Hello all! It’s Maria, and I hope you’ve had an excellent week so far. Mine has been interesting to date…
Anyway, I’m here to bring you another Netflix/series review–actually it’s more along the lines of a miniseries review, since it’s not quite a full series. And that miniseries is humbly called War and Peace, based on the famous novel by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. Now, I got interested in this particular miniseries not because I have read the book–because I really haven’t, the closest I have gotten to existential Russian literature is the first half of Anna Karenina, The Cherry Orchard, and Doctor Zhivago–but because I am a huge history fan, and underneath the fictional veil of the plot, there is a strong historical basis, especially that of the French invasion of Russia.
But even if you’re like me and have never read the book, once you watch the miniseries, you will want to check out the original source of its inspiration. (I haven’t done so yet, because I’ve been re-reading Harper Lee’s supposed sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird, Go Set A Watchman. But it’s still on my list of books to read, don’t worry.) Now, War and Peace cannot be found on Netflix, and I am not sure if it will ever come to Netflix, but it you have Hulu, then it is available on there.
Originally airing on BBC One in the UK (then A&E, Lifetime, and History Channel in the States) before coming to Hulu, War and Peace follows five aristocratic families before and during the French invasion of Russia. The miniseries, like the novel, starts in 1805 and ends in 1812, at the end of Napoleon’s failed efforts to conquer Russia. Though the aristocratic families and how they’re changed is the chief focus of the miniseries, particular individuals from these families are given special attention, as their personal development is of huge focus as well: Prince Pierre Bezukov (who is the most favorite illegitimate son of Russia’s most wealthiest man), Natasha Rostova (the daughter of Count Ilya Rostov and his wife Countess Natalya Rostova), Prince Andrei Bolkonsky (the son of Prince Nikolai Bolkonsky and brother of pious Marya Bolkonskaya), and Nikolai Rostov (Natasha’s older brother). Though to be fair, Nikolai is more like a secondary character, so I would safely say that Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei are the three people you want to pay attention to while watching this.
In the beginning, these three are privileged, but want their lives to have meaning, in somewhat different ways. Pierre, who is highly intelligent and idealistic, wants to change the world for the better; Natasha wants to find true love; and as for Andrei, he is continously fed up with the superficiality of society and opts to seek a higher purpose. Which he does, of course, by joining the army. (To the dismay of his wife.) Once these three are introduced to us, the viewers, their lives change in such ways that it is far from impossible to turn away.
War and Peace is eight episodes long, and basically emulates the novel from front to back cover. (The actual novel is four volumes long not including the epilogue at the end.) After finishing the miniseries in two days–yes, it is that kind of series/miniseries that you binge watch–I can safely say that it is highly engaging, will grasp your interest, and you will not want to stop watching until it’s done.
My rating: 5/5