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In Trishna, Freida Pinto is a Heroine Transplanted from the Sweeping Moors to Modern Mumbai

In honor of Michael Winterbottom’s version of a Thomas Hardy classic (opening Friday), Tribeca invites you to revisit some of the most lush—and bleakly romantic— adaptations of the past 10 years. Swoon!

Acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom is no stranger to a good Thomas Hardy novel. Trishna, his adaptation of Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, is the third time the director has scripted films from the famed British novelist’s works. Winterbottom first received widespread attention for Jude, his adaptation of Jude the Obscure, which starred Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet as the tragic cousins. He next tackled Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge in The Claim, featured Wes Bentley, Milla Jovovich and Sarah Polley.

In Trishna, Winterbottom transplants Hardy’s famous story from the sweeping moors of England to modern day Mumbai. Winterbottom’s Tess is Trishna (Frieda Pinto), a maid working in a luxury hotel where she meets Jay (Riz Ahmed), an amalgam of two Hardy characters, the pious Angel and the licentious Alec. Brillantly playing off the difference between rural India and the teeming Mumbai, Wintterbottom brings a modern dynamic to Hardy’s bleak romantic classic.

To prepare you for your weekend viewing, we take at look at our favorite “bodice ripper” adaptations of the past ten years from both film and television. Ladies, get out your hankies. 


Wuthering Heights (2011)
Dir. Andrea Arnold

That is how I'm loved! Well, never mind. That is not my Heathcliff. I shall love mine yet; and take him with me: he's in my soul.

Though the film will not be out in the U.S. until October, Andrea Arnold’s fresh take on Emily Brontë’s classic novel has everyone on the festival circuit talking. One of most provocative voices in contemporary British cinema, Arnold chose to cast newcomer James Howson as Heathcliff, making him the first black actor to play the legendary character. Also starring Kaya Scodelario as the firey Catherine Earnshaw, this brilliant reinvention of one the most obsessive and destructive love story in all of literature will leave you breathless.


Persuasion (2007)
Dir. Adrian Shergold

I have loved none but you. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. Have you not seen this?

This lush adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel premiered on Masterpiece Theatre to the delight of millions of women. Sally Hawkins gives a poignant and controlled performance as Anne Elliot, the silently heartbroken heroine who, at 19, was forced to turn away her dearly loved Captain Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones) when a meddling aunt considered him beneath their family. In one of Austen’s most understated romances, Hawkins and Penry-Jones are equally moving as the separated lovers who slowly find their way back to each other through a series of coincidences and misunderstandings that can only be explained as fate.


Sense and Sensibility (2008)
Dir. John Alexander

I’ve suffered all the punishments of an attachment without enjoying any of the advantages!

This beautifully acted and photographed adaptation of Jane Austen’s seminal novel is worthy entry into Masterpiece Theatre canon. While drawing comparisons to Ang Lee’s fanastic 1995 film adaptation, this version breathes new life into the much-lauded tale of the Dashwood sisters. Noted screenwriter Andrew Davies wrote the mini-series and, thanks to the longer running time, is able to focus more on the author’s original details and supporting characters like Willoughby (played by a smoldering Dominic Cooper). With a cast including talents like Hattie Morahan, Charity Wakefield, Janet McTeer, Dan Stevens and David Morrissey, you won’t be able to look away.


Jane Eyre (2011)
Dir. Cary Fukunaga

I knew you would do me good in some way. I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you.

Charlotte Brontë’s gothic novel has been adapted countless times on both the small and big screen, but Cary Fukunaga’s take on one of the most famed romances in literature stands out from the best. Mia Wasikowska gives an other-wordly performance as Brontë’s heroine as she deftly navigates her perilous and unhappy childhood to secure a governess job at the ominous Thornfield Hall, home to Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender, at his most tortured and world weary). Fukunaga wisely plays up the supernatural elements of Brontë’s world as he masterfully guides the two lovers, torn apart by secrets and circumstance, back to each other over and across the sweeping moors.


North & South (2004)
Dir. Brian Percival

I don't want to possess you! I wish to marry you because I love you!

Adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell’s 19th century novel, this recent BBC version of North & South will leave you swooning. As much as a social commentary as it is a love story, Gaskell’s novel follows Margaret Hale (a radiant Daniela Denby-Ashe), a middle-class woman from England’s refined South, who is forced to move to Milton, an industrial Northern city, with her family. Once there, she meets John Thornton (the broodingly handsome Richard Armitage), owner of the town’s Cotton Mill, and the two clash instantly. While both characters are stubborn and undeniably attracted to each other, North & South features one of the greatest refused proposal scenes of all times before the two finally realize that they belong together.


Trishna opens in theaters this Friday in New York and LA. For tickets, click here. The film will also premiere on VOD on July 20.

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