Monday, November 26, 2007

North and South Week!! - Day 2

Well as you will have seen from Kristie(J)'s blog post of yesterday, this week we are celebrating the greatness that is the BBC mini-series North and South. I can't talk about this amazing film without first thanking all of the nice people over at AAR who recommended the movie and mentioned it enough times to get the title lodged into my thick brain. I've never been quite so glad that I took advice from strangers. lol.

Like Kristie, sometimes when I get stuck on something, I really get stuck. Downright addicted. After watching this movie, I couldn't stop thinking about it. And yes, of course Richard Armitage's hotness factor may have something to do with it, but I like to think that it was more than just that. The whole story and the way the characters grow and change over the course of the film really stayed in my mind. It's not often that you get to watch a fair visual representation of the kind of novels you read on a regular basis, but that's exactly how I found North and South. Sure, the book isn't a classic romance novel per se, but the emphasis of the film is squarely on the developing relationship between mill owner John Thornton and bluestocking social justice heroine Margaret Hale. And rather than descend into schlocky Lifetime-movie-of-the-week cheesiness, this movie respects both the source material and the audience. Richard Armitage in particular does a fantastic job of showing Mr. Thornton's inner struggle between his responsibilities to his workers and to his company and his desire for Margaret. You can see it in his eyes, the way he holds his shoulders, the twist of his mouth. I'm completely bowled over (obviously) and I can't help but take any opportunity to help other lucky souls get a chance to watch this movie.

Anyways, enough of my rambling...without further ado, here is the second part of our girly pajama party. Be forewarned, it really was a pajama party and all of the silly squeeing one might expect from such a gathering is definitely present. Hey, we're all professional women but sometimes it's fun to kick back with the gals and go a little crazy. *g* Enjoy...

KatieBabs: So, yellow flowers?
Kristie(J): and what do they signify
KatieBabs: friendship
Sula: Remember at the beginning?
Kristie(J): Henry gave her one and it meant nothing. But John had to SEARCH to find the one he gave her
KatieBabs: Good catch!
Sula: Yeah, and those were flowers from HER house
KatieBabs: and Margaret kissed the hand that gave her the flower which is John just like he had to search his heart to let Margaret in
Sula: Part of what she missed (I think) was the countryside ‘cause the city they moved flowers
Sula: oooh

Kristie(J): I like that!
Sula: that's deep, katiebabs
Kristie(J): You rock
KatieBabs: Deep thoughts...
Sula: You know...everyone was telling me in the thread at AAR how much I was going to melt when I saw the last scene (this as I had only seen the first disc)... but I didn't really believe it until I watched the train station scene...omg

Kristie(J): The train scenes where she is looking out the window. The movie starts with that and ends with it
KatieBabs: But what does the train rides mean?
Kristie(J): A journey to a new life
KatieBabs: The train scene is one of the most romantic I have ever watched in movies or TV
Sula: Yes exactly, Katiebabs
Kristie(J): It is isn't it!
Sula: It was like..."this is IT!" This is what romance is all about! This is why I read this stuff!
Kristie(J): Yep! A visual of what we read and why we love it so
Sula: Exactly! And the actors played it so well
KatieBabs: When Margaret kisses his hands and then he grabs her face and they kiss like no tomorrow and her poor sad sap neighbor is watching, I started clapping.
Kristie(J): He doesn't grab her face. *g* He gently touches it
Sula: I was squeeing...quite literally tenderly holds it. I think the word caress would work
KatieBabs: He touches her face so sexily. If I was him I would have found a train outhouse for an hour *g*
Kristie(J): Although I think it was out of character for the times - that scene made the movie
Sula: Well, they DID have a private compartment in the train
KatieBabs: I was wondering why no one noticed them smooching?
Kristie(J): Can you imagine all that passion of his released
Sula: I agree Kristie, and I didn't mind one bit if that was a little historically inaccurate
Kristie(J): *shiver*
Sula: *thud*
KatieBabs: After the credits rolled, they pulled down the train screen and had a nice ride
Sula: bwaha!
Kristie(J): But waited until they were married *g*
KatieBabs: sure sure. The wedding night! Need a fan!
Sula: omg, I loved "are you coming home with me?"
Kristie(J): Ah yes!
Sula: Home!
Kristie(J): And his smile
KatieBabs: All the sexual tension between them! And their smiles between them
Kristie(J): So - the casting - what did you think?
Sula: Well, um, Richard Armitage. Nuff said. Where the HELL has this man been all my life?!?
Kristie(J): How about Margaret?
Sula: She was well-cast too, I think. She's strong but she also manages to be vulnerable, wise and naive at the same time
KatieBabs: Great casting! Loved the girl who played Margaret
Sula: Yeah, I love me some Gerry Butler, but Richard Armitage... Wow

Kristie(J): And Higgins! I loved him. Although just a worker, he showed such intelligence and kindness. I loved the scene where he said he would have to leave his brains at home
Sula: yeah, that was funny
KatieBabs: I really like how N&S portrayed the different types of families.
Sula: I think it is interesting how all of these characters who shouldn't be friends manage to build relationships with each other over the course of the film
KatieBabs: Father and daughters, mother and sons...
Kristie(J): bosses and employees
KatieBabs: good catch Kristie!
Sula: Also, I think that Margaret's family was much more dysfunctional than Thornton's. At least in Thornton's family, they TALKED. Even the silly sister, she was upfront with what she felt. But in Margaret's family, it was all hidden
Kristie(J): I do too. It wasn't in the original, but in the cut, it was Margaret who had to tell her mother they were moving to Milton because her father was too weak too
KatieBabs: But even though the Thornton's had money they weren't snobs or spent crazy
Sula: Hell, Margaret's father moved them up to a strange city without telling them why he quit his job
Kristie(J): I think the mother was a bit of a snob
KatieBabs: the mother was weak. Such the opposite from John's mother
Kristie(J): And Margaret’s mother was very weak
Sula: I think Thornton's mom was proud of her son and if she was a snob it was because she had been treated like crap when she was poor and now she's on top
KatieBabs: How was Margaret so strong with weak parents?
Kristie(J): She had to be because the weren't. And her brother was gone.
Sula: Someone had to be strong in the family and he wasn't strong either when you see him come home
KatieBabs: Both John and Margaret were well spoken and intelligent. John escaped by taking walks
Kristie(J): Yes - that was a scene that played quite often - both of them walking up the hill alone
Sula: Now they can walk together
KatieBabs: They can walk hand in hand and pick flowers
Sula: hey speaking of walking up and down that hill...I thought the BBC did a great job with the sets
Kristie(J): and then have hot heavy sex
Sula: lol
KatieBabs: and take train rides with the shade down
Kristie(J): after they are married
KatieBabs: sex among the yellow flowers
Sula: of course
Sula: sex on a train

KatieBabs: of course after they are married
Sula: sex against a tree
Kristie(J): with John unleashing all his passion
KatieBabs: I wonder how many children they would have?
KatieBabs: ACK trees!
Kristie(J): against a tree
Sula: Oh i think Margaret would be a little firecracker in bed too
Kristie(J): Don't know but it would be fun making 'em
Sula: They have that big house to fill
KatieBabs: let me take a minute to visualize John and Margaret up against a tree...
Sula: *takes a moment*
Sula: shiver

Kristie(J): better yet - John and one of us
Kristie(J): pause

Sula: memememememeeee!
Sula: pick me!

Kristie(J): no me!

...and we'll pick up again tomorrow back at Kristie(J)'s! Hope you enjoyed your time with us and if you still haven't seen this movie...well, what are you waiting for?!?!?!


Katie(babs) said...

Sex up against a tree! Um, of course after John and Margaret are married.
Wonder what happened on the ride home in the train with the shade down.
I am such a dirty girl! :)

Kristie(J) said...

boy - we did get silly didn't we. I'd forgotten.
You said it right. Of course the fact that Richard Armitage is A Very Goodlooking Guy is a factor, but it's so much more to it that this series struck such a chord. I've seen other television shows/movies with good looking actors without it becoming almost an obsession. It's the acting itself that is so magnificent. And the story too. It's more than just a love story of two people - that in itself wouldn't be enough. It's just such an amazing story with such very talented actors that draw you into the story and keep you there until the final screen credits role. Then it keeps you there until you need to watch it again.

Katie(babs) said...

Sorry, I have been daydreaming over those pictures Sula! Richard's dark probing eyes are so dreamy. *sigh*

Dev said...

I'll be watching this soon. I should have my hands on it by (hopefully before) December 7.

Marianne McA said...

Worth mentioning, perhaps, that the BBC have adapted another Elizabeth Gaskell novel - 'Cranford'.

The first two episodes have aired, and while I can't pretend Judi Dench has quite Richard Armitage's allure, I'm really enjoying the series. Great acting all round, and, as I've never read the book, all the fun of not knowing what will happen.

Kristie(J) said...

Marianne McA: I'm at work and can only duck in real quickly with the screen pretty small, (and darn it all - people keep wanting to talk to me) but thanks of the link!! I will look it up when I get home. I'm also looking into seeing if I can get Sons and Daughters. I'm 95% sure that's another British miniseries based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell

lizp said...

Kristie, that's Wives and Daughters, it's pretty good as well but not as good as N&S. Wives and Daughters had more of a Austen feel to it, which I was surprised because I watched it right after N&S. Still got class/social issues but not like in N&S.

Thanks guys, I really enjoyed reading your dicussions on N&S. I can't get enough of anything to do with N&S. :D


Susan/DC said...

I'm one of those who discovered the BBC N&S due to all of the favorable comments on AAR and then went on to read the book. I love the mix of love story with social commentary. Gaskell is very careful to let all points of view have their say, but part of what makes Margaret and Thornton the H/H is that they are among the few who actually listen and learn from each other.

Both are also such wonderful characters, both of their time and yet modern enough that I can identify. There's a wonderful scene in the book after Margaret's mother has died and her father gone to visit Oxford, where she feels a great weight lift off her shoulders because she doesn't have to pretend to be happy for anyone. I loved how she could be such a good Victorian daughter yet so self-aware. The actors were also perfect for their parts. She was lovely yet still somewhat unformed, and he is so intense and barely reined in -- I love that aspect of his character (it reminds me of Sean Bean and is one of the reasons I like him too).

Any time you want to discuss N&S or Richard Armitage I'm happy to oblige.

sula said...

Hope everyone is enjoying North and South week. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I've been sort of in and out of the internet (housesitting out in the wilds of no-internet land makes doing all my surfing from work a little tricky. lol)

dev, I can't wait to hear how you like the movie! Wish I could will it to arrive faster.

marianne, thanks for the heads up on the other series. Judi Dench is an incredible actor and I generally would watch just about anything that she's participated in.

lizp, I have been meaning to watch Wives and Daughters since my initial run-in with N&S. I think I might be getting a loaned copy from another AAR friend soon...gotta go check on that actually. :)

Susan!! Long time no see. Hope all is well and it's great to see you here. GailK gave me the book at our little luncheon and I still need to sit down and read it (got into the first chapter but then put it down). I'm totally with you on the Sean Bean thing too...he does a great job of showing that barely controlled smoldering inner conflict. yum!

katie and kristie...we are a naughty bunch, aren't we? lol. Road trip!