Small Island (2009)
Starring: Naomie Harris
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|This poignant adaptation of Andrea Levy’s best-selling, award-winning novel explores the lives of two couples—one Jamaican, one English—whose worlds intertwine in post-World War II Britain, at a turning point in the long relationship between the two countries. Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean) and David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland) star as Hortense and Gilbert, Jamaican immigrants in a marriage of convenience, seeking opportunity despite daily struggles against racism and rejection—striving to be proud subjects of the British Empire at a time when people whose ancestors had been slaves for the empire began coming to their mother country in search of a new future. Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Last Enemy) star as their English landlords Queenie and Bernard, a conventional but mismatched couple whose long separation during the war is an awakening for Queenie, though her open heart and remarkable lack of prejudice prove to be gifts that exact a high price. Hailed by The Daily Express as “perfect Sunday evening drama—intensely acted, skillfully shot, and subtly passionate about subjects no one should ignore,” Small Island is not to be missed.|
Editor's NoteAs adapted from the bestselling 2004 novel of the same name by Andrea Levy, the miniseries SMALL ISLAND observes the experiences of two very different married couples - one Jamaican, the other British - whose lives intersect at a point in post-WWII England when the relationship between their parent countries is about to irrevocably change. David Oyelowo and Naomie Harris star as Gilbert and Hortense, Jamaican immigrants who wed in a marriage of convenience and must battle bigotry and intense social rejection from the British on a daily basis. All that they really want is to be proud and happy subjects at the United Kingdom, when it would be easy to feel resentment and fury given the circumstances: many of their fellow countrymen are the descendants of Jamaicans who had been forcibly enslaved to the British Empire in an earlier era. Meanwhile, the couple's married English landlords, Bernard (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Queenie (Ruth Wilson) are still rebounding from the experience of a lengthy wartime separation. Queenie projects an unusual attitude toward Gilbert and Hortense, given her lack of bigotry and unquestioning acceptance, but this ironically threatens to create more problems than it solves. Shot in location in Northern Ireland, this miniseries originally aired on the BBC in England, and ran on PBS in the United States, via WGBH's popular MASTERPIECE THEATRE program.
Cast & Crew
|Benedict Cumberbatch - Co-Star|
|Ruth Wilson - Co-Star|
|Paula Milne - Screenwriter|
|Sarah Williams - Screenwriter|
|Andrea Levy - Source Writer|
|David Oyelowo - Co-Star|
|John Alexander - Director|