Our Rating: ★★★★½
L Factor: Lesbian Film
Short Take: A lesbian love story set in 19th century England, with complex characters from opposite ends of the social spectrum, both in their own desperate situations.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2005
Duration: 181 min
Language: UK/English
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Aisling Walsh
Writer: Peter Ransley, Sarah Waters
Starring: Sarah Badel, Elaine Cassidy, Sally Hawkins, Imelda Staunton, Rupert Evans

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FingersmithIn a BBC adaptation of Sarah Water’s third novel, Fingersmith is a compelling period drama about conning and being conned. It’s also a lesbian love story set in 19th century England, with complex characters from opposite ends of the social spectrum, both in their own desperate situations.

Sue (Sally Hawkins,Tipping the Velvet) is a London orphan brought up by a group of fingersmiths (pickpockets). She is convinced to help in a plan to steal a young woman’s inheritance, encouraging her to marry Richard (Rupert Evans), the man with the scheme.

Once in place as Maud’s (Elaine Cassidy) maid, she finds that Maud leads the life of a virtual prisoner in her uncle’s home, and she is increasingly uncomfortable with the ultimate outcome – that Richard will marry Maud and then place her in an insane asylum.

Told from the perspectives of both Sue and Maud, the story is filled with unexpected twists and turns. Maud’s life is not what it seems, and it’s not until it is seemingly too late that the two women realize the depth of their love for one another.

After betrayal and more cons, Sue and Maud are finally reunited and able to acknowledge their feelings. Waters was the 2002 British Book Awards Author of the Year for her novel, which follows two other lesbian themed historical romances, Tipping the Velvet and Affinity. (AB)