easily been, in reality, adefensivemaneuver on Miss Tyler's part when the other actors finally took totossingcatered goods at her out of sheer frustration ... not that an icy glarefromRalph Fiennes wouldn't be enough to send the poor pretty mouse runningforthe nearest hiding place!I would love to see it made again with someone else in the Tatyanarole. Isound so critical and I don't wish to. I feel frustrated that thisproject,so important to Ralph and Martha Fiennes that they'd produce itthemselves,was kept from being sublime for me by the work of an inexperiencedactress.It was like making homemade buckwheat pancakes then topping 'em off withfake maple syrup. Sure they taste good, but you just KNOW how much betterthey would've tasted with the real stuff. The Fiennes family I'm sureare,justifiably, extremely proud of their collaboration. Just think how youngthey all are and how many great things they've still got the time tocreate!Pushkin's response, perhaps: "Where did my tragedy go? Who would shed atearover the loss of that stiff? I mean, she's pretty, but ... where's shefromanyway?"P.S. I think we might have the making of yet another great tragedy here:"Onegin: the Casting of Liv Tyler". Imagine the heated discussions!Imaginethe family conflict -- the threats of Boxing Days celebrated separately!Inone scene, when faced with the thought of Liv Tyler's unwelcomeparticipation, I see Ralph transformed into an unleashed lion! Spit fliesfrom his twisted maw, "She is NOT Tatyana! This is not my vision ofOnegin!"he snarls. He rushes Martha and fiercely bats the script from her hand.Loosed pages fly upwards! Then, mirroring the falling pages, we watch asheslowly, silently succumbs to the gravity of the situation, theresignationdrifts down upon him like a heavy snow and that look of utter devastationgrips his face in its iron mask. He barely gets hold of the arm of aconvenient chair and somehow manages to slump into it. His head crashesintonow unclenched hands, he's backlit and then alone on the soundstage,there'sthe silhouette of a broken man now violently sobbing for the dream thatWASand the reality that IS ... curtain falls.