Seems like my blog has become more of a movie review area than a book review site lately. Guess all that TV I watched over the holidays with the family and/or boyfriend has something to do with that. Anyways, I simply must throw in a little post about the movie we watched last night. I recently discovered that I have in fact had BBC America on my line-up all along (and all this time I assumed that I didn't and have been missing hours and hours of RICHard in Robin Hood...arg!) Annnyways, I saw a preview for what looked like a historically set movie with a romance, so naturally I set up my DVR to record it.
Under the Greenwood Tree is based on a novel by Thomas Hardy. Unlike my previous experiences with Hardy, however, everyone does not die in the end. Hooray! This is a cute little story about a simple village with rather ordinary people. Miss Fancy Day has recently moved into the village to be the new schoolmistress. In very short order she finds herself being courted by not only the richest farmer in the area (a rather blustery and chubby old fellow) but also a poor working man and the local parson. To mix things up even more, the parson is dead set upon pulling his little village into the modern era whether they're ready or not. He's just purchased a "harmonium" (an organ?) to replace the "choir" that has traditionally provided music in church. He wants Fancy to play the new instrument which automatically sets her up as something of a usurper in her new hometown. Fancy's father is dead set upon her marrying up and actively encourages the suit of Mr. Shiner, the richest man in town. But Fancy finds herself drawn to poor Dick Dewey (yes, you have to love the name) despite her better judgement as to who makes the best husband material.
What I enjoyed about this movie was that it felt gentle and charming. None of the main characters are part of the gentry, they are all country folk. It all felt very sweet. Also, the actors seemed very well cast. The handsome young country boy was played by James Murray, whom I don't think I've ever seen anywhere, but he was adorable. Check out those blue eyes!
Viewers of the Forsyte Saga will also recognize Parson Maybold as none other than Montague Darty. A bit of a change, but he does well as the pompous if well-meaning preacher with a very high opinion of himself.
Fans of light romantic drama set in Britain will probably want to put this one on the netflix queue. I'd recommend it for an evening of relaxation. It's no North and South (but really, that is in a category all of it's own) but in it's own way a very nice little film.