The major controversy of this revisionist BBC adaptation is not D. H. Lawrence’s naughty bits, but the lack of them. Gone are the four-letter words and personified genitals – just one half-embarrassed mention of “John Thomas” – while graphic sexual descriptions are replaced by soft-focus, coyly implicit lovemaking. Adaptor/director Jed Mercurio’s desire to avoid the TV trend of exploitative (particularly female) nudity is admirable, but by dismissing the racy passages as “smut” and grasping for an egalitarian, 21st-century reading, he’s produced a surprisingly conservative romance.
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