Today’s my blogiversary!
9 years of celebrating Jane Austen (and a few other things!)
And to celebrate, I decided to watch + review Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 year old niece.
Last year my niece and I watched Sense and Sensibility (1995). The post was popular and my niece and I had a lot of fun. So I thought, why not bring it back with one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptions. And I’m still trying to convert my niece to Jane Austen.
I don’t know if she will like it, but she enjoyed Sense and Sensibility, so I’m confident she won’t hate it.
I will give a quick synopsis for those who have never sent the film or read the book. Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen’s books to be written and is kind of a parody of gothic novels and a saltire on society. In the story Catherine Morland is a minister’s daughter who loves to read and has an overactive imagination. She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath and while there her life becomes a bit like a novel as she meets the mysterious Tilney family, of which one son she finds delightful and handsome, Mr. Tilney. She also has another man vying for her affections, a more crude and brutish man, Mr. Thorpe. She is later given an opportunity to stay with the Tilneys in their home Northanger Abbey and wonders if there is a dark secret there. Catherine begins investigating but is there really a mystery or has her overactive imagination just struck again?
So this won’t be a full review as last October I reviewed the film for my Horrorfest IX and you can click on the link and read my full review. Instead this will just be our thoughts while watching it. For this I refer to my niece as “G“.
Okay so here we go…
So the film starts off with the great quote from the beginning of the novel:
“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine.”Northanger Abbey
I love that quote. I feel it right away connects you to Catherine as most of us are just average people.
G: What’s a heroine?
Me: A female hero.
The film then progresses to talking about Cathrine more how she was plain and more interested in boy’s things than girls, but around 15 she started to care more about her appearance and other things. Her parents were known to say:
“Catherine grows quite a good-looking girl—she is almost pretty today…”Northanger Abbey
G: Don’t lie to her.
My niece can be really mean sometimes. I think Felicity Jones is so cute and very pretty.
I also love that quote to “be almost pretty”:
G: Her little sister is so annoying.
Me: Yeah the little sister is very sassy.
So as the film progresses, the Allen’s ask Catherine to come along with them. We both agreed that we wished we had a family friend who wouldn’t ask us on a vacation like that. I mean at least my niece has me, but I wish I had had someone do that for me when I was young.
So in between the action with Catherine every time she reads she imagines herself in the book and we have a dream or imagination while reading sequence. I really like this, but my niece was not a fan.
G: This is weird.
So Catherine and Co. arrive in Bath and when they go out the next day they run into Mr. Tilney.
G: Is that the guy she’s gonna end up with?
Wow, she was sharp. At least she’s not opposed to him like she was to Colonel Brandon last year. But then again who could ever resist JJ Feild?
G: I really like their [Mrs. Allen and Catherine] dresses.
I totally agree, as even though Catherine isn’t the wealthiest Austen heroine, nor the poorest, I like her dresses the most.
I love how Mr. Tilney is able to clear the room for the ladies with a glare. He’s like get out of the way, this table is for the ladies!
So as Catherine dances with Mr. Tilney, she notices another man watching her and questions Mr. Tilney about him.
“Catherine: [Puzzled] Why does he look at us?
Mr. Tilney: I imagine he likes what he sees.
Catherine: [Incredulous] You don’t mean me?”
G: No duh!
Yeah, Catherine is pretty naive. Although in her defense she’s never really been called pretty before so it is easy not to see it in yourself.
Mr. Tilney decides to sassy and sarcastic (as usual):
“Mr. Tilney: So, tell me, what will you write in your journal tonight? ‘Friday, went to the Lower Rooms, wore my sprigged muslin dress with blue trimmings, and looked very pretty, though I say so myself. Danced with one man, was stared at by another much more handsome.”
Me: Who do you think is more handsome, Mr. Tilney or him? [points to Mr. Thorpe]
G: Not him [points to Thorpe], he looks weird. I like that other guy, what’s his name? Christopher?
Me: Mr. Tilney, Henry Tilney.
We have another dream sequence and at first G wasn’t into it, but then we started talking about how we act when we read.
G: I like to imagine myself as a character or create my own.
Me: Me too.
Look at that, we both be Catherine Morlands.
The next day Mrs. Allen and Catherine are out and they run into Mrs. Thorpe and Isabella Thorpe.
G: She [Isabella] looks mean.
Me: Well, she’s not a nice. And look at her dress, during the day ladies wore a fichu or lace to cover themselves and only at night would wear something so low cut, but Isabella is not following the rules.
The next day the girls are out checking to see if Mr. Tilney is still visiting the Upper Rooms. They don’t see his signature and leave, being followed by two men. The men go a different way and instead of steering away, Isabella wants to cross paths with them again.
G: She wants to run into those men, that’s why she has her boobs out.
Isabella is definitely on the prowl!
They run into James Morland (Catherine Morland’s brother) and John Thorpe (Isabella’s brother). James is super into Isabella and John tries to get with Catherine.
G: John Thorpe looks so crazy! He’s so creepy.
Me: It is because he has such a heavy brow.
G: Yeah but it is the way he stares at her, with his eyes-it is so crazy [mimics John Thorpe].
Me: Yeah, he makes me think of those tiktok videos when they say do you want to look creepy? Then lower your head and look up with your eyes.
G: He does!
That night they go to a dance and Mr. Tilney arrived with a woman in tow.
G: [Screams]…oh it’s his sister.
The two spend the time talking and make plans to go walking the next day. The only problem is, John Thorpe has other plans. John starts with “I think I saw them leaving”, with Isabella backing him up, then he insists that in this brief passage in the street from far away that he heard them saying they will be gone.
Me: Do you hear that, first he asks Catherine does Mr. Tilney have a certain type of horses and then he’s all I heard them say they will be gone all day. Such a liar!
Catherine insists they wouldn’t act that way, but then her brother interjects and makes her doubt herself.
“James Morland: My dear scatter-brained sister, haven’t you just heard him say they’re halfway to Wick Rocks?”
G: Shut up James! You’re supposed to be on my side!
Me: I know, right! James is so awful, look how he talks to her.
John Thorpe goes off in his phaeton with Catherine and who should they see as they go down the way.
“Catherine Morland: [Sees Mr. Tilney and Miss Tilney] Oh, Miss Tilney! [To Mr. Thorpe] Stop! Stop now! It’s Miss Tilney and her brother!
John Thorpe: There’ll be hell to pay if I tried to stop him now!
Catherine Morland: Please stop, Mr Thorpe! I’ll get down! I will!
John Thorpe: It’s not possible!
Catherine Morland: Oh!
John Thorpe: Whoa, there!
Catherine Morland: How could you deceive me so?
John Thorpe: Well, what if I did?
G: Boom! I would smack him!
Me: He definitely needs a punch in the face.
G: Get Out and Run, Catherine!
Me: She should! But she won’t as he manipulates her into feeling bad that if she leaves her brother and Isabella, they can’t ride together.
They get rained on, served them right. And the next day they go to the opera where John Thorpe tries to be romantic and fails.
“John Thorpe: Damn fine-looking woman. [To Catherine] But she’s nothing to you, you know.
G: I don’t care!
Ugh, John Thorpe!
Catherine goes to talk to the Tilneys after the opera performance and apologizes. Mr. Tilney tries to act cool, but you know he was probably driving Eleanor up the wall with his heartbroken.
G: You’re [John Thorpe] nothing to him [Mr. Tilney]
A couple days later Catherine learns of James and Isabella’s engagement. John Thorpe tries to ask Catherine, sort of.
“John Thorpe: Miss Morland, I, too, must take my leave for the present, just for the present. I’m going to accompany James to Fullerton, and then onto town to help him choose a ring.
G: I’m not going to miss you.
Me: I know, right.
“John Thorpe: Perhaps I might look for one for myself while I’m there. Do you think I should?”
So the men leave and the next time they go to a ball, Isabella states she will not dance with anyone. However, Mr. Tilney’s older brother, the rogue, enters the scene.
“Mr. Tilney: Miss Morland, allow me to introduce my brother, Captain Tilney.
Captain Tilney: [Dismissive] Charmed. [Moves away from them]
Mr. Tilney: Don’t let my brother’s ill manners offend you. That’s how he is, I’m afraid. He was ill-mannered as a baby.
Even though Isabella wasn’t supposed to be dancing as her “love” is away, she dances with Captain Tilney.
Catherine ends up being asked to go visit Northanger Abbey. We both wished we could go to a castle.
On Catherine’s last day in Bath she and Isabella go to the Upper Rooms. There Isabella hangs out with Captain Tilney.
G: Are they [Isabella and Captain Tilney] dating now?
Me: Just watch.
Catherine then travels to Northanger Abbey which is awesome and mysterious and I really, really, really want to go there one day.
G: I wish I could go to a castle. I want everyone to know the princess that I am.
So at Northanger Abbey Catherine spends a lot of fun time with the Tilneys, especially once General Tilney leaves on business. One thing Catherine had wanted to see was the portrait of Mrs. Tilney, but General Tilney kept them from the room. When Mr. Tilney goes away, Catherine takes the time to search in the room.
G: Why are we snooping around?
I alsways feel embarrassed when Catherine does this but I totally would want to do the same. Unfortunately, Mr. Tilney catches her and as you can imagine it doesn’t go well.
Catherine become even more upset when she gets a letter from her brother James who has ended his engagement as Isabella was trying to get with Captain Tilney, he has left Bath believing the two to be engaged although Eleanor does not believe her brother will, he’s not into commitment.
G: It’s because of all those low cut dresses she wore.
Then Catherine gets a letter from Isabella. Isabella tried to trade up but nothing came of it as Captain Tilney is not into commitment.
”Catherine Morland: I wish I had never known her.
Eleanor Tilney: It will soon be as if you never had.
Catherine Morland: There is one thing I can’t understand. What has Captain Tilney been about all this time? Why should he pay her such attentions and then fly off himselr?
Eleanor Tilney: He has his vanity, as well as Miss Thorpe. And he is accustomed to…having his way. Though I am surprised he should have stooped to such an easy conquest.
Catherine Morland: Really? Then I am sorry for Isabella.
Eleanor: I am sure she will be over it soon enough. “
Oh, Eleanor is just throwing shade.
So the film ends with Catherine being sent home with no escort. She doesn’t cause a scene as she thinks that Mr. Tilney told his father what she thought about him murdering his wife. After she returns home, Mr. Tilney comes after her and declares his love in the most romantic way! It is such a great scene!
So after the movie ended I asked her thoughts:
Me: Did you like it? What did you think?
G: It was good.
Me: Did you like it better than Sense and Sensibility?
G: Hmm…I don’t know.
Me: Which guy do you like the best. One of the guys from Sense and Sensibility or Mr. Tilney.
G: I don’t remember what they looked like.
Me: This one is Mr. Ferrars, Elinor’s love interest [Shows picture of Hugh Grant]. And then the other guy was the actor who played Snape.
Me: Yes, Snape.
G: I liked this guy better. I think he was cuter.
Yay! She likes Mr. Tilney and she liked the movie. My work here is done…at least for now.
If interested in a full review, click on this link. Otherwise thank you for 9 wonderful years! Happy Blogiversary!
For more Northanger Abbey, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey
For more film and TV adaptions, go to Dear William: Letters from Georgiana Darcy
For more blogiversary posts, go to I Watched Sense and Sensibility (1995) With My 12 Year Old Niece
Now what is an anniversary without presents!
The 9th anniversary it is pottery, wood, or willow wood. Let’s see what I can find as a gift on here, I’ll try to see if I can find something from every year …
For “pottery” we have a Jane Austen/Harry Potter post from 2014
For “wood” I have a post on Emma Woodhouse from 2015:
Another “wood” piece is my review of Emma [Woodhouse] (1996) AKA The Kate Beckinsale Version from 2016
Some more “wood” is the wooden ship Captain Wentworth has and my 5th blogiversary post from 2017
For “pottery” how about a pot of tea? (Post from 2018)
Another “wood” is my review of Rational Creatures: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. These two are “Self-Composed” by Christina Morland and “Every Past Affliction” by Nicole Clarkston (From 2019)
For more “wood” some Sense & Senchability tea the Dashwood sisters would love! (from 2020)
So thanks for the past nine years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!