Solomon and Gaenor [1999]

Rising Welsh star Ioan Gruffud (Titanic, Horatio Hornblower) stars as Solomon to Nia Robert's Gaenor in director Paul Morrison's OscarĀ®-nominated tale of star-crossed lovers living in the wrong place (Wales) at the wrong time (1911). Solomon is a Jewish packman who travels door to door selling fabric from his family's shop to the locals. It is on one such occasion that he meets Gaenor, the soft-spoken daughter of a miner. The attraction is mutual, but he conceals his true identity from her. A few visits (and one red dress) later, and Gaenor has fallen in love with the kindly "Sam" and has even introduced him to her family. But the more he resists her attempts to meet his family, the more she becomes convinced that hers is right and that his intentions are not honorable. Solomon is just as much in love, but he knows that his family would never accept Gaenor (any more than hers would accept him) if they knew the whole truth. In the end, it isn't his lies that put their lives in jeopardy, but the fear and intolerance the lies were meant to keep at bay. The message may be heavy handed, but Gruffud and Roberts assay their roles with conviction and skill--a portion of his dialogue is in Yiddish and hers in Welsh. While they are together, Solomon and Gaenor speak the same language. English? Yes, but more importantly, the language that knows no borders--love. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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