MOVIE NIGHTS: period movies

Graphic of title for 'movie nights', large red title in centre on pink background. A crescent moon is in the centre and stars surround the title

issue no. 5

period movies

This is a risky choice for me, I often find period dramas long-winded and almost repetitive I guess. They often make a lot of the same points but with my limited knowledge of them, it is probably foolish to make such sweeping statements. I wanted to try some movies that I know are popular to give this genre a second chance. Plus, it is satisfying to explore movies you wouldn’t usually watch. Let’s do it.

πŸŽ₯ issue no. 2: women take the lead

πŸŽ₯ issue no. 3: horror-comedies

πŸŽ₯ issue no. 4: Jordan Peele’s film

movie one: little women [2019]

synopsis: Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women, each determined to live life on her own terms. [view trailer]

age rating: U

genre: drama, romance

my rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… 6/10

favourite character(s): Amy

I read the first part of the book (my copy only had the first half) so I was very eager to see the story at its completion. For the most part, it is a slow story as it is the story of a (mostly) happy family. Each of the 4 daughters has their own approach for how to build a life that makes them happy whilst living in a society that does not provide women the same rights/choices as men. For me, that is the genius of the movie as it values these women’s right to choose what suits them and how it isn’t easy, but each choice is valid in its own right.

The movie did really well at keeping me invested even with a relatively mellow plot. I loved the use of a dual timeline and how it brought the March siblings together. It felt so believable how they interacted with each other; both the laughing and the fighting. It was heartwarming to see. In fact, it was very satisfying to sink into the whole imagery of the film.

As briefly mentioned, it was the differences between each sister that helped the story stand out. Each personality was so distinct and sure of itself. It created a vibrant movie with lots of thoughtful conversation. Amy, played by Florence Pugh, stole the show for me. Often a voice that would be villainized or looked down on, but given careful consideration. Of course, Pugh is an amazing actress. My favourite scene would easily be when Amy comforts Jo after cutting her hair. It said everything about sisters to me.

final thoughts: I’d recommend it to the right audience.

movie two: pride and prejudice [2005]

synopsisSparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice? [view trailer]

age rating: U

genre: drama, romance

my rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… 7/10

favourite character(s): Mr Darcy

I watched this movie when I was 8 (?) and I didn’t care for it, it was completely blocked from my memory. So I wanted to give it another go and I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.

Lizzie is a great lead, the classic mould for period movies, but I did like the way she held her opinion and considered others. Her relationships with her sister and parents also made her easy to like. Therefore, it had a solid foundation.

This is definitely a romance film, a very artsy one. I enjoyed the imagery once again so I can see why this film is all over Pinterest. The main takeaway is the budding relationship and it was all about the angst. It is enemies-to-lovers, but focusing on feeling emotions you want to hide and the ol’ trusty miscommunication. Mr Darcy’s character type suited this romance so much. His sullen personality and natural awkwardness, all while his face says so much. I adored it. It made him very likeable to me.

The ending was great, running out the door was the perfect moment to cut for me as this entire story was the blueprint for “if you have to make them kiss to show it’s a romance, you aren’t writing a good enough romance” so I loved that it cut there. It was truly the perfect moment. All the angst and waiting were leading up to that smile.

final thoughts: I enjoyed it.

movie three: persuasion [2022]

synopsisEight years after Anne Elliot was persuaded not to marry a dashing man of humble origins, they meet again. Will she seize her second chance at true love? [view trailer]

age rating: PG

genre: drama, romance, comedy

my rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… 5/10

favourite character(s): Mary, Mr Elliott

This is an unpopular adaptation for Persuasion and it definitely isn’t for everyone. In fact, it felt like a classic movie that was made for people who don’t like classics. The trailer does prepare you for the tonality, so watch it and choose wisely.

I think you can debate whether this was a good idea or not. With various adaptations, I do actually think it makes a certain sense to do creative and different ones. Perhaps earning the title reimagining suits this style more. The film tends to approach more modern feminism instead of concerning itself with why women in the 19th century felt and act the way they do. I can see how people would be frustrated by this, yet I do enjoy the relatable charm. Bringing in modern humour and reactions.

I will say as I know little about the original story, there will be far more knowledgeable responses elsewhere. This is just how I interpreted the adaptation. Seeing it as a movie on its own; I did love the humourous nods as it brought a lot of personality to Anne. Especially in regards to Mary who was immediately my favourite with a personality made for sitcoms, acted drily to be suitable for a comedy-drama. But I had no interest in the romance or love interest which probably shouldn’t have been a forgettable part. Therefore it is a middle-of-the-road film for me.

final thoughts: I’m mostly glad I’ve seen it once.

movie four: belle [2013]

synopsisThe biracial daughter, Dido Elizabeth Belle, of Royal Navy Captain Sir John Lindsay is raised by aristocratic Great-uncle Lord William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield in 18th century England. [view trailer]

age rating: 12A

genre: biography, drama, romance

my rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… 7/10

favourite character(s): Dido, Elizabeth

This movie has the strongest plot of all the ones I watched. Following Dido’s character; finding her place in the world, her relationship with her sister, the court case of slaves killed for insurance, and her relationship with her Great-uncle and the lawyer in relation to the case. The case was a heavy plot point and Dido’s involvement is limited by her position but I enjoyed how she spoke up and handled the emotions. Gugu is a talented actress and her facial expressions throughout the movie were really compelling, especially in one of the last scenes.

Another aspect of the plot was being a woman in the time and the expectation/necessity of marriage. Particularly the influence of race and class. Wealth has always been a prominent factor in giving people options with you can see reflecting in Dido and Elizabeth, who grew up as sisters. Dido is wealthy and Black, drawing comparisons to Elizabeth who is less wealthy and white. You can see this caused fractures in their relationship, but I love how ultimately it was such a positive relationship and adored their scenes together.

Romance was also a big section of the story. From poor suitors trying to gain access to her wealth to true romance where the progression is very much earned. This is a period drama where the two love interests talk (albeit during the occasional montage) more than I have ever seen before making any declarations.

There were many aspects to enjoy in this movie and I liked that it has lots of moving parts to keep my interest. I did love the acting as well. The commentary wasn’t always subtle but I think it suited the story nonetheless. Period movies are still not my favourite genre, but I found this a really good example of one.

final thoughts: I’d recommend it to the right audience.

Thank you for joining me for this watch party. Until next time…

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Do you like period movies? Which ones are your favourite? What do (or don’t) you like about them?


11 thoughts on “MOVIE NIGHTS: period movies

  1. I love a good period movie!! I adore little women and pride & prejudice. Other than that I like titanic (I never get tired of watching it lol), the handmaiden (wow) and portrait of a lady on fire (also wow)
    Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am definitely getting into them more now and I love it!
      Titanic is a classic, I always admire how impactful it feels every time. The little details when the ship sinks say so much.
      If it is the handmaiden from 2016, I loved that film too. Wow is the right word!
      Portrait of a Lady on Fire has a great name!
      Thank you so much πŸ₯°


  2. I love period movies! I feel like they’re great for relaxation, and I’ve also kind of developed a thing for watching them in Russian – the vocabulary tends to be rather simple, focused mostly on family stuff and marriage drama, which means I understand stuff! πŸ€— If you like the 2005 Pride & Prejudice adaptation, you definitely have to watch the 1995, too, though, if you haven’t yet. It’s even better!! Like, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is simply irresistible… πŸ₯°πŸ˜‚

    Speaking of Jane Austen adaptations, however, I really wasn’t a fan of the new Persuasion one πŸ˜… The voice-over and how woke it tried to be annoyed me to no end! I’m glad you seem to have enjoyed it more though.

    Also, have you seen the 1995 Sense & Sensibility adaptation? That’s another one of my Austen favorites πŸ₯°

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can totally see the relaxation element, from the music especially. It is a great idea to listen to movies in other languages; my old French teacher always suggested watching French movies. Yay on understanding the Russian!

      I have heard of the comparison on the two pride and prejudice’s and who can say no to Colin Firth! You’ve tempted me!!

      I can see why Persuasion didn’t work for you. I think growing up on sitcoms helped me with this one. πŸ˜‚

      I hadn’t seen Sense & Sensibility yet. I am definitely new to this genre and Austen in general, but I would be tempted to try more. Thank you for the rec πŸ₯°
      I am curious by the 2006 Jane Eyre adaptation too, although this is a limited series. I love Toby Stephens who plays the male lead and have always wanted to know more about the story itself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The 2006 BBC Jane Eyre adaptation is actually my favorite one! 😍 After countless disappointments, I was so happy to finally come across something that stays true to the book and also really captures the gloomy atmosphere and character relationships. So I can really recommend that one, too, and would love to know what you think of it! πŸ€—

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love period dramas! Pride and Prejudice and Emma are my favourites (both the new one with Anna-Taylor Joy and the older BBC mini series with Romola Garai). I really disliked the new Persuasion, it was painful to watch as I love the book. A quite unknown gem is The Silver Skates, a beautiful movie set in late 19th century Russia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great, I have enjoyed watching more recently πŸ₯° I have seen parts of Emma with Anna Taylor Joy but not in its completion yet. I’ll have to check both adaption out one day.
      I can definitely see how Persuasion wouldn’t work for you. Being oblivious to most things Austen probably worked in my favour here.
      Thank you for the rec of The Silver Skates, I hadn’t heard of it before but will be looking it up ASAP. I love seeing period dramas set in different locations too. πŸ’›

      Liked by 1 person

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