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HBO's Miniseries Parade's End Explores Romance Among the Ruins of World War I

Benedict Cumberbatch  | Photo Credits: HBO

As the sun streams into an upper-class English drawing room, Sylvia (Rebecca Hall) — flame-haired, corseted, regal — stands up from her morning tea and hurls a plate at her husband, Christopher (Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch). She misses. He doesn’t even flinch.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Tietjens. The deliciously snobby (and terribly unfaithful) socialite and her unfailingly decent husband are two sides of the love triangle in Parade’s End, HBO’s five-part miniseries about longing and lies in World War I-era Britain. The third is angelic Valentine (Adelaide Clemens), an idealistic suffragette and Christopher’s soul mate. She’s everything Sylvia’s not: sensitive, faithful — and a virgin. “Valentine is this kernel of truth and innocence,” Cumberbatch says. “She’s incredibly sharp and…

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