An embrace of life’s would-be “nothings”
It’s post World War I England, a setting marked by industrialization and hyper-intellectualism. A setting 20th century author D. H. Lawrence found ripe for a love story.
Emma Corrin stars as the titular character in director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. When Constance “Connie” Chatterley’s husband Clifford (Matthew Duckett) returns from the war paralyzed from the waist down, the couple moves to his Wragby Hall estate, near mining village Tevershall. Unable to give Connie children and unwilling to give her the affection she needs, Clifford callously suggests Connie find a lover to impregnate her.
Gradually, he drives Connie away and into the arms of the gamekeeper Oliver Mellors (Jack O’Connell). The love story between Connie and Oliver is moving, sensual, romantic. It starts with the body–and later integrates the mind.
One’s relationship to body and mind is one of Clermont-Tonnerre’s primary concerns, lifted from Lawrence’s novel itself. Enthralled with high society, Clifford values intellectualism, giving preference to the mind over the body–so much so he exploits the local coal-miners for profit even as he takes advantage of Connie as his caregiver, ignoring her bodily needs.
It’s only when Connie is free from her role as Clifford’s caregiver that she’s allowed to escape the confines of Clifford’s imposed class barriers and of her own mind–and to tap into the pleasures life has to offer. Long walks in nature, holding a baby bird, hugging a baby to her chest, lunching with a friend. And erotic pleasures with Oliver that will culminate in a love between both minds and bodies.
According to Clifford, these pleasures should all be considered “nothing. A home, love, sex, marriage, friendship, all of it…. The whole point of living is learning to accept the great nothingness of life.”
Lady Chatterley’s Lover rejects this completely. As the love story between Connie and Oliver progresses, so does Connie’s denial of Clifford’s exclusionary brand of intellectualism. The passion between Lady Chatterley and her lover is erotic; romantic; and above all, compassionate, as it transcends class barriers. Through their passion, the film becomes a touching love story–as much as a call to value equally the body and the mind.
Read More: Lady Chatterley’s Lover Ending Explained
Verdict - 8/10