Friday, May 6, 2011

Any Human Heart

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am a huge fan of Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. I'm especially impressed with the work they've been turning out in the last 5-10 years. I recently had the opportunity to watch the Masterpiece adaptation of Any Human Heart, by William Boyd.

Any Human Heart is the story of the 20th Century told through the eyes of Logan Mountstuart. The story begins with Logan as a young man at Oxford in the 1930s. You discover early on that the character of Logan Mountstuart has more than his share of flaws, but you find yourself on his side despite his shortcomings.

Logan is a novelist struggling to find his next great book, but finds himself living a rather full life instead working on his novel. It isn't until the end of his life when he sorts through his many journals that he discovers he'd been recording his masterpiece all along.

Any Human Heart turns out to be a beautiful story about growing up, growing old, and the adventures and heartaches we face along the way.

The cast of this mini-series is phenomenal. I truly believe the British have cornered the market on bringing books to life. And it all begins with their actors. Sam Claflin, Matthew MacFadyen and Jim Broadbent did such an excellent job portraying young, middle aged and elderly Logan Mountstuart that the transition between actors was so smooth it was hardly noticable.

And being a huge fan of Matthew MacFadyen's, I always have to give a little extra praise for his performances. I haven't seen him in any role that wasn't wonderfully performed. He is indeed one of the greatest actors of his generation. I have and will continue to follow his career as long as he continues to act.

I also love that Masterpiece Theatre is moving forward in film technology. This was not only well acted and eloquently adapted to a screenplay, it was also very beautifully filmed and visually interesting. I loved everything about this film adaptation - the acting, the costumes, and the excellent cinematography.

But I will warn you - there are some pretty scandelous sex scenes for a Masterpiece Drama, so don't watch it with the kiddies. They are, however, an important part of the unveiling of Logan's character. He is a man with an addictive personality, and one of his addictions just so happens to be sex. It's an important flaw that shapes his life and teaches him a lot, in the end.

We all learn the greatest lessons in life from our mistakes and weaknesses, and I think that's what makes this particular story so relatable. So that's why this is my next recommendation: Any Human Heart, the Masterpiece adaptation of William Boyd's novel of the same title.


  1. Thanks for the warning...; )
    I just finished season 1 of Larkrise and I need, need, need Season 2. Is it out? My family may ban your blog as I've been RATHER unproductive this weekend as I worked my way through season 1. I do have to say, though, that I was rather proud of my daughter (she watched part with me). I asked her which boy Laura should pick and she said "Alf". I was surprised - as Lauren has a fixation on 'beauty' and I was sure she would've picked the more handsome Philip. I asked her why she picked Alf and she said it was because he tried to help the poor lady being taken away in the wagon (his mother) and he was a good guy. One of my prouder moments in motherhood so thanks for the recommendation. : )

  2. nice review! good job at the american girl brunch too, we had a fun time!