Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Martha Fiennes|
|Produced by||Simon Bosanquet
|Written by||Peter Ettedgui
|Based on||Eugene Onegin
by Alexander Pushkin
|Music by||Magnus Fiennes|
|Edited by||Jim Clark|
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films|
|Budget||$14 million (estimated)|
|Box office||$2,363,845 (USA, UK and Australia gross)|
Onegin is a 1999 British-American romantic drama film based on Alexander Pushkin's novel in verse Eugene Onegin, co-produced by British and American companies and shot mostly in the United Kingdom. Onegin is Martha Fiennes' directorial debut and stars her brother Ralph Fiennes in the role of Yevgeni (Eugene) Onegin, Liv Tyler as Tatiana, Irene Worth as Princess Alina and Toby Stephens as Lensky. Two other Fiennes siblings were involved in the project: Magnus Fiennes wrote the music and Sophie Fiennes appeared in a minor role.
In early 19th century Russia, Onegin, a bored St Petersburg socialite, inherits his uncle's estate in the country. There he meets a neighbouring landowner and poet, and a widowed mother and her two daughters. The poet is engaged to the elder daughter. Her sister writes Onegin a passionate love letter but is cruelly spurned by him. His flirtatious attentions towards the poet's fiancée leads to a duel, and the death of the poet. Onegin disappears. On his return, six years later, he encounters the woman he spurned, who is now married to a prince. Onegin begs her forgiveness for his past behaviour. The film compresses the events of the novel somewhat; for example, the Naming Day celebrations take place on the same day as Onegin's speech to Tatyana. As a result, Onegin's reasons for dancing with Olga and insulting Lensky are left somewhat confusing. Much like the 1988 film version, Onegin gives the impression that, during the duel sequence, Onegin shoots to kill.
- Ralph Fiennes as Evgeny Onegin
- Liv Tyler as Tatyana Larinа
- Toby Stephens as Vladimir Lensky
- Lena Headey as Olga Larinа
- Martin Donovan as Prince Nikitin
- Alun Armstrong as Zaretsky
- Harriet Walter as Madame Larina
- Irene Worth as Princess Alina
- Jason Watkins as Guillot
- Simon McBurney as Triquet
- Gwenllian Davies as Anisia
- Margery Withers as Nanya
- Geoff Mcgivern as Andrey Petrovitch
Onegin received mixed reviews, with praise for its production values and performances, but criticism was leveled at the pacing and writing. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film and said, 'There is a cool, mannered elegance to the picture that I like, but it's dead at its center. There is no feeling that real feelings are at risk here.'. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote, " An earnest but worthwhile attempt to render the Russian writer's tragic and romantic verse novel of 1833 for the screen... we are estranged from the distinctively comic savour of the original. But there still remains much that is worthwhile in this high-minded adaptation." On the more positive side though, Derek Elley of Variety said ' “Onegin” may not appeal to more cynical viewers unprepared to take the emotional leap of faith the movie demands.'
Martha Fiennes received the Best Director Award at the Tokyo Film Festival and the London Film Critics Circle's award for Best Newcomer. Onegin was also nominated for Best British Film at the British Academy Film Awards and Liv Tyler received the Golden Aries prize for Best Foreign Actress from the Russian Guild of Film Critics.
- "Onegin | BFI | BFI". Explore.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Kith and Pushkin | Film". theguardian.com. 1999-11-19. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
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