Six-part adaption of two of Hilary Mantel's novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
It is an indictment of today's society that such an pivotal and tragic series of events in English history are referred to as boring and slow by other reviewers. Life was very different in the Tudor period. There wasn't the need for instant gratification that has been fostered by today's "throw away" society. Life was slower and more deliberate. This is what the BBC's dramatisation, Wolf Hall, skillfully portrays. Life was luxurious, intrigue-filled and deadly for those of the noble class. Not only did they risk the hideous diseases of the day without any protection or understanding thereof, but they condemned themselves with every word or deed. No matter which persuasion a person was, whether Roman Catholic and loyal to the Pope, or a person interested in the "new learning". Or, perhaps a fully committed Lutheran, all were a moment away from the scaffold, depending on from where the accusations originated. The BBC have produced a most masterful, understated and poignant tale of love, loss and betrayal. The repercussions of Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn are still felt in the world today. The scars on the landscape of England found in the ruins of the old monasteries. The prejudices and hatred between the two major denominations of Christianity still cause division in some communities to this very day. The sets were beautifully presented and costumes historically accurate and strangely personal. Some characters were shown to be rather slovenly in their appearance, whereas others were pristine and particular. The performances by Mark Ryland, Claire Foy and Damian Lewis were understated, persuasive and masterful. No melodrama found it's way into this most tragic of stories. Micro-expressions spoke volumes where dialogue had no need. The viewer is drawn into the world of deceit by every movement, look and word. I highly recommend this to anyone who has a genuine interest in English history. Although based on two novels, Wolf Hall is a good representation of the actual events of the early 16th Century, well as far as we can know them today. No one was the "good guy" or the "bad guy". People lived in the grey areas created by intrigue and deception, politics and religion. This is the strength of Wolf Hall. It doesn't apportion blame, it looks to the human aspect and illuminates it to show all the tragedy it can cause.
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