Firelight

 (948)
7.31 h 43 min1998X-RayR
A governess agrees to bear a child to help her father.
Directors
William Nicholson
Starring
Sophie MarceauStephen DillaneKevin Anderson
Genres
Drama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Joss Ackland
Producers
Brian Eastman
Studio
Hollywood Pictures
Rating
R (Restricted)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

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Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

948 global ratings

  1. 77% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Dr. ScullyReviewed in the United States on November 28, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is another wonderful movie with Stephen Dillane
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This is another wonderful movie with Stephen Dillane. The acting is brilliant especially from Sophie Marceau. It is always women that pay the price for the follies of men during those earlier times. This is the tale of a governess, who being a dutiful daughter, decides to bear a child for a rich landowner in return for 500 pounds to pay for her father's debts. She forms an attachment with the landowner but she made a promise to never see him or the child again. She forms a bond when her daughter is born and even though the child is taken away, she never forgets her. She keeps a journal to keep track of the child's birthdays. Ms. Marceau conveys such raw emotion in her yearning to find her child. I won't give the rest away because the story is wonderful with many moral dilemmas along the way. The bleak scenery is a feast for the eyes. This is a must watch movie.
32 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on February 15, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful beautiful movie
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Beautiful beautiful movie. I just recently discovered this work of art while scrolling through Amazon video & couldn't stop watching - multiple times now. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous; oh, I so want to live wherever it is they filmed this movie. The performances are so very subtle, yet each action & word speak to the viewer. William Nicholson did a splendid job drawing every nuance from his actors - Louisa Louisa Louisa, why haven't you done more movies my child? I honestly didn't know who William N. was until watching this lovely piece of art, so I started looking thus finding out he had been instrumental in many of my top favorites - Gladiator anyone? This is now a classic in my personal library.
12 people found this helpful
CygneNoirReviewed in the United States on October 10, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
GREAT MOVIE WITH A FEW PLOT HOLES
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I am ashamed to admit it, but I only know Sophie Marceau from a Bond film in the 1990s & Stephen Dillane from Game of Thrones & the English version of The Tunnel. Both are here, used to great effect.

I won't rehash the story, which is rather unique. But if you want some atmospheric romance this is good.

Mr. Dillane's acting bests Ms. Marceau's here, to me, because he is given such a range. He is sad, stiff, happy, lustful, angry, & he handles it all well. You feel his character's deep sense of obligation, to his wife, his father's debts, his family. He is happy with his daughter & with the governness.

Sophie's character is mostly just quiet & a bit lacking in emotion. I know that her character is supposed to be stoic & resolved to a plan of action, based on circumstances thrust on her. The scenes with the little girl (the daughter) & about helping her leap off the screen. She is most believable as a mother.

Speaking of which, the movie makes fine points about the roles of women & of raising a child, adding extra depth to the picture. This movie also illustrates the lives of children with irresponsible parents, & how often they must take on extra or unwanted roles.

The issue of whether or not someone should remain eternally loyal, and therefore celibate & lonely, to a spouse in a vegetative state is addressed in the story. As you can see from the reviews it is not handled in a universally admired way. I can say as a woman married 18 years that I would hope my husband does what Charles does, if I were in that condition, but much sooner, pre-baby & governness! ( This is why I intend, as does he, to leave legal documentation of my wishes. If the woman could understand anything at all, I would say it was wrong, but to sit in the bed all day & night, saying nothing, hearing nothing....this is not life to me.)

Yes, there are holes in the story, like her managing to find a wealthier man in another country with her child, but still worth a view for all the performances.
7 people found this helpful
m-chanReviewed in the United States on May 21, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thrilled with my video purchase of Firelight!
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This movie was a favorite of mine on VHS, but unavailable in widescreen. It was never released on region 1 DVD, and I had to be contented with an all-region import - again in full screen, not widescreen. FINALLY, with this Amazon video, I can watch this wonderful film in widescreen - and it's super widescreen at that. It was almost a surreal experience the first time I watched it. Absolutely beautiful, better than I had expected. And I bought the SD version too, as I only have a 32" screen TV.

If you love Firelight, this is what you want! I wish I could purchase the video to download, but perhaps someday Amazon will do a made-to-order deal, where fans can purchase the film on DVD or BR in widescreen.
3 people found this helpful
Antonia MacBainReviewed in the United States on January 25, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Haunting, beautifully filmed story of love and desire.
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"Firelight" is a moving story about privilege, parenthood, and love in the early Victorian era. Elisabeth Laurier, a poor Swiss governess who has contracted to bear a child for an English aristocrat in return for a sizable sum of money to help out her father, has agreed to keep her role in the child's birth a secret. But as the years pass, she is unable to forget the cry of her daughter at birth; she goes in search of the child, now six years old and takes a job as her governess. When the father finds out, he is furious and gives her a month's notice to leave, but not before he shows her his wife, disabled for ten years in a riding accident and now little more than a vegetable. What happens in the subsequent month is a beautifully filmed story of love that will not be denied.
The acting is superb, and the scenes shot in the dead of an English winter, are exquisite. You really feel you are there in the bitter cold, warmed by the flame of sexual desire and a mother's love that will not be denied.
14 people found this helpful
Vicki HopkinsReviewed in the United States on June 29, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
Period Moviie with Some Merits
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Tucked away and steaming on Amazon is a period movie lost in the crowd - Firelight - filmed in 1997. It was written and directed by William Nicholson. Who is he, you ask? He is a novelist, playwright, and screenwriter who co-authored Gladiator, wrote Shadowlands, Nell, First Knight, and many others. The story is extremely different for a period film, yet Bronte-type familiar in its plot.

It begins with a single woman from Switzerland, named Elizabeth, in an interview with an elderly lady and an unidentified man in a chair who she cannot see. The position is unlike any job a woman would take in 1838 England. She agrees to father the stranger a child for the sum of 500 pounds and walk away giving him the baby and promising never to see him or the child again. Her motive for agreeing to do such an immoral act is only explained by one sentence - her father needs the money.

When she finally meets her employer in a discreet location by the ocean, they have sex for three nights in a row. (Prepare yourself for moaning and full breast scenes.) She knows nothing about him - his name, where he lives, and why he is seeking a child in an immoral tryst when he is married. At first, it is a cold and detached union with one purpose - to impregnate her. However, by the third time, the two see each other as individuals and form a fragile attachment that is quickly severed by their parting. Nine months later, she bears him a little girl, which she never has the opportunity to hold or see.

The story picks up eight years later with huge gaps and unexplained backstory that you are left to fill in on your own. Suddenly, Elisabeth shows up on Charles Godwin's doorstep who is the father of their child. She has been hired as a governess and meets her daughter for the first time. He is appalled that she has broken her promise and quickly goes to dismiss her but gives her one month's notice. Elizabeth is horrified to find a bratty little girl, Louisa, who is disrespectful and unschooled because governess after governess gives up on the unruly child.

Then the story takes an unseen twist. Charles is still married to a woman who lies in a coma after a riding accident ten years earlier. Like the mad wife of Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre, she is tucked away in a room, lying in a bed, unresponsive with open eyes, a paralyzed body, and the inability to move or talk. (Of course, medically speaking because she's been that way for ten years, unable to swallow food or water, you have to believe the story is plausible. It takes a bit of imagination on your part. During that era, I doubt she would have survived but a few months.)

Nevertheless, the story continues. Elizabeth forges a relationship with her daughter, but swears to Charles not to tell her the truth. As the days pass, Charles and Elisabeth rekindle their affections for one another and begin a sexual affair. So what happens next? Well, I'm not going to spoil it for you.

It's a strange plot with a lot of holes and unexplained twists and turns. The affair between Charles and Elisabeth is understandable because of their odd relationship of having had a child together. Charles is obviously lonely and love-starved because of his unresponsive wife. Elizabeth sees Charles as the man who took her virginity, gave her a child, and who she fell in love with when they first met. Louisa is angry for having no mother and obviously acting out due to her own inward pain.

Regardless of the plot holes, the movie does have endearing qualities and touching points. You can identify with the character's emotions and their motivations. However, in the end you will be left to judge the outcome on your own - was it right or wrong and will God have mercy on their souls?
6 people found this helpful
Chris AustinReviewed in the United States on May 12, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
An Underappreciated Movie
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"Firelight" tells the story of a Swiss woman in the 19th century who sells her newly born child in order to support her father and then obtains a job as a governess in the household of the family that bought her child.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has obtained a rating of only 50%, but in my view, it's very much an underappreciated movie with flawless performances by Sophie Marceau, Stephen Dillane, and Dominique Belcourt.
usra_mikadoReviewed in the United States on January 12, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Slow moving but very romantic.
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If you like rather slow moving European costume dramas this movie is for you. It's beautiful like a painting and very romantic. I enjoyed it very much. Victorian era man pays a woman to have his child since his wife cannot have children. The woman agrees to give the child to the man to raise and not contact him in any way but the mother cannot forget her baby.
3 people found this helpful
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