Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Romola Garai- Actor of the Week

Romola Garai
Romola Garai is a wonderful young English actress who has done many many period dramas in her short 29 years. She is right up there with Kate Winslet for the "Corset Queen of England" title!  For many of us, Daniel Deronda was our first exposure to her amazing talents.

Romola Garai as Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda
I think I may have to read Daniel Deronda now as I have just rewatched it and I am intrigued by Romola's character Gwendolen Harleth. Apparently F.R. Leavis (yes, THE literary critic referenced in Bridget Jones) thought that George Eliot's novel Daniel Deronda should have been named Gwendolen Harleth as the majority of the novel and all the interesting parts were about Gwendolen. the way, the dresses on Gwendolen/Romola alone make this wonderful miniseries worth watching. That and cutie Hugh Dancy! Hugh Bonneville as a baddie is pretty entertaining too.

Romola Garai in I Capture the Castle
I haven't yet seen I Capture the Castle (although just found out someone has posted it here on YouTube with the description of  "A love story set in 1930s England that follows 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, and the fortunes of her eccentric family, struggling to survive in a decaying English castle." I think I know what I will be watching tonight! Sounds amazing.

Romola Garai as Amelia Sedley with Rhys Ifans as Dobbin in Vanity Fair
In Vanity Fair, Romola plays the good-natured, lovable but fairly simple Amelia Sedley.  Romola does a good job playing the sweet Amelia who refuses to see any of her friend Becky's or her husband's shortcomings although they have many! The film rather whitewashed the sharper aspects of William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, but it is very pretty to watch and Mira Nair gave it a lovely Indian feel in all the right places. I should watch this one again sometime soon I think as I haven't seen it since 2004!

Romola Garai as Barbara Spooner in Amazing Grace

In Amazing Grace, Romola plays the strong supportive wife of main character William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffud) in his mission to abolish slavery in the British Empire. Romola does her usual awesome job and makes you really think Wilberforce couldn't have done it without her!

Romola Garai as Briony Tallis in Atonement
As the grown up Briony Tallis in Atonement, she gets the sadness of the character and the regret just right. This is a love it or hate it film. Having just said that, I didn't love it or hate it...I was just meh!

Romola Garai as Emma with Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley
Well, Romola is my golden girl for her amazing protrayal of Emma. My sister and I will never agree on this one as Gwyneth Paltrow is her fave Emma (along with that entire version) but I have been totally converted to the 2009 version with Romola and Jonny. The chemistry between the two leads and the gorgeous locations, dresses, interiors, music...I could go on and on and on. I love this miniseries and Romola Garai is one of the main reasons. Her facial expressions make me laugh out loud and break my heart. Sigh!!!

Romola Garai as Victorian prostitute Sugar in The Crimson Petal and the White
As a Victorian prostitute, Romola is transfixing in this gritty portrayal of the seedy underbelly of London in the 1870s. Not family fare by any means, but if your taste runs to the more realistic and, again I have to say, gritty, this one is fabulous. There is nudity (which considering the plot is quite necessary). In this one, you can practically smell the stench on the street. I hope it wins some awards...BAFTA?

Romola Garai in The Hour
Romola scored one of three Golden Globe nominations for her role as television producer Bel Rowley in the 1950s era drama series The Hour. I haven't been able to get my hands on this one (also starring Ben Whishaw, Anna Chancelor, Domenic West and Juliette Stevenson) I am eager to see it. Romola must have done something pretty good to catch the eye of the Hollywood Foreign Press.

So really, I can't wait to see what Romola Garai does in her 30s as she has already made her mark. You go girl!


  1. She is fantastic in Emma and Daniel Deronda, isn't she? I highly recommend reading DD, although it's very long, and humor isn't George Eliot's forte. I think the only reason the miniseries isn't more popular is because people came in expecting it to be a sweep-you-off-your-feet romance. But Eliot is more complex than that. Her main characters don't have to get together and furthermore--they were never supposed to. Personally, I would have never bought a "happy ending" between Daniel and Gwendolyn. Their relationship was completely off balance, and they were at different stages in life.

    Having said that, the book I think is a MUST READ is I Capture the Castle. It's long been one of my favorite novels. Cassandra's narration is some of the funniest I've ever read. It captures a perfect balance between humor and heart. The film, I'm sad to say, doesn't even come close to doing it justice. It's an okay film, but seriously "meh" compared to the book.

    Thanks for posting on one of my favorite actresses!

    1. Thanks for the heads up about the I Capture the Castle book. I may tackle that one before Daniel Deronda. I love humour mixed in with a great story.

      Glad you are a Romola fan too!

  2. The Hour was very good. This year I will tackle I Capture the Castle finally, so I can also watch the movie on netflix. She was pretty good in Glorious 39 also.

    1. Glad to hear that The Hour and Glorious 39 were both good. Lots of good stuff I have yet to watch.

  3. Such a versatile actress and Daniel Deronda is also where I first encountered her. Rooted for her in the beginning but glad she didn't end up with Daniel in the end!

    I have an unwatched DVD of Angel waiting for me - my only purchase on a Montreal shopping trip a couple of years ago. Mixed reviews have not enticed me to watch it anytime soon!
    Started the book and movie of I Capture the Castle but somehow got distracted - might attempt again!

    1. Hi Cheryl. Glad to know that you have trouble making time to see all these shows too!

  4. Haha, I meant to put an *end soapbox* note about Daniel Deronda on my post, but it disappeared. Sorry if that sounded to rant-ish!

  5. I also have seen her first in Daniel Deronda. I loved it. She did a fine job in emma but not my favorite. I haven't seen the others but I have the "I capture the castle" book. I just haven't read it yet. i didn't even know it had a movie. I guess i'll have to watch that.

  6. Romola is one of my favourites, I simply adore her! The first film I've seen with her was Angel (with Fassbander) and then I had to see Rory O'Shea was here. Ever since that film Romola and James McAvoy are my favourites (and Michael, too)
    I still have to see The Hour, too.
    I believe I have seen everything(!) else, except the VF as I really don't see R. Witherspoon as Becky Sharp so I don't want to watch it anyway...

  7. Romola is my favorite Emma. Its an incredible resume' already! Wonderful post.

  8. I don't care what Romola acts in, I could watch her face for hours! Angel is one of the cheesiest movies I've ever seen, but she's so breathtaking in it. I've seen most of the movies up here, but my absolute favorite is her role in the miniseries The Hour. I think she's found another time period that suits her.

    Thank you for this wonderful post!

  9. I have seen Romola Garai in Emma, DD, Angel and Antoment. My favourite role of hers is Emma she is perfect! She made me like Emma as a character and I wanted to read the book for the first time. Romola made Emma flawed and vulnerable unlike the other actresses who have played her. I love Romola and Johnny's chemistry! Romola is a great actress!

    Kate, Leeds xx

  10. She's amazing as Emma. I rewatched the miniseries recently and fell in love with her performance all over again, appreciating it even more now than the first. She's definitely now my favourite Emma and I don't think I could ever picture anyone else playing that character again.

    I'm just getting started with The Hour now.

  11. I love Romola Garai (and her extraordinary name as well). I first saw her in Atonement and didn't like her (but as it is with actors one does not know, I only saw the nerve-wracking Briony in her).
    I always thought that she along with Gemma Arterton had something special about her. Thanks for making my favourite "Emma" the actor of the week.

  12. Hola estuve viendo tu pelicula del baile en Cuba, me encanto la trama y como se dio el romance con el Cubano, aparte que tu eres hermoza y encantadora Muchos cariƱos Luis Romero Mendoza. De Chile

  13. Also she has appeared in Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant - as a convict escaping Early Colonial Australia. It was a mini-series and I'm not sure where you would find it - I enjoyed it - as much as for Romola's acting as well as for the fascinating story.




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