A lovely, gentle and totally captivating film, All Creatures Great and Small is a joy. While those who are exposed to the film only after having seen the long running British TV series that followed it may have to adjust to different actors in the roles, they will be well rewarded for doing so. Creatures succeeds at something that many pictures attempt but rarely do so well -- capturing a specific place and a specific period on film. The strength of Creatures isn't in its plot, although the one it has is certainly sturdy enough. Rather, its strength lies in the way in which it uses details and small moments to tell the viewer great amounts of information, where the way in which one character looks at another conveys not just that character's opinion but the opinion of the entire town. Credit for this goes not just to the excellent cast but to the beautifully sensitive and telling direction of Claude Whatham and the intelligent and incisive screenplay by Hugh Whitemore.Simon Ward is aces as James Herriot, and Lisa Harrow is his match as his eventual love interest, but its Anthony Hopkins -- of course -- who ends up stealing scene after scene. Hopkins mines his character's eccentricity in that unique manner of his, creating an indelible portrait of a fascinating, if often irritating, country doctor.