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Masterpiece? Really!!!

January 21, 2008

And now, I must eat a little bit of crow.  After all of my mockery of PBS’ Jane Austen series last week, I turned on Northanger Abbey with no small amount of trepidation.  It is tied for my favourite Austen ever, so I was a little concerned.  I shouldn’t have been!  It’s adapted by the same guy (Andrew Davies) who created the stunning Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle Pride and Prejudice adaptation.  This one strays a bit more from the book (although I’ll happily forgive it), and is unfortunately crunched into only ninety minutes (oh! if this had been even a two-preferably three-hour adaptation…).  But as my one quibble (well, other than John Thorpe’s stunning unattractiveness), that’s not too bad at all.  Felicity Jones plays an adorable, fresh-cheeked Catherine Morland who perfectly captured Catherine’s innocent frankness.  And since Henry Tilney is one of my favourite leading men of all time (even? dare I say it? sometimes eclipsing Mr. Darcy), I was stunned and delighted to see JJ Feild, who essentially looks like Jude Law’s straighter, younger brother, in the part.  He too captured Henry’s mix of charm and condescension.  Oh-I was so happy.  Just wish it could have gone on longer. :) I can see how some people might take issue with the dream sequences…they’re rather racy (the bathtub, anyone?), but if you look at the novels Catherine’s reading, it does seem justified. And they make the movie a lot funnier! Really, I’ll excuse anything in a movie that so closely captures the charm of the novel…it’s a rare thing, but this adaptation lived up to Jane Austen.

And, since I’ve discovered the magic of YouTube, any who missed it can watch it online. It begins (logically enough) at Part One (some parts have Spanish subtitles, some not). There’s also a really interesting behind-the-scenes feauture in three parts. Finally, for those of you who don’t mind a bit of spoiling (once again, it is Jane Austen), here’s a great example of an awkward kiss done in an endearing, even adorable, manner (unfortunately, I couldn’t find a shorter clip, so you have to watch the last four and a half minutes of the ending…but it’s worth it!):

And just in case you didn’t realise just how much JJ Feilds oozes charm, here’s a cute fan video that captures all of those lingering glances and deadly grins (the man makes eating soup sexy!):

I think I’m going to have to buy this one!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2008 6:05 am

    I’m glad this one was better. And the thought of Colin in those wet clothes just sent me into a flutter. *swoon*

    Sorry. hehe

  2. January 21, 2008 6:17 am

    I totally agree, Eva, this one far outshone Persuasion, at least in the charming department :) I was delighted from the first few minutes.

    Those were fun videos- thanks for sharing!

  3. January 21, 2008 8:13 am

    I really enjoyed it! It has been so long since I read Northanger Abbey that it was a refreshing experience.

  4. January 21, 2008 8:34 am

    I’ve never read Northanger Abbey but will definitely be picking it up after last nights show – I really enjoyed it (and laughed out loud at your description of John Thorpe – I couldn’t agree more)!

  5. January 21, 2008 9:53 am

    I agree. Felicity Jones is absolutely beautiful. Your comment about J.J. Feilds resembling a “younger, straighter Jude Law” is hilarious ….because it’s so true.

    While watching it last night, I swear I’ve seen the actor who played John Thorpe somewhere, and then I remembered, wasn’t he some kind of mutant killer in the X-files. It’s strange seeing someone with that distinguishable a jawline in an Austen adaptation.

  6. January 21, 2008 11:27 am

    Northanger Abbey was definitely my favourite of these new adaptions. I should re-watch it soon, since I haven’t seen it since March last year and I really, really liked Henry Tilney.

  7. January 21, 2008 2:10 pm

    Eva – just wait till you see the Andrew Davies Sense and Sensibility it was wonderful. The setting is wonderful and so realisitc.

  8. January 21, 2008 7:00 pm

    Andi, totally justified swoon! I’m right there with you. :)

    Ravenous Reader, glad you enjoyed the videos! I was charmed from the first as well.

    JenClair, it made me want to go and reread it!

    Stephanie, it is a fun one to read. :D (and what was with Thorpe?!)

    TY, that explains it! Why would someone who can be an X-files mutant play a dashing young gentleman? The part where Feild says Thorpe is more attractive than him is just hilarious!

    Love, that’s neat that the adaptations came out so much earlier for you. :)

    Juliette, I’m looking forward to it!

  9. litchickmel permalink
    January 21, 2008 7:43 pm

    Caught it late night – up until 2:30am watching it. So much better than I expected – mostly due to the total eye candy. :) I’m with you…preorder city.

  10. January 24, 2008 1:39 am

    LitChickMel, definitely eye candy! Where have they been hiding this guy?!

  11. January 26, 2008 5:58 pm

    So it wasn’t just me who adored this movie. I actually preferred the Northanger Abbey to P&P when I read them last year. I am looking forward to seeing the P&P movie though. Henry Tilman is my new boyfriend.

  12. January 31, 2008 11:16 am

    Good for you — you found a nice little treasure. I will definitely check this out.

  13. January 31, 2008 1:12 pm

    RaiderGirl, I love them both as books! I think Tilney is much more charming than Darcy, though. :)

    LK, it was a lot of fun!

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