After having adapted Jude the Obscure (Jude) and The Mayor of Casterbridge (The Claim), Michael Winterbottom comes back into Thomas Hardy's world with this splendid and challenging new version of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, transported to contemporary Rajasthan in India. Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto plays the captivating Trishna, a peasant woman who lives with her large family in rural India when she meets a young British businessman, Jay. Circumstances will bring them together but social and cultural pressure will make their romance difficult. Trishna ends up being left behind as her lover reveals himself to be more and more sadistic.
Freida Pinto incarnates a vulnerable, luminous, and touching Trishna, torn between her traditional world and the modern one. Riz Ahmed is quite a revelation in the role of her charismatic and cruel suitor. Winterbottom delivers a distant, brilliant, and very personal interpretation of Hardy's novel, enhanced by a gorgeous score and some beautiful songs from Bollywood composer Amit Trivedi, added to the tasteful cinematography of dusty landscapes and teeming metropolitan areas captured in a rough-edged documentary style.