While Kempton teases the police by sending clues, he offers to return the painting on the condition that the government will take greater care of its elderly citizens. When he finally returns the portrait and has his day in court, the trial becomes much more than it was expected to be.
I love this movie. Broadbent and Mirren are at the top of their game. What makes this film special is that it is a reminder that one person can change the world, even if they don’t have the logistics quite down. It has humor, it has heart, and it is simply a good reason to go to the theater.
World War II was if nothing else, a game-changer. While the men were at war, women had career opportunities that were previously denied to them.
The television series, The Bletchley Circle (2012-2014) followed five former employees of Bletchley Park. Millie (Rachael Stirling), Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin), Jean (Julie Graham), Lucy (Sophie Rundle), and Alice (Hattie Morahan) whose job was to help win the war. Now that the men have come home, the women have returned to the traditional roles of wives and mothers. But that does not mean that the skills they used during that time have completely faded into the background. When a serial killer leaves a trail of bodies behind, the women come together to find who this person is and stop them.
I wanted to like the series. It had all of the elements of a program I would love: the era, the performers, a female-driven detective narrative. But it was unfortunately bored rather quickly and turned it off. Whatever hook exists to keep viewers coming back was lost on me.
*-This recap contains spoilers. If you have yet to read either of the the books or watch the miniseries, read at your own risk.
Jane Austen’s most famous and beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice ends happily ever after. The union of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, the reader hopes, is to be a long and blessed one.
Last year, author P.D. James took her readers 6 years into the future of this couple. Mingling the characters of Pride and Prejudice with murder mystery, Death Comes To Pemberley asked viewers the following question: Who murdered Captain Denny (Tom Canton)?
Elizabeth (Anna Maxwell Martin) and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew Rhys) are in the midst of wedded bliss. Life at Pemberley has become normal. Their son, also named Fitzwilliam, is a hearty, healthy and energetic boy who wants for nothing. Georgiana (Eleanor Tomlinson) is of an age to marry. The entire household is in a frenzy, as the Lady Anne Ball is approaching. The last thing they want or need is the accusation murder on Darcy land.
Enter Colonel Fitzwilliam (Tom Ward) and Henry Alveston (James Norton). The Colonel, who is Georgiana’s c0-guardian after the death of her father, has begun to look at his young cousin differently. While the Colonel may see her in a different light, Georgiana seems to have made her choice elsewhere.
Invited to the Lady Anne Ball are Elizabeth’s parent’s, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (James Fleet and Rebecca Front). For the sake of his wife, Darcy rolls his eyes and deals with in in laws, as many men have and will do. While Mr. Bennet characteristically retreats to his son in law’s library, his wife foolishly chatters on how wonderful Mr. Wickham (Matthew Goode) is , unaware of his true nature and his attempted seduction of Georgiana.
As a the lady of the manor, one of Elizabeth’s duties is to visit those that live and work on the land. Mr. Bidwell (Philip Martin Brown) has been a loyal servant. Elizabeth has become friendly with his wife, Mrs. Bidwell (Jennifer Hennessey), his bed ridden son, Will (Lewis Rainer) and his daughter, Louisa (Nichola Burley). Louisa has just returned from visiting her sister with a child she is caring for that she has claimed is her sister’s. But there is something about the child that does not add up.
In the village near Pemberley, an argument ensues between Captain Denny and Mr. Wickham. It continues in the carriage on the ride to Pemberley. That is, until Captain Denny orders the coachman to stop and runs out in the forest. Wickham goes after him, shots are fired and Lydia’s (Jenna Coleman) screams are heard as the carriage stops in front of Pemberley. Captain Denny is found dead and Wickham is suspected of being the murderer.
Strangely, despite their strained relationship, Darcy seems to understand that Wickham is not guilty. He remembers a boy who was hanged for poaching and how they witnessed it, despite being told to stay away. Add in the mystery of a spirit haunting the woods and an unknown woman with whom Colonel Fitzwilliam was seen in conversation with about a subject that is yet to be revealed.
I read the book and saw the miniseries when it was online briefly last year. I won’t reveal anything else, but I will let you, gentle reader learn the truth on Sunday.
The only way to start my review is to say that Judi Dench is an international treasure an actress. Every performance is so nuanced and different, that the audience sometimes forgets that it is one performer playing all of these characters.
Philomena is the true story of woman’s journey to find the son she was forced to give up.
In the 1950’s, Philomena Lee (Sophie Kennedy Clark) has a son outside of wedlock. Her only home is a nunnery where she works in slave labor like conditions and is only allowed to see her son an hour a day. When her son is taken from her, Philomena is heartbroken, but never forgets her first child.
50 years later, her daughter Jane (Anna Maxwell-Martin) meets a disgraced journalist, Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) who takes up the story as a human interest piece. That leads them to Washington DC where they search for her son.
This movie is fantastic. Both Steve Coogan and Judi Dench give nuanced, understated performances. I love the yin and yang of Philomena’s faith in spite of her experiences and Martin’s lack of faith. The thing I loved most is that despite what the nuns did to her, Philomena still clings to her faith and forgives those who took her child from her.
This film and all involved deserves any and all awards send it’s way.
There are a lot fanfiction writers out there. Very few are lucky enough to not only see their work in print, but also see it on screen.
PD James’s sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley aired the UK over the past few days. I was lucky enough to see it before my American IP address prevented me from seeing it.
The 1995 Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle minieries is not only the best filmed adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but the best of the filmed adaptations of any Austen novel. Any adaptations will always bring comparisons, but this adaptations stands on its own.
Ms. James’s novel starts 6 years after the original novel ends. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are happily married with a young son. On the eve of the annual Lady Anne Ball, Lydia arrives in hysterics that Captain Denny has been murdered and her husband is in the woods surrounding Pemberley. During investigation and trial, Georgiana must choose between duty and marry her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam or choose her heart and marry Mr. Alveston.
I enjoyed it. Ms. James keeps the language and humor of the original novel, utilizing many of the leading characters while keeping the reader engaged in the mystery.
Taking the reins from Colin Firth, Matthew Rhys is a more mature Darcy who is deeply in love with his wife and aware of the responsibility of his station. Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth is a lively and outgoing as she is in the original novel, but with the experience of marriage, motherhood, as well as sharing the responsibility of running the estate. Lydia (Jenna Coleman) and Wickham (Matthew Goode), as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (James Fleet and Rebecca Front) are as they are in original novel.
I enjoyed both the book and the miniseries and I look forward to seeing it when it airs on PBS next month.