'Masterpiece: The Miniaturist'
(Anya Taylor-Joy, Romola Garai, Alex Hassell, Hayley Squires, Paapa Essiedu, et al / DVD / NC-17 / (2017) 2018 / PBS)
Overview: A haunting, sumptuous period thriller, The Miniaturist tells the story of a house where, beneath the lavish beauty and privilege, lie forbidden passions and dangerous secrets.
Based on the popular novel by Jessie Burton, this three-part film stars Romola Garai, Alex Hassell, Hayley Squires, Paapa Essiedu, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Nella.
DVD Verdict: An adaptation of Jessie Burton's novel, 'The Miniaturist' tells the story of Petronella Oortman (Anya Taylor-Joy) - an 18 year old woman married off to a wealthy sugar merchant, Johannes Brandt (Alex Hassell.)
She has moved from the provinces to the thriving city of Amsterdam and living in her husband's household run by her initially severe sister in law Marin (Romola Garai) which has two servants.
The house seems to contain secrets, her husband is rather reluctant to be with her, but he does give her a dollhouse as a wedding gift. Petronella furnishes the doll house with miniature replicas that arrive as gifts.
The miniaturist making the dolls may have a second sight as her real life replicas seems to betray what is being remain hidden in the household or maybe she has just observed what was there all along in plain sight.
Petronella tries to adapt to her new life, but she is doing so without her husband's love yet he is pleasant to her.
In truth, and as you will quickly discover for yourselves, the series was gloomily lit to reflect Nella' mood. Wonderfully creative, the photography and art direction are obviously inspired by a Vermeer or Rembrandt painting.
That said, 'The Miniaturist' was definitely unsure whether it was a supernatural drama with shades of Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca" or a story of a young woman being defiant as the household's dark secrets unfold.
But that doesn't harm one's devotion to it through having read the book first (which you should all do, of course).
In closing, 'The Miniaturist' is a bold, vibrant and well-woven take on Burton's novel and wholly succeeds in transcending much of the eeriness and atmosphere of the novel onto the screen. Watch it today for yourselves (out now via PBS on DVD and Blu-ray) and immerse yourself in the cinematic portrayal of 1600's bustling, crowded city. One ruled solely by both religion and money. Downright exquisite as setting for such a broadcast, me thinks. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The Making of The Miniaturist [0.43 mins]