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My thoughts on BBC's adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace

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Tolstoy's War and Peace always has protagonist groups of 3. Above, we see the main 3. But there are other trios who come and go, and mix together. My favorite character is Marya Bolkonsky, who I related to the most in the story. Her "trio" shifted around between her brother Andrei, Natasha Rostova, and eventually Nikolai Rostova. She is one of the great heroines of the story who really is on par with the others:

Why were things always in 3? Well, it's not simply for love triangles. Not everyone gets together, and certainly not with the people they had in mind at first. But the point of Tolstoy's novel is, not everyone who walks into our lives are intended for the purpose of romance, but something deeper, the renewal and salvation of one's soul. And thus, all eventual couples are balanced with friendships that go as deep as any other kind of love. Life is full of people of all kinds, and all kinds of relationships, not just one or the other.


What did I like most?
I loved the symbolism and the acting. So much could be said with images and silences that even masterpieces like War and Peace can't quite realize for all the talking in the head of the author. Every detail counted, the outfits, the scenery, the gestures, the facial expressions, the moments of meditation. Such powerful displays of emotions! I also greatly loved its accuracy to the plot. There really isn't a reason to add things into the story, and so nothing was. The major plot points were firmly set down, and anything that was left out of the original novel were things that are difficult to represent visually such as the thought lives of various characters, and the actual ideas on history and philosophy which Tolstoy expounds upon through long, but worthwhile essays.

What did I like least?
I perhaps disliked some minor details of downplaying certain characters at wrong times, or not allowing certain characters to come into light soon enough. Some characters we hardly meet in the first episodes who were so important in the later episodes. I guess that was a decision of the producers not to drown the audience all at once with all the characters. Sometimes, such as with Lily James, I felt she was not quite vivacious enough, but she proved herself later. Really Natasha Rostova is a feisty, unpredictable character through and through, feistier than Rose in Downton Abbey even. Paul Dano who played Bezuhov was sometimes even more suave than the Bezuhov of Tolstoy, who sometimes was actually very unattractive in the book. But perhaps these are things easily overlooked.

Is it a replacement for the book?
Nope. Not at all. I hope this adaptation inspires people to read the book and not be terrified by its length. The story speaks for itself. Reading the book will in fact bring all the characters to even more light, and you will love everyone all the more. Read the book!! But no need to worry about spoiling the book for yourself by watching this adaptation first. You will see plenty more new and refreshing details that only Tolstoy can fully express with his fluid writing technique.

So, should you watch it?
If you love romance, if you love drama, if you love character development, if you love difficult issues such as the meaning of life, happiness, suffering, and what it means to love and give love, as well as a perfectly satisfying ending, then this book is for you. A novel of epic proportions, of daring deeds, of rash deeds, of suffering, of reconciliation, and ultimate, profound happiness.
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Updated Feb-09-2016 at 06:15 by Huilunsoittaja

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