King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth) was not born to be king. He was the second son. His older brother Edward (who would abdicate the thrown to marry Wallis Simpson) was heir to the throne. Known to his family as Bertie, he stammered when he spoke. No one expected him to become King Of England.
The 2010 Oscar winning movie, The Kings Speech chronicled Bertie’s transformation from a man who spoke with a stammer and suffered from crippling self esteem to a King who would become the leader that Great Britain would need when World War II broke out.
Bertie (Colin Firth) is Duke Of York and third in line to the throne after his father and older brother. His wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks out a speech therapist who might help her husband. She finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian with an unorthodox treatment method. Bertie has seen several speech therapists, all whom have failed to cure him. He sees Lionel only to please his wife and is reluctant to accept his methods.
As events at home and in Europe enfold, Lionel and Bertie begin to move from the standard doctor/patient relationship to becoming friends. Lionel begins to see the man under the title and sees the potential. But can Bertie see that and rise to the challenge when fate (and his brother’s abdication) declare that he will be king?
This movie deserved every nomination and every award that it received. There is a universality to the movie. We all have flaws and scars. But when push comes to shove, can we rise above those flaws and scars or will they forever keep us down?
The treat of this movie, for my fellow Janeites is a mini 1995 Pride and Prejudice reunion. I’m not ashamed to say that one of the reasons I love this movie is that Tom Hooper had the good sense (knowing that he cast Colin Firth in the lead role) to cast Jennifer Ehle as Myrtle, Lionel’s wife (they have a brief scene together) and and David Bamber as the director of a theater that Lionel is auditioning for.
I love this movie.
About 15 years, there was a trend among Hollywood to reboot classics into stories that were palatable for the then teenage demographic.
One of these movies is Cruel Intentions.
Adapted from the novel The Dangerous Liasions, the story is transplanted from 18th century France to modern day New York City. Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar, taking a break in character and hair color from Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillipe) are step-siblings. Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon) is new to the city, her father is the new headmaster of the private school where Kathryn and Sebastian attend. She makes a public announcement to retain her virginity until she falls in love.
Kathryn and Sebastian make a bet. If Sebastian can sleep with Annette, he will get also sleep with his step-sister. If he cannot sleep with her, Kathryn will win Sebastian’s Jaguar.
This movie is well done. The plot keeps to the book and keeps the audience entertained. As an actress, Gellar shows that her range as an actress goes well beyond Buffy Summers. The fact that Phillipe and Witherspoon were married at the time throws an interesting light on their character’s relationship.
I recommend this movie.
Northanger Abbey is Jane Austen’s first completed novel, published posthumously with Persuasion after her death in 1817. The plot of Northanger Abbey becomes the blueprint for her next five novels. While Pride and Prejudice and Emma are the books that producers will turn to most often to adapt for the screen, Northanger Abbey has only been adapted a handful of times.
I have compared adaptations of four of the six novels. I have not seen the 1986 Northanger Abbey, so I will just be reviewing the 2007 adaptation of Northanger Abbey.
Catherine Moreland (Felicity Jones) is the sheltered teenage daughter of a country clergymen and his wife. The fourth of ten children, she has developed a dream like penchant for gothic novels. Mr. and Mrs. Allen, childless neighbors of the Morlands, offer to take Catherine to Bath. In her mind, Bath represents the adventure that has up to that point, only existed in her books.
Two very different sets of siblings will come into her life and provide in the adventure that she is hoping for. Mrs. Allen’s former classmate, Mrs. Thorpe, has several daughters. The eldest Thorpe daughter, Isabella (Carey Mulligan) becomes friends with Catherine while Isabella’s older brother, John (William Beck) tries to impress Catherine to point of expecting that she accept his marriage proposal.
Henry Tilney (JJ Feild) and Eleanor Tilney (Catherine Walker) make the greater impression on Catherine. They are without guile, open and amiable. When Catherine is invited to Northanger Abbey, the Tilney’s ancestral home, she immediately accepts the invitation. But Catherine, by way of her favorite novels, imagines that is a secret or two behind the gates of Northanger Abbey.
I genuinely like this adaptation. It’s well done, the screenplay closely mirrors the plot of the book and the cast is well chosen.
I recommend this adaptation.