The Gamekeeper’s Girl

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

Cast: Emma Corrin, Jack O’Donnell, Matthew Duckett, Joely Richardson, Faye Marsay, Ella Hunt

Running Time: 2 hours and 6 minutes

Please note this film is only available on Netflix

When celebrated British novelist D. H. Lawrence first published his controversial novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1928, almost 100 years ago, it was immediately banned for indecency and immorality. The novel was only unbanned in 1960.

This new steamy film adaptation of the infamous novel is directed by French director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre and stars The Crown actress Emma Corrin as Lady Chatterley and Jack O’Connell (Unbroken, Tulip Fever) as the rough and toned gamekeeper Oliver Mellors, a typical Derbyshire working class man.

Set in England between the World Wars, Lady Chatterley’s Lover tells the story of a young woman who marries into Landed gentry her husband Clifford Chatterley wonderfully played by Matthew Duckett. After the First World War, Lord Chatterley returns to his country estate, wealthy but crippled, left a paraplegic from being severely injured in the war. Obviously his injuries include him not being able to produce an heir to his estate, which is always vital for the continuance of the estate.

As this young and wealthy couple navigate their new situation, Clifford basically gives Connie permission to have an affair with another man, although he did not expect her to fall so passionately in love with the groundsman Mellors played with a brutish physicality by O’Connell who delivers his best onscreen work yet.

From the way the affair begins, The Mustang director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre already hints to the audience that this is going to be steamy and explicit, as the sexually frustrated Lady Chatterley expertly played by Emma Corrin first glimpses Mellors stark naked in an outdoor shower. Voyeurism and desire make for an enticing mix.

Lady Chatterley breaks all the social laws that govern strict separation between the classes in 1920’s Britain, particularly between the Landed gentry and the working class and finds an unlikely ally in Clifford Chatterley’s carer Mrs Bolton superbly played by Joely Richardson (The Patriot, Event Horizon, Red Sparrow).

As Clifford Chatterley becomes increasingly frustrated, his wife Lady Chatterley becomes increasingly fulfilled as she embarks on a passionate affair with Mellors often having trysts in the open or in his shed, close to where the other estate workers live. Naturally gossip amongst the servants ensue and soon Clifford is humiliated while Lady Chatterley departs for Venice realizing that she has to make a critical choice.

What makes Lady Chatterley’s Lover so significant is that as a romantic story it charts the sexual awakening of a young woman in which she makes the pivotal decisions, whether to stay with her husband or leave, whether to forgo her reputation and find independent love or to conform in a vicious upper class social world in which married woman have little room for manoeuvre.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is beautifully filmed and extremely well-acted and brilliantly charts a forbidden love affair of a woman that would become the Gamekeeper’s Girl. Sexually explicit and gloriously elegant, Lady Chatterley’s Lover gets a film rating of 8 out of 10 and is highly recommended viewing.

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