Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Based on what some consider to be Elizabeth Bowen's best novel, The Death of the Heart focuses on one of her primary themes, a young woman's first love. Portia Quayne (Jojo Cole) is orphaned, and at the age of 16 she must go live with her relatives, Anna (Patricia Hodge) and Thomas Quayne (Nigel Havers). The time is 1937, and this upper-crust couple are a bit too selfish and amoral (Anna) or just aloof (Thomas) for Portia; she cannot relate to them. Complicating matters is young Eddie (Daniel Chatto), a high-society do-nothing who awakens Portia's romantic ardor and then makes fun of her in front of her friends. Besides, he is interested in Anna. Portia cannot tolerate either her home environment or her mistreatment at the hands of Eddie, and she runs away looking for help from a sympathic Major Brutt (Robert Hardy).