Adapted from Alexander Pushkin’s novel, this romantic tragedy concerns a brooding and snobbish St Petersburg nobleman who moves to the country, taking ownership of his dead uncle’s home and lands. While there he becomes friends with, although he feels far superior to, his next-door neighbor, and he forms an attraction for the sister of his friend’s fiancé. The beautiful young woman declares her love for him, but Eugene Onegin feels above her station. Not until years later, after she marries royalty, does he admit to himself that he loves her. “Onegin” is now playing on several cable movie stations, including Starz! Theater.
Moody and purposely slow paced, this incisive character study is well acted and engrossing. Rather than focusing on romantic implications, the script examines the foolishness of caste systems. Although it contains a couple of mildly objectionable scenes, including a brief licentious conversation between three male friends and a sketch of a nude man, this material serves to point out the lead’s character. “Onegin” is an indictment of pretentiousness, self-indulgence, and a lack of spiritual interest. The revealing performances and exquisite cinematography make this interesting viewing, but if you are looking for something a little more uplifting, try “Sense and Sensibility.”