Tuesday, April 13, 2010

North and South and OMG my knees don't work!

So I had never seen North & South, nor read the book by Elizabeth Gaskell, but It was on my "Amazon Recommends" list and so I put it in my Netflix queue and forgot all about it. And then I started frequenting over here and got curious as to who this Richard Armitage guy is I kept reading so much about, so I finally got around to watching North & South.

Oh. My. God. Why have I never seen this? I've seen several versions of like, every Jane Austen adaptation and a small Army of Jane Eyres and this is one of the better shows I've ever seen in terms of story, production value, superior acting, and pure unrelenting hotness. RA can do more with a well-aimed glance that the majority of actors can do with some of the best dialog to be had. I was swooning for hours after watching this, and I'm afraid all of my friends on Stumbleupon were probably ready to delete me by the end of the day.

Now that I've gotten most of my fangirl squeals out of the way, I can talk about the movie. And only the movie, when I read the book I'll probably have more or otherwise to say.

Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe) is a character I definitely like and relate to, she's smart and witty (though not quite as witty as Elizabeth Bennett) and she's kind and understanding (though not quite as understanding as Jane Eyre). It's her flaws that make me like her even more, from one stubborn girl to another...I salute you. But what I love about Margaret is how really terrible crap just keeps getting piled on her, heap after heap and she keeps her back straight and takes it for the sake of those that depend on her. She doesn't apologize for the things she has to do...though she does try to make people, sometimes unsuccessfully, understand. And girlfriend is Courageous! She jumps on a man to save him from an angry mob, that takes some serious backbone (especially after watching Gangs of New York, where I learned to be truly afraid of Angry Mobs).

The other main character, Mr. John Thornton (RA) is a born survivor, smart, fiercely temperamental but also truly tender. I know most people might say his angry outbursts or scathing criticisms would be his biggest flaw, but I would say it's being a total Mama's Boy.

There are some misunderstandings and a lot of the story is dedicated to the struggle between union and industry during the industrial revolution. I love that it was more than just a love story. There is a lot of commentary on Society, Class and Gender, and Margaret and Thornton are both in the unique position of having lived both well-off (or at least comfortable) and poor at various points in their lives.

I also enjoyed that so much of the movie talked about Cotton, and where I'm from in South Carolina it's all cotton, all the time. Stuff is NASTAY. 

In any case, here is a pretty good fan-made trailer that I sent everyone with an internet connection along with the message "EEEEEEE!" So do yourself and me a favor and give it a go, will you?


Sleep Goblin said...

So *this* is what you were going on about the other day! Thank god for instant viewing. Hopefully I'll make time for this in the next few days!!!

And can I say again, I love you BBC?? And also, I'm horrified to discover that I got rid of cable just as BBC America finally decided to show new episodes of Doctor Who! *CRY* I mean, they've always showed episodes, but they like to stay at least a full season behind England, and it was TORTURE. *sigh*

Alexa Adams said...

Would you believe I just finally watched this film too? It was wonderful and you're right, Richard Armitage conveys the most amazing amount of emotion with the slightest change of expression. Now I understand why everyone goes on about him so much! I had read the book before, but not since high school. Now I want to read it again.

Bee said...

Yes, I'm definitely looking forward to the book! I've never read it, and I'm almost glad I watched the miniseries first, now I'll have an image in my head of the characters. I just watched the DVD version yesterday and there were quite a few scenes that got left out in the Miniseries that I thought made it even better if at all possible.

Sleepy G you will have to let me know what you think - also, how was CH?

I can't imagine having to wait so long to catch up on a show, remember how horrid it was waiting for the final season of BSG to start? Torture!

Traxy said...

Glad you liked it! :D And it's funny how similar it is to P&P, I mean it even has an "I love you! / Well, I don't and I never will!" scene! The commentary on the DVD is funny - in the scene where Thornton is having dinner with the other masters, apparently they shot it in sequences and RA got bored and made faces out of the stilton cheese on his plate. *giggle*

Haww. It's a good story with great actors and it's a very well made adaptation. It's written by the same person who wrote the script to JE'06 and Emma'09 btw. The book is very good too, and unusually, you get to follow parts of the story through Thornton's eyes and not just Margaret's, which you'd probably expect (compared with Austen and C Brontë).

N&S is good to convert ladies to RA-fanhood. Then again, the arguments made are so persuasive! <3

Bee said...

Yes, I can't thank you enough! I pretty much loved everything about it, (especially how bittersweet it was) and yes, I love the similarities between N&S and P&P, though I think Thornton has more spark than Darcy.

I have actually since read the book, and did enjoy it very much! Some of it was difficult to read (mostly just trying to figure out what Higgins was saying) but it was well worth it! I wish the miniseries had kept Thornton's little speech after Margaret gets hit by a rock "Oh my Margaret, my Margaret!" and of course the last line of the book made me laugh out loud.

I made one of my sisters-in-law watch it as well and now she loves N&S (and RA) as well!

phylly3 said...

Welcome to the world of Richard Armitage fandom! I am so proud of Traxy for scoring another convert! I think this miniseries is the best production ever done by the BBC and I am so glad it introduced me first to the amazing talent of Mr. Armitage, and secondly to the great writing of the sadly overlooked Elizabeth Gaskell.
If you are interested in another Arrmitage influenced blog, come on over and visit me at:
Oh yes, and by the way -- excellent trailer you posted!

Lindsey Lou said...

Oh my God, I rewatch this about once a month on Netflix Watch It Now. I freakin' love it. The music, the acting, the story: it's all amazing.