Jessica Green reviews Amazon Prime's recent original series The Bold Type, as it tells a story set in a fashion magazine with an empowering feminist angle for a new generationWritten by Jessica Green on 18th March 2018
Review: The Miniaturist
Redbrick's Marketing Secretary Kamila Geremek reviews a disappointing adaptation of Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, as some things transition to the small screen with less elegance than expected
The Miniaturist is a two part mini-series based on the best-selling author by Jessie Burton of the same title. It is one of my favourite books and therefore you can imagine my excitement when I heard about the BBC adaptation that would air over Christmas. Nella Oortamn (Anya Taylor-Joy) moves to Amsterdam to live with her new husband Johannes Brandt (Alex Hassell). Upon arrival she is greeted by Brandt’s sister Marin (Romola Garai) and the house servants Cornelia (Hayley Squires) and Otto (Paapa Essiedu) the tension is palpable. In order to keep Nella occupied, Johannes presents her with a dollhouse as an extravagant wedding gift and it is not until Nella writes to the miniaturist asking for certain items for her doll house, that secrets of the family begin to reveal themselves
“Anya Taylor-Joy does a brilliant job of portraying Nella as more than just an innocent hopeless protagonist, but as a woman who demands answers
The first episode does a good job of building up the tension and the mystery of the miniaturist however it falls flat and soon you can become bored and even confused as to what is actually going on. It is not until we are about 50 minutes in that things start to heat up and the final 40 minutes feel rushed with action with no real reasoning for them. Whilst I am glad that the production was so adamant on doing the book’s portrayal justice, I could have done without seeing Nella staring into the camera with a constant puzzled look on her face, with more about the miniaturist and the events that unfold following Johannes’ big secret instead. The book spends a significant number of chapters describing all the finer details of the story and for somebody who has read the book it will be a delight to see this in the mini-series. Even though it’s important for the production to not stray far from the original, it is also important to keep the audience engaged. I knew that sooner or later big things were going to happen. But if you have not read the book then you will spend most of the time wondering why you are wasting your time on a TV show that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Therefore, it no surprise that the viewing figures dropped by 400,000 by the second episode the following day.
“I almost wish they had focused on these and explored them in more detail than focusing on Nella’s obsession with marzipan
If you read the book, you will enjoy this adaptation and its true likeness to the novel. However, some things are just better left on a page and I really wish the mini-series had spent more time on the core action of the book than on building the tension, a success of the book that the show could never meet.