Tess with a new address | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Tess with a new address 

With Trishna Michael Winterbottom transplants Thomas Hardy's tragic novel to modern-day India

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Poverty can make some people Tess-ty

Poverty can make some people Tess-ty

Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, about a poor country girl swept away and broken by modern life, has been transplanted from 19th-century England to 21st-century India by the prolific and adventurous Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, Tristram Shandy, A Mighty Heart, The Killer Inside Me). The new setting revivifies the harsh forces of class and gender at work in the story, as the sweet but inscrutable title character (Freida Pinto) falls under the spell of a wealthy young man (Riz Ahmed) and leaves her family in dusty Rajasthan for better wages in Mumbai and glamor at the margins of the film industry. Winterbottom, a Brit who's shot several films in India, carefully notes the local customs and mores that contribute to the young woman's tragic fall: shorn of her traditional upbringing, uncertain about her lover's Western values, Trishna has nothing to cling to and nowhere to go but down.

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