Posted by: fudgie99 | May 11, 2009


fingersmith1Betrayal, murder, intrigue, thievery, Victorian erotica, and hot lesbian sex- there, have I sold you yet?

This film, which aired on the BBC in two parts, is based on the book by Sarah Waters. It starts with the perspective of Sue (played  by Sally Hawkins), a fingersmith ( thief) who lives across from the gallows with a bunch of schemers. As she tells it, she’s an orphan left with Mrs. Suxby, and never picked up, but the woman (played by the talented Imelda Staunton) takes care of her as her own daughter.

In comes Gentleman (although they all say a cockney Gen-a-men) who has a scheme to get rich scheming a wealthy lady in the countryside. He wants Sue to become her maid and persuade Maud to marry him with the plan to throw her in the mad house and take all the money for themselves.

Sue, a true city girl and no maid, goes to meet Maud- and there the magic happens. The two actresses have true chemistry and intensity. Maud is played by Elaine Cassidy, who I immediately became obsessed with upon seeing this movie. Who was this woman who could convey deep emotions by flaring her nostrils, the set of her lips, or the movement of her eyes? Some of her most expressive scenes she hardly speaks. Maud is cold and unlikable in the book, coming from a troubled and complicated past of her own, brought up in a madhouse, but Cassidy conveys the complexity of her emotions amazingly, so that you sympathize with Maud. Sally Hawkins also does an amazing job conveying Sue’s innocent nature, her inner struggle in wanting to save Maud, or swindle her.

As Sue and Maud show more affection for each other, Gentleman gets more aggressive with the girls. I suspected he was gay from the movie, but the book (indirectly) confirmed my suspicions. There is this undercurrent of repressed rage at the two women, beyond what seems necessary, which seems to encapsulate his own desire for queer affection.

The second part of the movie is told in Maud’s perspective and you get to see similar scenes through her eyes, which is vastly different. Their paths diverge in ways you will have to watch to find out, but ultimately there is a (cautiously) happy ending.

I love this movie. A few mentionable great scenes include Sue trying to dress a chair (pretending it is a lady). The scene with the thimble (again, you really should see the movie) and two hot sex scenes- one amusing, and one semi-disturbing (though that in no way detracts from the hotness). Amazingly, as hot as they are- there is no nudity, only visible kissing and implied touching, as well as a well faked (I hope) orgasm. Victorian women had orgasms? I had no idea.

Lastly, the ending scene is my favorite. Very different from the book (which I do recommend reading) but it made me sob uncontrollably the first time I saw it. As Maud says to Gentleman early on “You are a man and might do anything. I am a woman and might do nothing.”  Both Sue and Maud are trapped in their lives- due to poverty, due to family constraints, due to the lack of independence which comes from being female. The realization of their feelings for one another, and then, more importantly, the acknowledgement of those feelings, symbolized to me a liberation, to be free, even if only with one other person. 

There is so much in this movie, it is difficult to convey, so I will leave it at this-

fingersmith44 stars- the Uhaul is packed and ready- I bought it, I own it, I’ve watched it a million times.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: