Any Human Heart (2010)
La vie d’un écrivain qui s’étale sur plusieurs décennies : les années 20 à Paris, les années 50 à New York, les années 80 à Londres. Au cours de son parcours, il rencontre Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming et le duc et la duchesse de Kent.
Il s’agit d’une mini-série de 4 épisodes de la chaîne Channel 4.
Rôle : Wallis Simpson, la duchesse de Windsor.
Réalisateur : Michael Samuels (EastEnders, Three sisters, Our hidden lives, the last days of Lehman brothers, Winnie l’autre Mandela, The Fear…)
Scénariste : William Boyd
Distribution : Jim Broadbent, Matthew Mcfadyen, Sam Claflin (Logan Mountstuart), Hayley Atwell (Freya), Ed Stoppard (Ben Leeping), Samuel West (Peter Scabius), Julian Ovenden (Ernest Hemingway), Tom Hollander (le Duc de Windsor), Kim Cattrall (Gloria), Hollyday Grainger (Tess Scabius), Tobias Menzies (Ian Fleming), Richard Schiff (Dr Byrne), Freddie Fox (Peter Scabius jeune), Charity Wakefield (Land Fothergill), Martin McDougall (detective Melchen), Skye Bennett (Gail), Natasha Little (Allanah Mountstuart), Lydia Wilson (Monday), Ken Bones (Mr Mountstuart), Julian Rhind-Tutt (John Vivian), Amanda Hale (Ruth), Jean-Claude Bouillon (Lucien Gorse), Valerie Kaprisky (Gabrielle Dupetit), Emerald Fennell (Lottie), Hugh Skinner (Lionel Mountstuart), ….
Love and loss plague Mountstuart. While lamenting the fact that his second novel never seems to take shape, he reads aloud notes he is making in his journal. Unbeknownst to him at the time, this narrative becomes his memoirs.
From the moment, Laura Linney introduces the program until the third and final episode, mom will be on the edge of her seat. Each part ends with a cliffhanger. It’s intrigue at its finest.
I would not go so far as to say Any Human Heart is for everyone. It’s definitely for a niche audience. Particularly, those who are English-lit, history or book-to-movie nerds (like me) and those who would appreciate the quality and details of a period series that spans almost an entire century.
Los Angeles Times
It is a long journey and at times a slow one, but with more than a few delightful oases. For fans of “The Kings Speech” who wonder what became of the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson, there is the always-entertaining Tom Hollander and a gorgeously witchy Gillian Anderson to show you (it’s not pretty). Atwell’s Freya is as convincing a True Love as ever there was, and Kim Cattrall is a revelation as Sam’s third wife, Gloria, who is also lover to both Macfadyen’s and Broadbent’s Mountstuart.
San Francisco Chronicle
The one reason to endure all of this molten torpor is the quality of several performances. Broadbent, of course, is titanic in his Lear-like rage and regret. What an amazing actor he is, able to bring depth and humanity and completely distinct characterization to virtually any part he plays. Macfadyen is a one-dimensional actor who is here, as always, reliable. Claflin is quite good as the young Logan, convincing us of the character’s mix of ambition and callowness.
Kim Cattrall does her usual Kim Cattrall number as the younger Gloria, oversexed wife of Logan’s longtime friend, Peter Scabius (Samuel West). But, later on, as a much older woman facing a situation beyond her control, she delivers a poignant spot-on performance. Atwell is entirely convincing as the loving Freya. But, hands down, Anderson’s Wallis Simpson is so reptilian, you’ll regret the frustrating brevity of her part.
With the networks playing sweeps month safe, miniseries fans should not miss the three-part “Masterpiece Classic” (9 p.m., Sunday, PBS, check local listings) “Any Human Heart.” Based on the 2002 novel by William Boyd, “Heart” follows writer, art collector and ambitious lover Logan Mountstuart throughout much of the 20th century. Over the course of three weeks, he’ll be played by Jim Broadbent, Matthew Macfadyen and Sam Claflin in different stages of life.
First seen at Oxford in the 1920s, Mountstuart tries desperately to find love, or at least sex, and embarks on a career as a writer that has him rubbing elbows with Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming and others. He’s published well and published badly, develops writer’s block, becomes a journalist and witnesses the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. He marries and divorces an Earl’s daughter, has children with at least two women and all before the end of the first episode! Don’t go looking for great insights into history or literature. Simply enjoy the ride as Mountstuart experiences the tumult of History at the speed of life.
Matthew Macfadyen resumes the role of Logan in the rewarding “Masterpiece Classic” (9 p.m., Sunday, PBS, part 2 of 3) presentation of “Any Human Heart.” Recruited by friend and spymaster Ian Fleming, Logan is sent to keep track of the problematic former king and his American wife, now known as the duke and duchess of Windsor (Tom Hollander and Gillian Anderson). While not on screen for long, Anderson (“X-files,” “Bleak House”) really has a great time playing the former Wallis Simpson, a woman who turns from coquette to viper on a moment’s notice.
Chicago Now: Show Patrol
But as intimate as the film is in showing Logan’s loves, it also captures the great events of the 20th Century. We follow Logan, Forrest Gump-style, to Paris in the 1920s, the Spanish Civil War of the ’30s, World War II in the ’40s, New York in the ’50s and to London and the French countryside in the ’70s. He meets such real-life icons as Ernest Hemingway (Gulian Ovenden), Ian Fleming (Tobias Menzies) and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (an excellent Tom Hollander and frightening Gillian Anderson).
Monster And Critics
There is much more, but the quality of the casting and the premise that our lives are the result of good and bad outcomes from decisions made, and of course, the wild card of luck, make this especially adult television one to savor and enjoy. It’s not for the ADD crowd. Slow pace, languid and emotionally touching, we can all see a bit of ourselves in Logan’s end of life long look back at what was, and what could have been.
‘Heart,’ elegantly crafted mini-series
WEEKEND’S MIGHT-SEE: “Masterpiece Contemporary,” 9 p.m. Sunday, PBS.
Some novels can be simultaneously fascinating and frustrating; “Any Human Heart,” a three-part mini-series adapted from a novel, is like that.
We follow one man for 60 years, with four actors (including Matthew Macfadyen and Jim Broadbent), sharing the role. This is elegantly crafted, but he’s a mere cipher, a nonentity surrounded by large people and forces. They’re intriguing; he’s merely there.
The Daily Journal
At times fantastical but nonetheless relatable, “Any Human Heart” is a high-wire act that thrives due to the script and the performances. Boyd’s screenplay is clever, droll and human. Mountstuart is realistically fleshed out, filled with foibles, naïveté and a degree of selfishness that allow him to constantly evolve — even to the detriment of others.
The Wall Street Journal
The most enjoyable of the programs is the British-made three-part PBS Masterpiece series “Any Human Heart.” Adapted by William Boyd from his novel, it takes us on a march through the 20th century as seen through the eyes of an English writer named Logan Mountstuart.
At times elegiac and heartbreaking, witty and droll, Any Human Heart makes us realize the patterns and stories in our own lives, as well as the passage of time that marches on as we too change and alter, marry or divorce, love and lose. Just as we see an England that changes over the course of nearly 100 years, we see the changes in ourselves as well. And that’s the beauty and magic of this extraordinary piece of television, the way in which we can connect both to the other and to ourselves. It’s not one to be missed. Just make sure you have some tissues nearby.
“Any Human Heart’’ is a lush, absorbing sketch of a man and the many lives he led.
Thanks to Any Human Heart, anyone who remembers the twentieth century will spend the next three Sundays alternately in bliss and bathed in tears.
“Any Human Heart” has charm, wit, romance, poignancy and adventure. We care about Logan Mountstuart. However, he can seem like a zelig who passively shifts his way through the 20th century without vitality or purpose. A firm believer in the concept of luck, both good and bad, Logan fails to take the initiative to improve his life. He remains a “gentleman writer,” even after it is apparent that his writing can no longer sustain him.
Those who are fighting “Downton Abbey” withdrawal can take solace in the new “Masterpiece Classic” drama, “Any Human Heart,” a sweeping story of the 20thcentury as seen through the eyes of writer Logan Mountstuart.
The New York Times
“Any Human Heart” is a kind of “Forrest Gump” for the literate: an intimate, picaresque chronicling of the life of a fictional British writer who intersects with notable events, ideas and personages of the 20th century in ways both amusing and catastrophic. Based on the novel by William Boyd, who wrote the teleplay, the story is an examination of dissipated ambition — an affecting look at the ways in which the burdens of love, and living, eventually erode the aspirations of youth. Though this surely makes the enterprise sound entirely dismal, the Masterpiece Classic series (beginning on Sunday on PBS) works tirelessly to squelch the overgrowth of its bleak roots.
Bad luck to you if you dip into this fictional biography, which embraces every period cliché as Logan (portrayed through most of the film by Matthew Macfadyen) stumbles through the major events of the last century, occasionally rubbing shoulders with luminaries like Hemingway, Ian Fleming and, most colorfully, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Tom Hollander and a nearly unrecognizable Gillian Anderson) — who are portrayed as petulant and vindictive spoiled brats. Which instantly makes them more entertaining company than this cold fish of a serial adulterer. Even the people who matter to him most are sketchily drawn, while others are almost laughable caricatures, including a friend’s saucy cheating wife, purred by Kim Cattrall.
As handsome as the production is, the nature of Boyd’s novel makes the miniseries episodic, and the tone of those encounters tends to be highly uneven. While experiencing abundant tragedy in his life, the protagonist’s vulnerability doesn’t translate very well in carrying the story, even with such a stalwart trio of actors playing him. “Your past never leaves you,” the elder Mountstuart muses in his narration.
There are things to recommend in all three parts of Any Human Heart, but it’s hard to argue the whole thing holds together quite as well as it should. Boyd, the three Logans, and director Michael Samuels find startling moments in all three parts—particularly Samuels, who creates beautiful shots seemingly off the top of his head and keeps the pacing unpredictable—but the miniseries ultimately can’t overcome its problems with depicting anyone outside of Logan’s head (particularly women) and the contrivances of the plot. Any Human Heart is certainly interesting; it’s just not, ultimately, very good.
Fans of “Masterpiece Classic” who are still missing “Downton Abbey” are left to console themselves with a new three-part miniseries. “Any Human Heart” is an adaptation of William Boyd’s novel of a wayward 20th century writer. The film adapted by Boyd himself, starts with Jim Broadbent as Logan Mountstuart, looking back on his life, with Sam Claflin as the college version and the familiar Matthew Macfadyen of “Little Dorrit” and “Pride & Prejudice” as the grown man and contemporary of Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming. The main problem is that he’s such a cad, that he’s hard to love, let alone follow over six hour miniseries.
That’s not to say that he overshadows the other characters. As Logan is a man tied to many women, his various loves are appropriately charming, spunky, and intelligent: Charity Wakefield as Oxford sweetheart Land; Emerald Fennell as high-society darling Lottie; and Hayley Atwell as his new wife Freya. And because Logan’s journeys bring him face-to-face with real people, we have some excellent performances from Julian Ovenden as Ernest Hemingway, and Gillian Anderson as the Duke of Windsor’s mistress Wallis Simpson (appearing again in Part 2). If you want to immerse yourself in a rich period piece, then I heartily recommendAny Human Heart.
Audiences : environ 1, 5 millions de téléspectateurs.
2011 : BAFTA AWARDS : BAFTA TV Award for Best Drama Serial and Best Original Television Music
ROYAL TELEVISION SOCIETY : RTS Television Award for Best Actor (Jim Broadbent)