Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gaskell's North and South

My sister Heather was in town this past week and besides seeing the sights in the Twin Cities, we spent several evenings and afternoons immersed in period dramas.

I have owned North and South since Mother's Day, but did not watch it until this week. WHY?!

The movie starts in the lush, green English countryside, but very quickly moves to the industrial town of Milton. At first, I did not think I was going to like the movie - the shocking first scene at the cotton mill left me wondering how I was going to love Mr. Thornton . . . which is rather crucial. <insert big sigh> I love Mr. Thornton.

Are you looking at that photo? Oh, the piercing eyes! the brooding! the anger! the tension! the frustrations and the agony! The movie is worth seeing just for the scene pictured above. "Look back, look back at me."

Beautifully filmed, the movie has an amazing cast of supporting characters. Mrs. Thornton has the deepest, most textured voice I have ever heard. I would love to listen to her read the book aloud. She hates Margaret. Hates her.
The sister is a riot and I could never figure out what she did all day? Was there anyone in town for her to hang out with?

North and South overall reminds me a lot of Pride and Prejudice, but with a much darker and more romantic feel. It also claims what must be the best period drama kiss on screen. The last scene in the bus station is utterly perfect. It is so satisfying to have a decent kiss when the lead characters finally get their acts together and profess their love (I'm looking at you Pride and Prejudice with the walking proposal that does not even merit subsequent hand holding!). The movie is one of those must own it and re-watch many times kind of film. So go, order it now!

BBC’s SUMMARY: Set against the backdrop of Victorian England’s industrial north, it follows the fortunes of Margaret Hale, one of 19th century literature’s most original heroines.

Played by Daniela Denby-Ashe, Margaret is a privileged, middle class southerner who is forced to settle in the northern town of Milton. [She] takes instant offence to the town and its people. She becomes terribly lonely and hates the dirt, noise and lack of civilisation, blaming their new way of life for her mother’s ailing health.

Her distaste for the town and its people extends to handsome and charismatic cotton mill owner John Thornton, (Richard Armitage), whom she believes epitomises everything she dislikes about the North.

However, Margaret gradually begins to settle in Milton. Her social conscience awakens and she befriends some of the local mill workers, learning about their poverty and workplace struggles.

As events conspire to throw Margaret and Thornton together, the two spirited characters have to overcome their repressed physical attraction for one another and conquer prejudices of class and circumstance.


  1. First time looking at your blog, and what do I see? "North and South!" I rented this from Netflix a while back, and loved it! I would love to get a copy of the original novel.

  2. Sigh, isn't he SO gorgeous as Thornton? I ended up with such a crush on him. Will definitely be watching my DVD many times!