This beautiful rendition of George Eliot's complex novel is a pleasure to watch. Multiple plotlines are handled in a smooth and balanced way, switching from one to another seamlessly. The well-chosen title reflects the essence of the story: "Middlemarch" is a town, and the viewer gets to see the lives of so many of its people that choosing one and naming the story after them would be very difficult, if at all possible.
My interest was captured from the start by Dorothea, a wealthy, beautiful, and intelligent young woman. She ignores courtship of a handsome but shallow gentleman and surprises everyone by accepting a proposal of Mr. Casaboun, a minister who is much older than herself and is considered boring by most people. Dorothea, however, sees the depths of his knowledge and is genuinely interested in him - which makes it even more sad to see later on that their marriage is not going very well. Another storyline involves a determined young doctor, a newcomer to Middlemarch, who wants to dedicate his life to advancing medical science. His plans include building a hospital and opening a medical school, and do not include getting married, at present. However, it does not take very long for a local beauty to change the doctor's mind on the subject. Their marriage is another insightful study of character and relationship.
I have always said that if you want a good, meaningful, and clean movie that you can safely watch with your children and have them learn something from, go for period films based on classic books. This is one such movie.