The Making Of A Lady (2012) is Victorian era mystery or thriller of sorts, based loosely on Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Making of a Marchioness. It re-aired on PBS last fall and I meant to watch it then, so when I saw it on Netflix I took my chance. It was quite disappointing and a rather scary but with a happy ending. I'm pretty sure it wasn't much like the book, but I haven't read it yet.
I dislike doing negative reviews so I'm trying to keep this one short. This film looks good at first but it turns ugly in the middle. I don't recommend it.
Story: Poor but intelligent Emily Fox Seton accepts a marriage proposal from the older Lord James Walderhurst, a widower pushed into providing an heir by his haughty aunt Maria, Emily's employer. It is an arrangement for them both - in James' case to stop the family home passing to James' cousin Alec Osborn and his Anglo-Indian wife Hester. However affection soon grows between them but James is posted to India with his regiment and the Osborns come to stay with Emily, telling her James sent them to look after her. But they have lied and Alec's alarming mood swings brought on by illness threatens Emily's pregnancy and drives the staff away. Soon Emily realizes that the couple mean to kill her and take the house for themselves. With only her loyal maid Jane for support how can she thwart their plan?
Characters & Actors:
- Lydia Wilson as Emily Fox Seton - Main character, she is kind but clever and at the same time a little bit dumb to allow the evil characters to get close to her.
- Linus Roache as Lord James Walderhurst - He marries Emily, and it's hard to figure him out at first whether he's good or bad. It seems like he could have put more protection in place for his new wife, especially if he knew his relatives were capable of murder.
- Joanna Lumley as Lady Maria Byrne - Walderhurst's aunt who does not approve of his marriage to her companion who she treats poorly. I think eventually she sees how good Emily is for her nephew.
- James D'Arcy as Captain Alec Osborn - Ugh! I usually really enjoy James D'Arcy in period drama roles but in this one he plays the crazed murdering villain and it's awful! :( And I hate that this character's name is Alec because I rather like that name.
- Hasina Haque as Hester Osborn - She's Alec's wife and does exactly what he wants her to do. You kind of want to like her but she follows his murderous schemes so it's rather impossible.
- Sarah Ridgeway as Jane - Emily's friend who comes to work as her ladies maid and all seems well until even she is beguiled by Alec.
- Souad Faress as Ameerah - Hester's loyal servant who is also from India. Unfortunately she sides with Alec over Hester in the end and puts Emily's life in danger. She's one creepy person.
- Malcolm Storry as Mr. Litton - The loyal butler who unfortunately gets killed during the film. There seems like there was a lot more that he could have done to help protect Emily, even before he was found dead.
- Claire Hackett as Mrs. Litton - The cook/housekeeper, again there seemed like she could have alerted the authorities to the murderous plot going on, even if she was afraid for her own life after the death of her husband.
The Long & The Short Of It: The movie starts out weird and turns scary, more of a Victorian era thriller similar to The Woman In White, The Moonstone and The Mystery Of Edwin Drood only slightly worse. It does have a happy ending but I'm not sure it's worth watching the creepiness of the rest of the film. It is a slightly racist story as it makes the Indian characters as the bad guys, giving a rather "they are from a different country so of course they are evil" attitude to the "good" characters. There seems like there could of been a less traumatic way to try and kill Emily at the end, she was in the priest's hole at one point so they could have just sealed up the air holes. Kind of weird that they missed out on that opportunity. I recommend you steer clear of this film at all costs!
Have you seen The Making Of A Lady (2012)?
Anybody know if the book is any good? I'm thinking about trying the audio book.