I stayed up a little later than I should have tonight to finish the 2006 BBC miniseries, The Line of Beauty. It’s one of the most compelling, finely acted, and moving pieces of television drama I’ve seen in years. This is one of my “I cried openly” recommendations. (Although not everyone agrees with my take!) The story centres on a young man named Nick Guest, who is taken in by some Uber-rich Tories and made almost part of the family. Nick quickly becomes like a second son in the family, in effect skyrocketing from middle class to elite overnight – all while carrying on love affairs with other beautiful young men.
Like many marvellous things in this world, The Line of Beauty just keeps giving. I went to read some reviews and see if other people were as in love with the show as me and, of course, it had to be based on a Booker prize winning novel of the same name. I was also surprised to learn when the show was made – watching it, I assumed it was vintage 80s! Then I came across this enlightening and clear-eyed piece by author Alan Hollinghurst about witnessing his characters brought to life on screen. Give it a read, some wonderful insights.
“There is only a limited usefulness in a live author when it comes to adaptation. Early on in filming, the director, Saul Dibb, and several of the actors asked me questions about the characters that I was at a loss to answer:
What would Gerald have for breakfast? What does Rachel, his elegant and wealthy wife, do all day? . . . I knew nothing about them that I hadn’t put on the page.”