This BBC production, made in 2004 (I believe), tells the story of a middle-class woman from the South who moves to a city in the north during the industrial revolution. It tells the story of Margaret's discovery of the poverty and poor conditions of mill-life and the differences she faces in the north.
Margaret is not long in the north before she meets one of the mill owners, Mr. Thornton, who appears to be harsh and unrelenting in his treatment of the mill workers.
The tale is woven through the lives of Margaret, the mill workers, and Mr. Thornton as they each come to understand more about the other, to let down their prejudices, and to change their hearts.
The movie is nearly 4 hours long, which, I think, allows it to develop the story in more detail and over more time than a mere hour and 30 minutes. By the time one reaches the end of the story you feel so attached and moved that you are sitting on the end of your seat. The ending leaves nothing to be desired, and is a wonderful crescendo to the beautiful artistry that goes before.
I think I am to thank my friend Rachel in NZ for recommending this -- I believe she was the first to draw my attention to it.