If you love period dramas as much as we do, then you must have heard of the latest BBC adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’, which received worldwide acclaim and mixed reviews. So what was all the hype around the show?
Adapting a beloved epic novel by one of the most acclaimed writer of his time has proven to be tough task. It is one of the longest novels ever written (it amounts to around 1200 pages of reading) and one of the finest of literary achievements. The novel also has innumerous numbers of characters and different perspectives. In Tolstoy’s historical fiction, we get to know a part of Russia’s history through the eyes of the Bezukhovs, the Bolkonskys, the Rostovs, the Dolokhovs, the Drubetskoys and the Kuragins.
The novel was previously adapted by the Soviets and Hollywood but it was interesting to see a modern adaptation, which in this case consisted of a six-part episodes beautifully directed by Tom Harper and scripted by Andrew Davies.
The TV adaptation manages to convey the breathtaking Russian landscapes with some haunting Russian Orthodox choral in the background and the lavish soirées of the Russian aristocracy. It is also a TV production with the just amount of drama, action and romance we expected from a BBC adaptation that brought us ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’.
Overall, the show managed to stay true to Tolstoy’s spirit with its criticism of the venality of the Russian aristocracy through the eyes of clumsy Pierre Bezukhov, portrayed cleverly by Paul Dano. James Norton also plays a very convincing chivalrous hero Prince Andrei Bolkonsky who dreams of war heroism while Lily James succeeds in bringing to screen the innocent and romantic Natasha Rostova.
Finally, we must say that the director and the overall cast have magnificently brought to life Tolstoy’s masterpiece of heroism, redemption and forgiveness.