Movies set in an academic setting range from serious to silly to rebellious.
In the 2007 film St. Trinian’s, the school’s reputation for educating the next generation of British women is not the strongest. The students may not care about their school’s less than stellar reputation, but the minister of Education does. He takes on the task of reforming St. Trinian’s, not realizing that a) the school’s headmistress is his ex and b) the effort required to get the school to where he thinks it should be is almost a Herculean task. While this is happening, the school is already in danger of closing due to financial issues. Can the girls save the day by ripping off a well-known painting?
Starring Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Talulah Riley and Gemma Arterton, the film is not for everyone. But it has strong message about girl power and a cheeky sense of humor that overrides the somewhat lackluster narrative.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Returning to our childhood homes can either be a heartwarming or traumatic.
In the 2010 movie Tamara Drewe, the title character played by Gemma Arterton returns to her childhood home in the English countryside to sell her family farm after the death of her mother. It should be a simple affair, but it proves to be more complicated, especially when her neighbors get involved in the process. Tamara also has three men vying for her affection: Andy Cobb (Luke Evans) who has nursed a crush on her for years, Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), who is older, married and unfaithful to his wife and Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper), the drummer of a popular rock band.
Loosely based on the Thomas Hardy novel, Far From The Maddening Crowd, this movie is an interesting reboot of the source material. The thread that ties the narrative in the movie and the narrative in the book together is not only the question of how we would like to live our lives, but who we potentially spend our lives with.
I recommend it.
A fan satire is created on a very fine line. If it is done properly, it is Lost In Austen. If it is not done properly, it is Austenland. I’m not going to talk further about Austenland, because it is simply not worth the effort.
Amanda Price (Jemima Roper) is a Janeite. She finds solace from her job and her less than Darcy like boyfriend (who proposes marriage drunk using the tab from his beer can as an engagement ring) by reading Pride and Prejudice. She finds Elizabeth Bennet (Gemma Arterton) in her bathroom and they switch places. Amanda soon finds that she has irrevocably altered the plot of Pride and Prejudice and must find a way to set things right.
I love this miniseries. The in-jokes are there, the characters we know and love (or hate), are also there. Hugh Bonneville and Alex Kingston are perfectly cast (and age appropriate) as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. We even learn Mr. Bennet’s first name. Elliot Cowan is smoldering and sexy as Fitzwilliam Darcy.
This is the perfect Austen satire. I highly recommend this mini series to every Janeite.