Details

Produced in 2000 by Overseas Filmgroup, US/UK co-production. Filmed in Prague, directed by Reverge Anselmo (The Outfitters). Based on two novels: First Love by Ivan Turgenev and The Peasant Woman by Anton Chekhov. Co-starring Kirsten Dunst as Zinaida, James Fox as Old Vladimir, Nick Stahl as young Vladimir, Julie Walters as Princess Zasyekin and Geraldine James as Vladimir's mother. Alternative title "All Forgotten" in the UK. Nat is playing Vladimir's father.



 

Plot Summary

 

This is a tale of an innocent rich boy's (Nick Stahl) infatuation with a beautiful young woman (Kirsten Dunst) who is summering next door. He quickly abandons his toys and pastimes for the thrill of her seductive ways. But, when he is finally confronted with who she really is and the tangled web she has spun, he is forced to become a man and understand that the world is more complicated than he ever dreamt it would be.

General Review

 

This is high level costume drama and it shows, believe me. The whole thing is lavishly photographed and beautifully displays landscapes, interior and decorations. The costumes are a delight to see. With 106 minutes the movies takes it time to tell the story of young Vladimir and his first love. The trick of this movie is to tell it through the eyes and the understanding of Vladimir. Thus we are being misled, just like Vladimir is being misled.

The problem is that the movie never loses its historically and psychologically correct way of telling what happened to the characters. If you are looking for the clue to the whole plot in the end you'll be disappointed. It feels a lot like Angels & Insects which came out in 1995, but it never gives you any kind of clues to the problem. And - that's what's also true - it never leaves a certain level of discretion. And that's what's bugging me off. It remains in the dark what's going on in Vladimir when he finds out what really happened, even if he ever really gets the whole scale of the story. His said to be "growing-up" cannot be felt anywhere. We will never know why Vladimir's love does what she does...

Thus the movie leaves a big riddle in the viewer that one is getting tired to solve. Somehow you cannot stop thinking of lost chances watching it. The second story line which evolves around the servants is really hard to take - what kind of idea to intertwine two novels into one, when the screenplay isn't even getting the gist of the first one on the paper / screen.

The actors are doing well, especially the supporting roles are brilliantly displayed. Let me give you just one example on what I'm aiming at: Vladimir's father (Nat) could have been one of the most interesting roles in this one, but it's only in very small parts that we are getting a glimpse of this movie could have been, if the script and the direction would have given the actors more meat. There's one scene in which Nat has an argument with his wife. Not that I agree what's being said or done there, but it is the only scene that's close to the bone. As soon as Vladimir comes into this scene the whole thing falls apart, crumbles to pieces and shows what's wrong with the whole movie.
  

Nat Review

 

Nat is doing a great job, I love to see him in period movies. I would have liked to have seen more and in detail about the difficulties this man he portrays must have gone through. You'll never know what made him do what he did and his sudden death leaves us puzzled just like Vladimir. It would be a sad thought that the son had so little to say about his dead father as Vladimir had to tell us. Nat's acting is excellent and he has to deal with some very difficult scenes. And yes, it's another not-shaven-role... What a shame, in general the whole movie could have been so much more, especially when you take look at the cast.

Nat Review - another fan's take

 

I had feelings of incompleteness after viewing Lover's Prayer, so I decided to read the two novellas on which it is based. "The Peasant Woman" was irrelevant and was never woven into the basic story line of the film. But after reading Turgenev's "First Love", I was astounded at just how accurate Nat's portrayal of the father was. He perfectly captured all the nuances that Turgenev sought to describe and explain. He was so good, that I now think that this is perhaps his best role - his best performance. It is unfortunate that Vladimir was so poorly performed as to almost ruin the film, for there were strong performances by several of the other actors and a great performance by Nat.

Trivia

We have yet another a déjà-vu with Paloma Baeza - yes our Bathsheba from Far from The Madding Crowd - she is playing the peasant women here...

Status

Unfortunately this film never made it to the big screen. It is available on VHS and DVD in the US.

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