I wish that I had read the novel Middlemarch before I watched the film this week. A long film, by the way, six hours of film. However, the six hours are no burden at all because this movie is fascinating with its deep character analysis along with many twists and turns. I did a little reading to prepare for this post and I believe that I can say the film follows the novel pretty well.
I think that I read some George Eliot in college, but it must not have been memorable, and I didn't really know much about her life which was fascinatingly scandalous. The main point not being that she used the pen name of George Eliot so that her work would be taken more seriously in Victorian England (her real name was Mary Ann Evans), the real scandal was that she lived as the wife of the philosopher and critic George Henry Lewes when he was already married and had a wife and three children (he believed in "open marriage"). Yes, that kind of scandal... (raise one eyebrow).
I did know how she felt about many of her comtemporary female authors (she thought they were just silly). Subsequently, I prejudged her work thinking that it would be very cynical, but I found instead that while it was very critical of social injustice, it was very liberal with people.
Middlemarch shows that even the worst people are not all bad and that the best people are not perfect. If I get into this point and try and give some examples, (there are sooooo many characters) we could be here all day. So with my one critisism that often even very good films end far too abruptly, I will recommend this film to you without reservation feeling quite sure that you'll like it, and if you don't like it... it will make you think. And, speaking for my own case, I always find that a good thing.