In early nineteenth century Russia, a young aristocrat, Onegin (Ralph Fiennes), disaffected by life and bored with salons and balls of St Petersburg society, goes to the countryside to take up the estate he has inherited from his uncle. There, through his friend Lensky (Toby Stephens), he meets Tatyana (Liv Tyler). Deeply attracted to the aloof newcomer, she takes the unconventional step of declaring her feelings. Fiennes and Tyler carry off the acting honours with wonderfully subtle, layered performances and Tyler’s accent a surprise.
As a directorial debut, Onegin is quite a coup. Martha Fiennes (Chromophobia, Indians Sacred Spirit) enables her cast to deliver the excellent screenplay with winning effect in this visually stunning film where characters learn that the capacity to love may be accompanied by the capacity to feel pain. Alexander Pushkin’s epic poem, Yevgeny Onegin, originally serialised between 1825 and 1832, a classic of Russian literature, was adapted for the screen by Peter Ettegui and Michael Ignatieff, nominated for their work.
Ralph Fiennes tempers inbred arrogance with such subtlety and understanding that Onegin retains a certain sympathy, even when barbed with cynicism Martha Fiennes, in her debut as director, shows a sensitivity that is both vibrant and lovely. Angus Wolfe Murray, Eyeforfilm.com
The superb cinematography, courtesy of Remi Adefarasin, that makes this an essential film to watch. The icy whites and blues look sensational, while the evocative, misty duel is full of haunting detail. Almar Haflidason, BBCfilms.com
Martha Fiennes succeeds in creating a film thats intelligent and sensitive. Mick La Salle, San Francisco Chronicle
Awards include 1999, 1999, 2000, London Critics Circle Film Awards, Best Newcomer Martha Fiennes )Z 6Sr.6bTuqojE1 v.3GX_J nDxTwxtT1T)6