Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Beyond Jane Austen: Period British Mini-Series & Movies

For fans of period British movies or mini-series, here's some titles beyond the Jane Austen fare. Hopefully some will be new to you. These are my title/version preferences; please share your favorites in the comments below! 

Jane Eyre
– 2007 version staring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. In high school I read Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Brontë) and wasn't enamored. Once I watched this version I finally understood the hype. Mark my words, Ruth Wilson will win many, many awards in her career.

North & South
– starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage. Based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell, this is a bit of a cult-classic (no, this is not the Civil War TV mini-series from the 80s...). The north and south in the title refers to the lifestyle of the more gentile south and the industrial north, which is of course, a metaphor for our main characters. The chemistry between the two is perfection.

The Buccaneers – starring Carla Gugino and Mira Sorvino. New-money American young ladies are brought to England to make matches with the cash-strapped ton. Carla Gugino shines in this early role where her character turns from a naive young lady to a morose married woman.

Little Dorritt – starring Claire Foy and Mathew Macfayden. Based on Charles Dickens' novel, Amy Dorritt (Foy) is one of the more sympathetic female characters in  Dickens' oeuvre. She braves the challenges of living in debtor's prison with her father, who is a bit of a high-maintenance diva really. Great ensemble work here. 

Wives and Daughters – starring Justine Waddell and Anthony Howell. Another story by Elizabeth Gaskell about the rocky relationship between a step-daughter and step-mother. The romance aspect is well-played.

Twelfth Night, Or What You Will - starring Imogen Stubbs and Toby Stephens. This is probably my favorite piece by Shakespeare (what can I say, I like farces). Also, Toby Stephens is really dreamy in this.