uk cinemas listings

UK Cinemas

Cinema listings with film information and movie reviews

Entertainments Search:


When Russian literary giant Alexander Pushkin first published his

beloved novel "Eugene Onegin," the work was recognized as an impressive,

resounding, tragic love story. At the end of the 20th century,

originality is no longer the tale's strong suit, especially as a

contemporary feature film.

Despite the presence of marquee attractions Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler,

the final movie is better suited to Masterpiece Theater. Neither bad nor

exceptionally good, the film spends two hours slowly presenting the

details of a near-loving relationship between the title character

(Fiennes), a Russian aristocrat, and a young girl named Tatiana (Tyler).

One glance at the girl's country estate is all it takes for the couple

to instantly fall for each other. She boldly declares her feelings in a

letter to him, but the older gentleman softly rejects her desires as a

passing, youthful passion.

Six years later, after his fatal dispute with her sister's fiance and

her marriage to another nobleman, they meet again in St. Petersburg.

This time, their roles are reversed, and it is Onegin who urgently tries

to love what he can't possess.

For its first three-fourths, the movie plods along at a meticulous pace

to establish these lovers' initial relationship. While the visuals of

the characters in their period setting are tasteful and refined, the

story and its protagonists remain less than involving.

Fiennes has played this kind of human -- repressed leading man --

before, and he isn't required to stretch much beyond his usual antics.

Tyler, while seemingly a bit miscast, fares a little better as the

decent, idealistic young heroine. Also putting in serviceable

performances are Lena Headey as the older sister and Toby Stephens as

her well-meaning fiance.

Unfortunately, the filmmaking keeps the story cold and distant. Director

Martha Fiennes (Ralph's sister) and screenwriters Michael Ignatieff and

Peter Ettedgui have produced a good-looking but tired affair that fails

to movie beyond its overfamiliar trappings. By the time the hurried last

act arrives, the conclusion, intentional or not, seems indifferent and


The film works best for those who love the novel and want to see any

cinematic version of Pushkin's story. The project was obviously a love

affair for the actor's family. Besides sister Martha, sibling Magnus

Fiennes provides the music score. It's also a boon for Tyler, who shows

that she's more capable than her lackluster performance in last summer's


Overall, "Onegin" stands far beneath Fiennes' previous period piece

accomplishments in "The English Patient" and "Oscar and Lucinda." This

one isn't without artistry or merit. It's simply not artistic enough to

be memorable.

* No rating


Ralph Fiennes: Evgeny Onegin

Liv Tyler: Tatiana Larin

Martin Donovan: Prince Nikitin

Toby Stephens: Vladimir Lensky

Lena Headey: Olga Larin

A Samuel Goldwyn Films presentation. Director Martha Fiennes. Screenplay

Michael Ignatieff and Peter Ettedgui. Novel Alexander Pushkin. Producers

Ileen Maisel and Simon Bosanquet. Director of photography Remi

Adefarasin. Editor Jim Clark. Music Magnus Fiennes. Production designer

Jim Clay. Costume designers Chloe Obolensky and John Bright. Running

time: 1 hour, 46 minutes.