I’ve been trying to figure out when the best time to do these famous mini series would be. Should I do them together? Do them to date? I’ve decided to do an entire post, not just on the mini series, but Sarah Waters. I’ll try to start chronologically.
1-TIPPING THE VELVET (2002) DIR. GEOFFERY STAX STARRING RACHEL STIRLING, KEELEY HAWES
If you are a lesbian and this mini series doesn’t come to mind in many decisions you make then I just don’t know about you.
This is a story about a young country girl who sees a Vaudeville act where the main act is a woman dressed in men’s clothing pretending to be a man.
It opened her eyes to the truth in life and in herself, much as it happens to many of us when it dawns on us that not only is gay a way people are but that duh, it’s how we are, how could I have missed it?
This miniseries is three parts.
The first part explores young love and heartbreak.
The second part explores getting past the heartbreak and finding yourself.
And the third part explores whether it’s better to choose your past or your future.
Who else feels conflicted over Nan’s choice? If you head straight for Florence then good for you, you are an adult. But damn is Kitty such an attractive thought. I know we are all relieved in the choice she makes…but still. Nothing more powerful than the battle between your past and your future.
This movie is based on the book Tipping The Velvet By Sarah Waters. I love the movie. They did an amazing job adapting it. I think that’s the ultimate plus side to having the author also help write the project. But I have to tell you, the book is much better.
As books usually are in comparison to the film, they have the opportunity to take you further into everything.
Nan’s heartbreak, the relationship between her and the maid, how scary life as a sex servant really is, how you have to think so little of yourself to take abuse, how abuse can also become addictive, the hope of new love, not feeling good enough for new love, and my absolute favorite part of the book which they changed dramatically in the movie (and for good reason) the rally.
You have got to get a copy of this and read the real ending, the real choice, the real conversations, Nan and Florence have a totally different relationship in the book than in the movie and the rally becomes a circus of past, present, and future, written with such fluidity.
Sarah Waters is an incredible writer.
I haven’t found another author who writes lesbian stories the way she does.
If you know of some, please send that information my way.
I tried out Amazon Unlimited where you can read a ton of books for free for $10/month.
For the first few months it was great. I was reading so many lesbian titles and at a pace of about a book every few days, but what I quickly found is that the lesbian genre of novels is a total wild west.
There is almost nothing but erotica or uninteresting stories about coming home again and finding love in that person you knew way back when. I’ve also noticed all the characters seem to be super models who eat nothing but chocolate cake…but that is a totally different gripe of mine.
Sarah Waters creates these intelligent, erotic, worlds without being on the nose and gives us such an amazing ride.
Though some of her plot lines are out there they often share with us the insight of incredibly real thoughts and feelings we deal with everyday.
I might not be forced to choose between being a sex servant or being on the street but I do indeed struggle with good decisions and bad decisions, often take the bad decision but learn from it just as Nan did. You can’t grow if you don’t learn from those decisions and move forward.
Ha, I just now realized Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Nan’s boyfriend in the first chapter..
2-AFFINITY (2008) DIR. TIM FYWELL STARRING ZOE TAPPER, ANNA MADELEY
I will admit to you I put this film on a few years ago and fell in and out of consciousness throughout the whole thing so I will talk about the book and give you all the links you need to make your own judgement on how you feel about the film.
This is an interesting tale about a woman who is depressed and suicidal. She takes a position at a women’s prison then starts to be drawn to a prisoner with a flower whom she comes to discover is a spiritual medium.
This is an incredibly gripping spiritual journey which touches on love, obsession, and the supernatural. I didn’t have a lot in common with the main character so it didn’t hit home as much as Sarah Waters’ other work but it’s incredibly well written.
THE PAYING GUESTS (2014) NOVEL ONLY
This is Sarah Waters’ newest book. I will be looking forward to the possibility of her having this one made into the movie. The drama is so charged, exciting, and these huge events and feelings are hidden beneath this seemingly innocuous home with lodgers.
I became so addicted to the comings and goings of these characters. I would almost compare it to watching an episode of Downton Abbey (free with Prime). Things happen but it’s the simple things which kept me so interested. Of course Sarah Waters being a master of her craft that simplicity falls at the drop of a hat but she held me from start to finish.
3-FINGERSMITH (2005) DIR. AISLING WALSH STARRING SALLY HAWKINS, ELAINE CASSIDY
I left this one for the end. This was Sarah Waters’ sophomore novel to film project and in my opinion the pinnacle of brilliance in everything she has done.
This story follows two characters, Susan a thief and Maud a lady, from childhood to adulthood in two parts.
Part 1 from Sue’s perspective, Part 2 from Maud’s.
We’ve all seen the mini series. Sally Hawkins is one of my favorite talents.
You probably saw this but she has a small part in Tipping the Velvet.
She’s been nominated for several Academy Awards and even though it’s not gay I will link you to this amazing film she did a few years ago called Happy Go-Lucky. Such a great film about being well in your 20s and living life.
Anyway, back to Fingersmith. If you haven’t read the book then you need to stop everything you are doing and get yourself a copy. This is by far one of the best books I have ever read.
It is so intelligent I don’t even know what to do with myself. I saw the film before I read the book and I was still totally dumbfounded.
Sue’s journey is almost the same as the film.
It seemed like due to time they had to choose who to focus on and they chose Sue. They made the right choice. Sally Hawkins is the powerhouse of the film and if acted, directed, or edited incorrectly Maud would cause riots…which brings me to why you need to read the book.
Maud is one of the best characters I have ever read. She has seamless layers and problems.
She is wickedly mean, sharp as a tack, and so good at every wicked underhanded choice she makes.
You can see the breakdown of her personality as she goes through this journey, you can see her power, her powerlessness.
I don’t want to tell you too much about her because you really need to read it for yourself. I read this large book cover to cover in a matter of days and re-read it four or five times over.
Sarah Waters has a few more books. I haven’t read these. From what I understand they don’t deal with lesbians. But I will read them and update this post if I need to.