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Country Life

Country Life

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Classic plays have been reinterpreted and reinvented into unique new works for centuries. In our next Rialto Recommends writer/director Michael Blakemore takes Chekov's Uncle Vanya and transports it to rural Australia in the 1920's in COUNTRY LIFE. Aging Australian rancher Uncle Jack (John Hargreaves) and his faithful niece, Sally (Kerry Fox), have their quiet lives disrupted by the sudden reappearance of Alexander (Michael Blakemore), Sally's father and Jack's former brother-in-law, who left the ranch to become a London theater critic some decades before. The self-important Alexander is married to the gorgeous Deborah (Greta Scacchi), whose charms soon enrapture both Uncle Jack and local doctor Max (Sam Neill), for whom Sally pines. Roger Ebert said "COUNTRY LIFE may not be the deepest Vanya I have seen, but it is the funniest, bringing out the play's buried potential for farce as well as tragedy. The performances are all spot-on, as Alex would say, and in the enigma of Deborah's choice, the waste of Jack's life, and the helplessness of Sally's love for the doctor there is the undertone of sadness that has always made the play so easy to identify with." While the New York Times said Mr. Blakemore "greatly enhances the comedy of the story. COUNTRY LIFE is Chekhov Lite, and it works best as a terrifically acted comedy of manners." COUNTRY LIFE is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Check out this forgotten gem from 1995.

Film Facts
Running Time
Historical Drama
MPAA Rating
Michael Blakemore
Sam Neill
Greta Scacchi
John Hargreaves
Directed by
Michael Blakemore
Written by
Anton Chekhov
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