The lives of two young women collide in an engrossing Victorian thriller that alternates between the twisting back alleyways of Dickensian London and the cloistered gloom of a Gothic mansion. Raised in a den of pretty thieves, or "fingersmiths," plucky orphan Sue Trinder (Sally Hawkins) agrees to help a con man known as Gentleman (Rupert Evans) defraud and betray wealthy heiress Maud Lilly (Elaine Cassidy). But Sue's plans are turned upside down when she falls in love with Maud. Then the women are separated--each to her own hellish prison--just as they realize the strength of their passion for each other.
Fingersmith was originally broadcast on the BBC and features Oscar-nominee and BAFTA-winner Imelda Staunton and BAFTA-nominee Charles Dance.
From Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet
, comes this twisting and twisted Victorian-era thriller with an L-word charge. Sally Hawkins stars as Sue, an orphan who grows up among the reprobates of Lant Street to become an accomplished "fingersmith" (thief). Elaine Cassidy costars as Maud Lilly, an heiress who, as a young girl, was plucked from the madhouse and raised by her stern, bibliophile uncle (Charles Dance). He makes her wear gloves at all times so as not to smudge the precious tomes he makes her read every night. Enter Richard Rivers (Rupert Evans, the otherwise sterling cast's weakest link), an artist hired to give her painting lessons. But he has designs on Maude's fortune, and recruits Sue for an elaborate con. That's when the gloves really come off. Originally broadcast on the BBC, this riveting three-part tale of illicit passion and betaryal is by turns harrowing and quite erotic (the tasteful sex scenes manage to generate heat without baring a lot of skin). The literate script reveals its feminist leanings ("You are a man and might do everything," Maude tells Richard during their first meeting. "I am a woman and might do nothing."). The superb cast includes Academy Award-nominee Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake
) as Mrs. Sucksby, a Fagin-esque character who mentored Sue, and has a few surprises for Maud, as well. --Donald Liebenson