Acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom takes on the tragic story based on the British novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles,” about a peasant girl who gets caught up with a rich man’s son who falls for her intense beauty.
In India, Trishna (“Slumdog Millionaire’s” Freida Pinto) leaves her impoverished rural family to take a job as a maid in a luxury hotel in the city. She gets the job after being spotted by a wealthy kid on holiday with his buddies. He wants her around. Her family needs the money. It could be a big break for her. But what sacrifices will she have to make to stay in his good graces?
The rich young man, Jay (Riz Ahmed), is initially respectful toward Trishna, but once they become intimate, his interest turns to the purely sexual, forcing Trishna into more and more difficult situations.
He wants her. He doesn’t want her. She runs home, but that only makes his resolve to possess her more intense.
If you have any knowledge of the source material, you’ll know that this is not going to go well for anyone involved. But that aside, Freida Pinto is such a radiant beauty that it’s hard to take your eyes off of her. So you can imagine what Jay is going through when he struggles with the urge to be with her.
This is not a perfect movie, by any stretch, but it is a haunting tale of a desperate woman who reaches the end of her rope and reacts in a shocking, but largely understandable, way.