Sunday, May 8, 2011

DVD Review - Any Human Heart


I just finished watching the PBS Masterpiece Theater miniseries Any Human Heart, starring Jim Broadbent, Matthew Macfayden and Sam Clafin as well as a host of other talented actors and actresses. The miniseries, as first brought to life through the novel by William Boyd, follows the life of fictitious author Logan Montstuart from a young man, middle age and finally senior citizen. It is through his eyes that we see the dawn of the 20th century and his role through it all. He loses his virginity to a young village girl while a student at Oxford, writes two novels that draw somewhat acclaim, marries into the wealthy class and later realizes his mistake, falls in love with “the one”, a young woman named Freya and other adventures, mishaps and mistakes that will carry him to old age. As he progresses through Life, he meets and works with author and British Intelligence agent Ian Fleming, befriends Ernest Hemingway during the Spanish Civil War and makes an enemy out of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Through his life, Montstuart claims that Life is nothing more than luck, both good and bad. However, as his friends and enemies die all around him due to old age, suicide or illness, he preserves on while always feeling a bit out of sorts with the rest of the world. Towards the end of his life, he realizes that he was quite lucky, for no matter how bad his current situation was, he always held onto the love he had for Freya who was killed in World War II while he was a prisoner of war overseas.

I first watched this miniseries on PBS earlier this year and was intrigued by the author’s life, especially when he met Hemingway (one of my literary idols). When I finally watched the entire series, I realized that I could only watch it once. Montstuart’s life was hard, painful to watch at times and sometimes downright awful, and yet he continued on because he had no other choice. I felt myself grow old with him and it was quite tiring. With that said, I still tremendously enjoyed the miniseries and felt that the actors did a superb job. Any human heart is capable of love, no matter how long it takes. Montstuart’s love for Freya lasted as long as his heart did; in fact, it was the one thing that got him through his various miseries and pains. In the end, it was Freya’s spirit that helped him die.

If you want to purchase this DVD, please go to PBS' website for details.

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