Tag Archives: Alan Rickman

RIP Alan Rickman

*Warning: the post contains minor spoilers about the narrative and characters in Sense and Sensibility. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have watched any of the adaptations. 

Two years ago today, the world lost of one this era’s greatest actors: Alan Rickman.

My favorite Alan Rickman performance will always be Colonel Brandon in 1995 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Playing opposite Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood, his character (as it was faithfully adapted from the novel of the same name by Jane Austen), was a man who held the proverbial cards to his chest. When the audience meets Colonel Brandon in the film, he introduced as the good friend of the cousin who is renting a small cottage on his property to the newly widowed Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters. A bachelor in his mid 30’s,  he is amiable and a gentleman, but his character and his past are a mystery at that juncture in the narrative.

Over the course of the story, Colonel Brandon is revealed to be a man whose past is filled with grief and heartbreak. Rickman played the part with nuance and sensitivity, elevating the character to a new level, reminding Janeites why Colonel Brandon is one of the favorite leading men within the Jane Austen universe. Rickman himself became a fan favorite, gaining new fans and a new level of respect from the Janeite fan base.

RIP Sir. While your physical remains are gone, your spirit and your body of work will live on forever.

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Thoughts On The 14th Anniversary Of The Release Of Love Actually

14 years ago today, Love Actually hit theaters.

Set in London a month before Christmas, the movie is about eight couples whose narratives and lives are loosely entwined. Daniel (Liam Neeson) has recently lost his wife and is trying to figure out how to raise his stepson. Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is in love with Juliet (Keira Knightley). Juliet is married to Mark’s best friend Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Karen (Emma Thompson) and Harry (the late Alan Rickman) are a long time married couple. Harry’s eyes are starting to wander towards his secretary. Karen’s brother, The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) has a crush on his assistant. I could go on, but I will let the trailer speak for itself.

What I love about the movie (besides the fact that part of the cast have been in Austen adaptations) is that this movie is neither overly romantic, overly corny, nor does it bash the audience over the head that it’s Christmas. It’s about love, relationships and the need for a human connection, none of which are confined to the Christmas season or to those who celebrate Christmas.

If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It is one of the few Christmas movies, that in my opinion, are worth watching.

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Twenty One Years

It has been a very long time since I published my last fanfiction. Reviews are welcomed and appreciated.  Thank you to my friend (who shall remain nameless on the blog, but she knows who she is), who beta read the story.

*The only characters that are not mine are Marianne and Christopher Brandon. The rest I have created.

*In honor of the late Alan Rickman. Twenty one years ago, he stole our hearts as Colonel Brandon, and never gave them back to us.

Twenty One Years

Mrs. Marianne Brandon sat in her drawing room, trying not to imagine the worst. She tried to concentrate on the book, but her mind kept going back to her husband.

Two days ago, her husband, Colonel Christopher Brandon, was inspecting a tenant’s roof after a storm when he suddenly collapsed. After he was brought back to Barton Park, he lay in state between life and death.

An hour ago, Mr. Jenkins arrived to re-examine Christopher. Having examined Christopher just after he arrived at Barton Park unconscious, Mr. Jenkins returned as promised to check on the patient.

“Colonel Brandon is awake, Madam,” Andrews, the butler announced at the door away.

“Thank you, Andrews. Has Mr. Jenkins completed his examination?” Marianne asked.

“I believe he has”.

“Thank you, Andrews.” Retuning the book to the shelf, Marianne tried appear collected as she walked upstairs.

“Madam, may I have a word with you?” Dr. Jenkins asked, walked out of the bedroom.

“Of course”.

“Madam, I wish I could tell you that Colonel Brandon will recover. I can only advise you to make him comfortable and pray for an easy passing.” the doctor said solemnly.

“Thank you, Mr. Jenkins. Andrews will show you out.” The doctor disappeared down the stairs.

“Mama, is Papa dying?” Before Marianne could turn her attention to her husband, their daughter Mary, ran to her mother’s arms. At the age of 10, Mary was the youngest of her four children and a miniature of her father.

“Why don’t you go downstairs and play something for your father? Leave the door open so he can hear.” Marianne encouraged.

“Yes, Mama.”

“What did Mr. Jenkins say? Will I live forever?” Christopher asked as she entered their bedroom and sat down beside her husband. The music from the pianoforte flowed throughout the home, reaching the bedroom.

The look in Marianne’s eyes spoke volumes.

“I am sorry, my love, that I am not immortal. For you, I would become immortal.” Tangling her fingers through his, Christopher’s eyes never left Marianne’s.

Silently, Marianne climbed into their bed, letting her husband’s warmth comfort her.

“I love you.” Marianne said quietly.

“Till the day I die, my dearest Marianne.”

A week later, Colonel Christopher Brandon closed his eyes for the final time. For the last twenty-one years, Marianne Brandon had lived with the love of her life and the father of her children.

Now Christopher was gone, and it was up to her keep his legacy and their love going.

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RIP Alan Rickman

Today, the world lost Alan Rickman, one of the finest actors of  his generation.

Over the years, he played a variety of roles.

I would like to talk about three of my favorite Alan Rickman roles.

The first, is the most obvious. Professor Snape in the Harry Potter film series.

With his dark hair, dark cloak and slightly fear inspiring persona, Professor Snape appeared to be the standard villain.

But he was much more than that. His loyalty and love for Harry’s mother (and to Harry, by virtue of being her son) was so strong, that he tried to forget the angst that Harry’s father forced onto  him during their younger days and protect Harry.

The second role I am going to talk about is Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest.

Alexander Dane is a classically trained actor who has been type cast because of one science fiction role in one television program. His career, like most of his fellow actors, stuck in that one character. Rickman’s droll and disbelief is absolutely perfect.

The third and final role is my absolute favorite Alan Rickman role. If you know me, this is an obvious one. Colonel Brandon in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility.

To a woman of my age, a guy like Colonel Brandon is a catch. Steady, amiable, treats those around with respect, has a large income, but does not flaunt it, etc. But to a teenage girl like Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet), he is not the first choice of husband.

Sometimes we need a little prodding from fate to see what has been in front of us all along.

While his onscreen reunion with Winslet in last year’s A Little Chaos was not the greatest film, it was wonderful to see them on-screen together after 20 years.

RIP, sir. You will be missed by many.

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A Little Chaos Review

Chaos is not always a bad thing. It leads to change, which leads to new opportunities.

A Little Chaos is about the creation of the garden of Versailles and the landscape artists who helped to build the garden.

Alan Rickman pulls triple duty on this film. Director, co-screenwriter and stars as Louie XIV. Matthias Schoenaerts is Andre Le Notre, who is trusted with the task of building the gardens. Kate Winslet is Sabine De Barra, a widowed gardener who works with Andre to build the garden.

As Andre and Sabine work together to create the garden, forces are plotting to prevent the garden from being completed. Andre’s spiteful wife, Madame Le Notre (Helen McCrory) sees Sabine as a rival and is more than eager to sabotage her success. Louie is willing to take a gamble on garden, but will the vision become reality?

This movie is phenomenal. Twenty years after Sense and Sensibility, the chemistry between Rickman and Winslet is still there.  In the lead roles of Sabine and Andre, Winslet and Schoenaerts have the solid chemistry that makes a historical romantic drama believable.  And for my fellow Janeite’s, the Austen connection goes beyond Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet. Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice), Rupert Penry-Jones (Persuasion) and Phyllida Law (Emma, Miss Austen Regrets) all have roles in this film.

I absolutely recommend it.

A Little Chaos is presently in theaters. 

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Filed under Books, Emma, History, Jane Austen, Movie Review, Movies, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

Throwback Thursday – Galaxy Quest (1999)

In the early 1980’s, Galaxy Quest was one of the most popular shows on television. Nearly twenty years later, the cast is stuck reuniting at sci-fi conventions to pay the bills.

Believing the show to be fact and not fiction, an alien race in danger of extinction reaches out to the Captain Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen). Jason brings his skeptical crew, Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver) whose only job is to repeat what the computer has stated, Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman) a trained Shakespearean actor who plays the resident doctor/alien and Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub) the ship’s engineer onto the alien ship. With the help of uber fan Brandon (Justin Long), can the cast of Galaxy Quest help this alien race survive?

This movie is incredibly funny. What I love about this movie is that it makes fun of the entire science fiction genre and it’s fan base without malice.  The running joke of the movie is that the actors are unable to move on in their careers, constantly being typecast to a character they played decades ago.   It is one of those movies that will always make me laugh.

I recommend this movie.

 

 

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Sense And Sensibility 1995 Vs Sense And Sensibility 2008

Sense and Sensibility was Jane Austen’s first published novel. Writing under the pseudonym of “a lady”, Sense and Sensibility is the story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. When their father passes away, their elder brother inherits the family estate, Norland Park. Knowing that Norland Park is no longer their home, Elinor and Marianne, with their mother and younger sister Margaret are forced to find a new home and make a new life elsewhere.

As I did with the other novels, I’m going to compare and contrast the most recent adaptations.

1995

Cast: Elinor (Emma Thompson), Marianne (Kate Winslet), Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman), Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and John Willoughby (Greg Wise) .

  • Pro’s: Directed by Ang Lee, with a screenplay by Emma Thompson, the 1995 movie retains Austen’s voice as a writer.  It is a charming movie, for both the general movie fan and the ardent Janeite. Greg Wise looks awful good in breeches.
  • Cons: Let’s face it, as good as an actress and a screenwriter Emma Thompson is, she was far from 19 when this movie was made.  Elinor is still a teenager, regardless of the actress stepping into her shoes.

2008

Cast: Elinor (Hattie Morahan), Marianne (Charity Wakefield), Colonel Brandon (David Morrisey), Edward Ferrars (Dan Stevens)  and John Willoughby (Dominic Cooper).

  • Pro’s: With a screenplay written by Andrew Davies and the younger characters played by a whose who of  young British actors, this adaptation has a lot going for it. Davies fleshes out secondary story lines that that makes the primary story line vibrant and alive.  I also like is that the cast is age appropriate.
  • Con’s: None.

And the winner is….. I can’t decide.

 

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My Favorite Jane Austen Adaptations

Adapting a book into a performable format is complicated. It has to be true to the original novel and please the fans while appealing to the entire audience, not just the hard core fan base.

I am a Janeite. As one might be able to guess my personal library and DVD collection contains a fair amount of Jane Austen related materials.

I would to share my top three favorite Jane Austen adaptations and why these three films should be viewed as templates for any writer or filmmaker looking to adapt a book.

My criteria is the following:

1. The actors have to look the part. The chemistry has to be there. Otherwise it all falls apart. (Yes, I am looking at you, 1996 Jane Eyre. William Hurt was too old for the part of Edward Rochester and had zero chemistry with Charlotte Gainsbourg).

2. The set has to look right. Every reader has their own idea of what the setting looks like, but it has to like right.

3.  It MUST follow the book as much as possible.

That being said, here my favorite Jane Austen Adaptations

3. 1995 Sense and Sensibility

Directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson  (who also played the lead role of Elinor Dashwood), this adaptation is beautiful.

Joining Emma Thompson is Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood, Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars and Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon.

Putting aside the fact that Emma Thompson was a generation older than her character and played Elinor as if she was in her late 20’s, I have no complaints about this adaptation. I’ve read that some people didn’t think that Hugh Grant was the right actor to play Edward, but Edward Ferrars is a bit of a controversial character within Jane Austen fiction. I personally think that Dan Stevens was a better Edward, but to each their own.

2. 1995 Persuasion 

Persuasion is the last of Austen’s completed novels. It has an Autumnal feeling, sad and sweet. As if she knew deep down that this would be her last completed work.

Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds play the two leads, Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. The chemistry between them is palpable.  They are both age appropriate and look like they have experienced a bit of life.

It’s lush, it’s beautiful and as with the novel, when you think that second chances don’t happen, they do happen. So does the happiness that you thought was lost forever.

1. 1995 Pride And Prejudice

You knew this was obvious. This is the one where Colin Firth in clingy pants strips down to his knickers and white shirt and dives into the lake.

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle have some of the best on screen chemistry that I have ever seen. While I am sure they both would like the audience to look at their entire body of work and  not just this particular performance, there is no denying that whatever it is that make actors look good together on screen, they have it.

The supporting cast works. The filmmakers crossed their t’s and dotted their eyes with this production.  I still get shivers when I hear the theme song.

I recommend any of these films for any viewer or Janeite, whether they be a newbie or old fan.

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Filed under Emma, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

The Butler- Worth Every Moment and Every Award

Today I saw the new Lee Daniels movie, The Butler.

The Butler is story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a man who was born and raised in the cotton field of Georgia and worked for three decades as a White House Butler. His wife, Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) tries to support her often working husband while raising their sons Louis (David Oyelowo) and Charlie.

Against the backdrop of the Civil rights movements and Cecil’s disagreement with his oldest son, Cecil works for eight Presidents starting with Dwight Eisenhower (Robin Williams) and ending with Ronald Reagan (Alan Rickman).

This movie clocks in at 2 hours and 12 minutes. In most cases, I dislike movies that go over 2 hours, but in this case, it was well worth it.

I foresee that this movie will gain both nominations and awards come award season, especially Whitaker, Winfrey and Oyelowo.

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