Monday, February 21, 2011

Berkeley Square: Movie Review

Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis from A classic coming-of-age tale on par with Anne of Avonlea and Little Women, Berkeley Square is worth watching over and over again. This 10-episode British miniseries will awe you with its erudite script, wonderfully believable characters, high-caliber production values, meticulous Edwardian details, and topnotch acting. In fact, you will join the growing multitudes who puzzle over why the BBC decided to stop after only 10 episodes.

In 1902 three young nannies find jobs in well-to-do London households and get to know each other. Naive farm girl Lydia finds an unfamiliar world both in city life and with the progressive-thinking family who employs her. Earnest, rule-abiding Matty is a hard-working East End girl who slowly learns to loosen up. And, after a tragic affair with the eldest son of a grand Yorkshire family, Hannah's life in London is full of chilling secrets and grave life-and-death decisions. --Tara Chace

B Squared's Review: Berkeley Square is a worthy and engaging endeavor for fellow fans of period British movies.  The 10 episodes total about 8.5 hours; so this series takes longer to finish than a traditional movie.  We were skeptical about finishing the series after watching the first episode, which was less eventful than the proceeding episodes.  In retrospect, episode one does a fabulous job of introducing viewers to the main characters and providing insights into the households.  By the end of the second episode, we were completely hooked.  Lydia, Matty, and Hannah each have compelling stories.  Their characters are well-developed and masterfully acted, as are the supporting characters. We felt connected to each of the girls as well as their charges, whose own plights, despite their privileged lives will pull on you heartstrings (especially Hannah's charge, Bertie).  

Collectively, the many story lines in Berkeley Square offer happiness, sadness, loss, mystery, danger, scandal, and love...truly something for every viewer.  After reading viewer comments that alluded to loose-ends and the lack of a conclusion, we were concerned that the end would leave us disappointed.  Berkeley Square clearly could have continued into another season.  There were a few minor story lines introduced midway through the series that could have been developed in another season, but the lack of focus in the remainder of the season was not detrimental to the overall plot.  Fortunately, the final episode does provide a satisfying conclusion.  Every issue is not perfectly resolved, but it is easy to develop one's own happy ending.  In comparison to the final episode of Downton Abbey, which will continue in 2012, Berkeley Square's conclusion is much more developed and defined.  Thank goodness, because we would have been sorely disappointed if we were left "hanging" after almost 9 hours.

We will definitely watch Berkeley Square again.  It is one more British movie/series to add to our list of favorites.

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