Lady Chatterley’s Lover Review: A Passionate Breath Of Fresh Air Into The Lungs Of A Classic

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A film about unbridled passion should be covered in just that, unbridled passion. I’m talking casting, production design, direction, score, the works. I want to feel swept up in the magic of the love being born on screen, and in order to really feel taken on a wild ride by a romantic period drama, all of those elements really need to be in play. Netflix’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” encompasses all of these key components and brings us a feverishly brilliant adaptation of a classic novel that has had its merit debated the world over. In this version of the story, everything is urgent and love is contagious. One taste is all it takes. Led fiercely by Emma Corrin and Jack O’Connell, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” is a self-assured, strong parable about the power we beg love to have over us, and it packs the biggest punch of any romance this year.

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” follows Constance Reid (Corrin), a woman who marries a soldier bound for the front lines in the early 1900s. After he returns home with an injury that has handicapped him and his ability to have children, the pair move from their exciting London home to his family’s country estate. There, the ever-curious and headstrong Connie meets a man named Oliver (O’Connell), who is hired as the gameskeeper of the manor. Lust quickly turns into an all-consuming love, one that forces them both to reevaluate what is most important to them and the lengths they will go to protect it—but also one that shows them the precious beauty of connection.

Casting Is Key

The main triumph of this new Netflix original lies firmly in its casting, though it has strength in all the other important elements necessary to build the world of a film. Emma Corrin is transcendent as Connie and plays the character with an enrapturing sense of grace that melts into beautiful righteousness. Jack O’Connell is pitch-perfect opposite Corrin with his subtle softness and strong convictions. O’Connell is known for playing harsher male characters, ones with edge and a rough exterior, so he falls right in line with this character. 

Like Corrin’s casting, he just makes sense for this role. Put the two of them together and the erotic tension just drips off the screen like melted chocolate. Casting these actors in such devoted roles was a checkmate move because their chemistry magnetizes them to one another. It’s an excellent pairing and it is that chemistry that sells the entire film. It wouldn’t be as good if the lead actors didn’t truly feel like they would die to be together. Corrin and O’Connell make you feel like you would accept any justification they saw fit to stay together, because their love is that present, that tangible, and that vital.

Down The Rabbit Hole Of Forbidden Love

To that end, the movie itself is infused with passion and excitement. It matches every impulse and feeling Connie is experiencing as her romance with Oliver unfolds. It is directed with a specific focus on her and her desires, so innately we’re going to pay special attention to the evolution of her romance, but director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre makes it a point to linger on Corrin’s face and body, too, in an effort to zero in on their character’s metamorphosis. It doubles down on the source of her newfound joy while also making sure the audience feels it with her. Additionally, scenes are shot with this wonderful ethereal glow once Connie and Oliver progress past their first encounter (shot, aptly, in a dark blue shadow). Clermont-Tonnerre and her visual team clearly worked together to achieve this effect and it works wonders on the experience the viewer has during the film’s runtime. It aids your impulse to side with Connie as she slips down the rabbit hole of forbidden love, simply because the magic not only feels palpable but visible, too.

Further, the film makes efforts to push an empowering narrative, particularly in the face of the marred history the movie’s source material is known for. It isn’t necessarily empowering or positive for Connie’s husband, but the general mantra of “life is what you make of it” bleeds through the very core of this film. “We have to live, no matter how many skies have fallen,” Corrin’s character says early on in the film in relation to her husband’s war injury, while he later in the film tells her, “We must modernize, you and me,” though his idea of it is far different from hers.

Freedom And Modernization

Corrin is a major part of why the film is completely dripping in a sense of freedom and modernization in a way that is undeniable and inspiring, especially considering the way the story centers on unabashed female sexuality. They meet the material’s fervor with their own fierce wildness in the face of life’s gifts. In this way, they are the perfect person to play this part and further the message of the film. The movie might be a little heavy-handed with that message, but it’s a worthwhile one that reminds us of the important things in this short life we live. Love and connection are what make life worth living in between the moments when it feels like the sky is falling. They are what we remember on our last dying breath, and they are what we should walk toward every single day.

Ultimately, this is the kind of film that affirms what love can do and be, what it has the power to change for us if we let it. People have been doing crazy things for love for a long time; In fact, it’s the one thing almost all of us would do crazy things for—because we as human beings need and crave it. “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” in all its visual passion and ecstasy, shows us it’s okay to pursue love that feels right to us, because we may only get one chance to. With an impeccable cast, pitch-perfect direction, tonally resonant cinematography and lighting —just to name a few wins — this film is destined to be looked at as a full-package triumph of its genre in the years to come.

/Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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The post Lady Chatterley’s Lover Review: A Passionate Breath of Fresh Air Into the Lungs of a Classic appeared first on /Film.

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