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Masterpiece: Northanger Abbey
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In Austen’s gentle parody of gothic fiction, Felicity Jones (Meadowlands) plays romance addict Catherine Morland. Invited to a medieval country house that appeals to her most lurid fantasies, she forms a close friendship with the younger son on the estate, Henry Tilney (JJ Feild, The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton), but their budding romance is mysteriously cut short. Adapted by Andrew Davies.
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JJ Field as Henry Tilney is superb. He is manly and engaging, and makes a very attractive love interest, yet you can see how his avaricious and cold father has affected him. You can almost see the unhappy little boy he must have been when he says to Catherine Morland "I envy you your happy childhood."
Strong performances are given by every actor in the film, and the script is very true to the book. I am a bit of purist, so it is delightful to see. The only negative was that the film does tend to wrap up very quickly, but possibly that is because the characters are so engaging that you want to hear and see more. The fact that it was filmed in Ireland rather than on location in Bath does not at all detract from the film. On the contrary, the verdant, lush and rugged landscapes add to the Gothic themes central to novel. It is a real joy to watch again and again.
Catherine Morland is an innocent young country girl with a love of gothic romances, and has lives an unremarkably life in a country parish. But then the wealthy Allens invite her to Bath during their vacation there, and of course she accepts -- and through balls and old acquaintances, she becomes friends with two pairs of siblings. One is the Thorpes, the uncouth dandy John and his manipulative sister Isabella, and the more mysterious Tilneys, the charming Henry and sweet Eleanor.
When the Tilneys decide to leave Bath, Catherine is invited with them, to the vast stone manorhouse of Northanger Abbey -- which is as gloomy, eerie and remote as her gothic-loving heart could wish for. What's more, she believes that there are dangerous secrets in Northanger Abbey, related to the suspicious death of the late Mrs. Tilney. But Catherine has some lessons to learn about reality and fantasy: that everyday world is not nearly as melodramatic and twisted as her novels, and that it has its own dangers and deceptions.
"Masterpiece Theatre: Northanger Abbey" does an admirable job of adapting Austen's novel, evenly balancing out its two sides -- on one hand it's a parody of all the lurid excesses of classic gothic novels, and on the other it's a subtle coming-of-age tale about a young girl who needs to figure out the difference between reality and fantasy.Read more ›
If anything, it was too short.
Most recent customer reviews
This was a sweet movie, very entertaining, love this era, I found that there was more of a friendship than a love connection but all relationships are different... Read morePublished 23 days ago by MR
Another great adaptation of a Jane Austen story. Happy to add it to my collection.Published 5 months ago by Cherilyne
One my daughter wanted.. think it even arrived in time for ChristmasPublished 6 months ago by Lamoine H Mikkelsen
Malheureusement juste en anglais. Ce serait bien de l'avoir aussi en français ou les sous-titres.Published 8 months ago by FRANCE VAILLANT
Definitely a lovely period piece that Jane Austen would have been proud to acknowledge as her own work. Good characters and, of course, a lovely story.Published 12 months ago by Gail Macmillan
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