Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International [us]
1 hr. 54 min
Overwiew :In 1840s London, Rosina's beloved father is killed, so she must take a job in order to keep her deeply religious Jewish family afloat. Choosing the new name of Mary Blackchurch, she accepts a job as a governess to a wealthy gentile family in Scotland. Her responsibility is to be the friend and teacher of the Cavendishes' young daughter, Clementina, a mean-spirited, spoiled child. Mary is much more interested in the work being done by Mr. Cavendish as he attempts to perfect an early form of photography. But working closely in the laboratory soon releases feelings that change their very different worlds.
Sandra Goldbacher's debut feature film is steeped in religious overtones as Mary-Rosina struggles to maintain--and hide--her Jewish identity. Minnie Driver is excellent as Rosina, her round face almost glowing amid the deep, muted tones of Sarah Greenwood's sets. Tom Wilkinson is superb as Charles Cavendish, trying desperately to hold back his feelings, unable to break free of the repressed society that dominates him. As Charles becomes obsessed with the technical aspects of his work, Mary tries to show him the beauty that his work can create, ultimately leading to an emotional confrontation for which neither is prepared.