Movie Review: The Inheritance

February 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Book and Movie Reviews

By Donald James Parker   

I was buying things online a couple of months ago and saw a special price on a movie that looked interesting.  My family jokes that I'll buy anything that's marked down (although there is no truth to the rumor that I once bought an escalator).  I did not pass up the bargain and the movie was ordered, arrived, and sat around my house for a month.  One Sunday afternoon I finally got around to watching it.  A déjà vu feeling hit me immediately.  Could I have seen this flick already?   I shrugged it off and continued watching.  Suddenly a scene came on that I distinctly remembered.  Darn.  I had bought a movie I'd already seen.  By this time I was into it, so I continued watching and enjoying.

If you like stories from another era –- before the noise and pollution of automobiles and airplanes complicated our lives — this movie will appeal to you.  Lovers of horses will be enchanted.  One of the action scenes is a horse race in which the heroine rides to represent her master's family.  That portrayal is enhanced by the fact that women are not even supposed to ride in the saddle like a man at the time, much less race.  Do you like peeking into the life of the landed gentry?  This movie provided an excellent viewport as we watch the daily life of Massachussets' wealthy families who have servants to take care of all their needs.  Our heroine is one of the servants.

The heroine, played by Cari Shayne, is worthy of the title.   I was totally absorbed by Edith's grace, charm, beauty, and humility.  It did not surprise me in the least to discover that the movie is from a book by Louisa May Alcott, which she wrote at the age of seventeen and never published.  Little Women has always been one of the books on my favorites list.   Her heroine is not the most physically beautiful woman in the rivalry for the heart of a young and handsome male counterpart, who possessed the gallantry of a true gentleman.  However, the love she had for the family who employed her as a companion for their daughter and for the servants with whom she worked augmented the physical beauty of this female exponentially.  I don't remember the mention of God in the film, but this girl was the vision of what I think a Christian girl should be.

The rest of the cast was very good as well.  The headliner was Meredith Baxter as the mother.  Tom Conti shone as the husband/father, who quicly became one of my favorites. Thomas Gibson played the young heart throb.  

Of course any story of interest has to have some conflict.  Some of the conflict in this story is within the heart of the young servant girl who wants what she thinks she can never have.  A neighboring rich man and his son provide much of the external conflict.  More tension is provided by a visiting snobbish cousin (Brigid Brannagh), who has come to visit in the hopes of snaring the man that Edith falls in love with.   She is an expert at composing snide remarks.

I am so glad I bought this movie.  This is one I will want to watch again from time to time.  You can buy it brand new from Amazon for seven dollars.  If you're a Alcott fan, you're missing the boat, train, and plane if you don't grab this one.  

About the author:  Donald James Parker is a novelist and computer programmer who resides in Puyallup, Washington.  Check out his website at


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