The Return of the Native (2010) – By Jason S. Lockard

I recently received the newest film from Lickerish Media entitled "The Return of the Native" loosely based on a novel of the same name by Thomas Hardy from 1878. Let me first off explain that I was never much of a Thomas Hardy fan, but I turned on this DVD with my mind wide open and ready to enjoy this cinematic take on the novel!

The Return of the Native was the sixth novel by Thomas Hardy. It appeared in Belgravia, in twelve monthly installments from January to December 1878. The reviews were somewhat mixed. Then later, in the twentieth century, The Return of the Native became one of Hardy’s most popular novels.

This film adaptation was written by Deena Bermundez and Ben Westbrook. The story starts with a young lady who goes out to the country to spread the ashes of Jack (the grandfather she never knew) over the falls which he loved. She arrives at her aunt and uncle’s house, whom she refers to as her real grandmother and grandfather. After a casual conversation about her family and her grandparents she and her uncle get in his car and he takes her to the Druther’s Falls. While they’re driving, he tells her the story of her grandmother Colleen; a country girl with big dreams of going to New York City, but she ultimately falls in love with an aspiring school teacher named Jack. The cog in the wheel to their happy little life together is Jeremiah Wilder the store keeper who also has always had eyes for the fair Colleen, and continues to, even though she is married to Jack. The Return of the Native is a story of seduction, obsession and betrayal.

In the end I have to say the cinematography is stunning, Ben Westbrook chose a perfect location showing the beautiful Appalachian mountains in all their glory. All of the acting is pretty good throughout the film, but Caroline Clidonas as Coleen, Matt Fuhrman as Jeremiah and Director Ben Westbrook himself as Jack lead the way! The Music by Will Fly stands out taking you right into the depression era. Ben choose very interesting camera filters using color, black and white and sepia for different parts of the film! The story however in the end for me felt a bit confusing at times, and sadly, like the novel, I wished it was over long before it was!

Just like Thomas Hardy’s novels some love them others don’t this will be like that… If you love Thomas Hardy’s Novels this film will be right up your alley; if you don’t like his novels… you won’t like the film!

The DVD does comes with the bonus features: the trailer and two audio commentary tracks taking you behind the scenes of the making of this film. So if your fan of Thomas Hardy by all means pick up a copy of this film. You can get a copy of the DVD at: http://kunaki.com/msales.asp?PublisherId=125657

Moral Rating: Nothing Offensive
Audience:
Family
Genre: Drama
Length: 94 min.
Year of Release: 2010
Our Rating: C-