By pure chance, I came across the re-airing of PBS’ Masterpiece Classic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit. Thankfully, episodes 1 and 2 were available online, so I’m caught up and ready for episode 3 which airs this Sunday, March 18th.
In this Dickens classic, Amy (Little) Dorrit, performed beautifully by Claire Foy, is a selfless young woman who has lived her entire life in Marshalsea debtor’s prison, where she lovingly cares for her father William Dorrit. In order to provide for her family, Amy begins working for Mrs. Clennam, whose son Arthur (the gorgeous Matthew Macfadyen, Mr. Darcy from 2005’s Pride & Prejudice), returns from China after the death of his father determined to unravel a mystery prompted by his father’s final dying words, a mystery which begins to intertwine the fates of both his family and the Dorrits.
As I’ve previously mentioned in other posts, I’m a sucker for an underdog story, a sap for a love story, and a mush for a dark brooding hero (I might not have mentioned this last weakness of mine), as such, I’m overjoyed to have found this gem. The sets, scenery, and costumes are wonderful, and the actors have been perfectly cast. Claire Foy is a revelation as Little Dorrit. Ms. Foy's vulnerable face and large expressive blue eyes convey her emotions beautifully, from her compassion for her at times irrational father, to her fragile newfound love for Arthur. What can I say about Matthew Macfadyen? He’s brilliant. When I watch him in these period-pieces, whether it be as Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice or Arthur Clennam in Little Dorrit, he just is that character. It’s like the character was written for him and about him, and he’s merely stepped out of the pages of one of these great novels. It’s a true testament to his talent.
Check your local TV listings or visit PBS.org to enjoy this riveting presentation. If patience is your least favorite virtue and you detest the thought of waiting one week between episodes, then you can purchase the DVD and instead enjoy a bladder-busting Little Dorrit marathon.