Review: Jude (1996)


Directed by: Michael Winterbottom | 114 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Christopher Eccleston, Kate Winslet, Liam Cunningham, Rachel Griffiths, June Whitfield, Berwick Kaler, David Tennant, Ross Colvin Turnbull, James Daley, Sean McKenzie

Heavy, depressed and jet black: Jude’s world is uncompromising. This film adaptation of the cult novel “Jude The Obscure” from 1895 already caused a lot of controversy that same year. The film did it all over again a century later. Title hero Jude is a man with an eventful lifestyle and that simply provokes reactions. Title hero Jude (Eccleston) is a man of humble origins. However, the bricklayer has big plans and he wants to make it as a professor. After a failed marriage, he burns all his ships behind him and opts for education. It was not given to him. During his studies, he meets his cousin Sue (Winslet), a strong-willed, strong woman he falls for. She too for him, but she still opts for more security by marrying a teacher. When that marriage bleeds to death, nephew and niece come together. There is a baby coming. But just before that, Jude was told by his lost ex-ex that they have a son together. Whether he wants to take care of it. The brand new family tries to make the most of it, but an unmarried couple who are related and have children is not welcome in the harsh society.

“Jude” is a tough movie. The main character gets so much misery over him that it hurts. Setback after setback. The proud, but somewhat naive man let it come over him. He is spared nothing, but Jude does not break. The quirky Sue does. The couple’s children are also spared nothing, which results in a heartbreaking scene. The sober direction of Winterbottom fits perfectly with the depressed atmosphere of the film. The color palette is bleak and washed out, the music always sounds minor and the cast always looks unhealthy thanks to the sparingly used make-up. The downward spiral in which the protagonist begins is inevitable. You can see – and feel – that from the opening credits. The gloomy appearance of the film, the dark colors and the subdued playing of the cast contribute to this.

Brilliantly cast as an introverted but combative unlucky man, Eccleston puts the crushed Sue on edge by gradually transforming her open character into that of a closed and downcast human being. You want these people to have a good life. Very clever when you consider that their strange relationship (it remains family, isn’t it) is quite disturbing. In addition, they are not predominantly sympathetic characters. The lesser traits are not ignored. Strong actor film with a number of shocking depressive twists.

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