Persuasion (2022) or MadsenCreations and I Watched the New Persuasion So You Don’t Have To

I have to be honest, when I heard Netflix was making a new Persuasion I immediately had a bad feeling about it. I decided to reserve judgement and hope that it wouldn’t be terrible, but I didn’t really believe we would get a miracle.

Then I saw the trailer and I knew it was going to be bad. I could see in those few clips they has completely misunderstood the character of Anne and that this was going to be another Mansfield Park (1999).

It was worse.

MadsenCreations and I watched it together, she did Instagram live while I live tweeted. You can read my tweets but more terrible and horrible moments happened that I actually couldn’t tweet as fast as the film went. It was a hot mess.

But before I go into what I didn’t like, let’s start off with what I did like

Set & Costume Design

The set was beautiful and the director knew how to utilize the home, forest, seaside, country and city. Unlike some other Austen novels these characters do spend a fair amount of time indoors and outdoors, the weather and scenery tying into the story and the emotions of the characters. This was probably the best thing about the film was how well the director understood to use the set.

The costumes are also well done, as MadsenCreations pointed out there are no large glaring zippers (Netflix has learned since Bridgerton). Although, I am sad that there weren’t any ones from previous Austen adaptions, or if there were any I didn’t catch it. I really love seeing the same gown pop up in adaption after adaption.

Visually the film was good, it was the other choices that were terrible.

Diversity

As with Bridgerton they chose to do a rainbow cast (for those who have never heard the term before rainbow cast means that you cast people for characters regardless of the color of their skin, hence having a “rainbow” cast). While other productions that have done this have either made the character’s skin tone their only character trait (I hate when they do that), this production didn’t go that route. In fact it reminded me a lot of Cinderella (1997), the one that stars Brandy, where they had a family unit that contains a white father, African-American mother, and Filipino son; but nothing is made to explain it and being those races are not the characters only personality; instead they are just people. I really enjoyed it, and feel that of other films and TV shows want to that they should definitely go this route. Although I have noticed that like in Bridgerton, Persuasion has no one of Latin descent. As someone who is Latina. I do find that offensive that they promote how inclusive they are yet there is no one of Latino descent. And if someone wants to say that perhaps they couldn’t find a British-Latino person, while I find that to false. First of all Dakota Johnson isn’t even British and they gave her the main character, and secondly I googled it and found 24 right away. Netflix I’m expecting the next adaption to have someone!

Dialogue

The dialogue in this was horrendous. I’m not sure who was paid for this because it was beyond terrible. If I was Netflix, I’d demand that money back. First we have all these modern sayings, phrases, and slang that just do not fit right with the atmosphere. I think if that’s the route they wanted to take they should have just made a modern Persuasion. Or if they wanted to make this a cross between modern + Regency they should have done it Romeo + Juliet (1996) style with her in the Regency clothes and all modern language; or modern clothes and regency language. But this mishmash, some Regency and some Modern did not work out well at all.

There is a lot of truly terrible dialogue but the biggest offenders to be was when Henrietta tells Anne that to win a guy she should pretend she didn’t know how to use cutlery. Not only is that the dumbest thing I have ever heard, but now a whole generation are going to think that Jane Austen wrote that.

I asked a friend if that would be attractive to him and this was his response was “no” and that he would wonder about her mental capacities. The reason I find this particular scene so offensive is first of all Jane Austen wrote very strong and intelligent characters, there are silly ones but these women were not. And not only are we perpetuating this idea that women need to be dumb and have a man help them in order to be attractive, they are making it sound as if Jane Austen herself agrees with that and promoted it as well!

But that was just the beginning. So much of it is terrible that even the good dialogue is lost in the cesspool of words. And let’s not even begin on the octopus line.

The other truly terrible parts of this dialogue is that there is no subtlety or secrets. Everything is out in the open. In the book no one besides Lady Russell knew that Anne and Captain Wentworth had been engaged; in this everyone knows. In the book, no one is certain of Mr. Eliot’s intentions-he saying that he just wants to fix the rift; but Anne suspecting more. However, in this Mr. Eliot tells Anne right away he wants to keep her father from having a male heir. It’s like did anyone read this book?!!

Where are the Austen things and characters I love??!!

They completely destroyed my two favorite parts: 1) when they discuss the loyalty of women and Anne points out that all the “proof” of men loving more are written by men; 2) the letter scene. It really felt like someone took the bare, bare, almost nonexistent bones of the story to write this production.

Mary Musgrove (Mia McKenna-Bruce), Sir Walter Elliot (Richard E. Grant), Charles Musgrove (Ben Bailey Smith), Elizabeth Elliot (Yolanda Kettle), & the Musgrove Children (Jake Siame and Hardy Yusuf)

So some of the characters and the decisions made about the characters were not good, but I’ll save my complaints for a little later. The ones I did enjoy were the above few. Sir Walter and Elizabeth were so horrible and rude, just as they should be, although I think it would have been better to include a bit more of them as they are hardly in there, but they did good.

Charles Musgrove although he too wasn’t in the film that much. The little Musgrove boys were adorable and they stole the scene every time they were on screen.

The one they blew me away though was Mia McKenna-Bruce as Mary Musgrove. You liked her and hated her, she was extremely awful but at the same time she also said a lot of things I agreed with when it came to Anne. Anne was such a mess that Mary (yes Mary), seemed to be the only adjusted character. She was a narcissist, that didn’t change, but she was more together than Anne (which is not how it should be). Out of everyone, I think she did the best.

Henry Golding as Mr. Elliot

Henry Golding was charming but too charming. He’s supposed to be somewhat suspect from Anne’s pov as he hasn’t done anything outwardly wrong, but she is questioning his interest and sudden appearance with her family. When Anne’s friend warns her against him and tells her she spotted Mrs. Clay and Mr. Elliot together, Anne immediately believes her and thinks something is up (which of course we later discover later that he ran off with Mrs. Clay to keep Sir Walter from siring a male heir [although he should be more afraid that Sir Walter will lose all his inheritance]).

However, someone in their great wisdom (read that sarcastically please) decides to reveal Mr. Elliot’s intentions in the first meeting. That’s supposed to be a big plot point! That’d be like if in Great Expectations when Pip goes to school if Magwitch sent him a letter saying that hey I’m your benefactor! By the way I also have a little girl that was adopted named Estella, do you know anyone by that name?

In this adaption Mr. Elliot also asks Anne to marry him (something not in the book), is messing around with Mrs Clay (which Anne catches instead of everyone finding out later), and they also change his character when he marries Mrs. Clay instead of just putting her up as his mistress. They completely changed the character and while it fit for Henry Golding; I this role was not the right one for him. He would have been better as a Frank Churchill, Mr. Tilney, or as Captain Wentworth as as Golding and a lot more chemistry with Dakota Johnson/Anne than Cosmo Jarvis.

Captain Harville (Edward Bluemel) and Captain Benwick (Afolabi Alli)

These actors did well in their parts but the problem was that there wasn’t a lot of them in the film. Benwick and Anne are supposed to spend quite a bit of time together, that’s why when he is engaged to Louisa all are surprised. In this he and Anne have one conversation and didn’t even use the amazing dialogue that Jane Austen wrote. Harville was also just used as a piece of the scenery.

Louisa (Nia Towle) and Henrietta Musgrove (Izuka Hoyle)

Most adaptions hardly use Henrietta but this one does it the least, blink, and you’ll miss her.

Louisa was not very well done in this either. She is made to be so silly, such as that line about how to get a guy. She also doesn’t make sense as a character. In the original book, she and Anne are close but she doesn’t know about their previous engagement, so when she meets Captain Wentworth it makes sense that she goes after this nice, rich, single man. However, in this production they show Louisa and Anne as best friends; Louisa knowing about the engagement and encouraging Anne to go after him. However, after dinner she then reverses that and tells Anne she is making a play for him. Seriously, what a jerk move to do.

The other thing that didn’t make any sense was that there was hardly any flirting and time spent between her and Captain Wentworth for us to even believe they were interested in each othe. In the book the two flirt a lot as Louisa is interested and Captain Wentworth appreciates having her attention in front of the woman who rejected him. The two do several jump and catch me little scenes, that later caused the accident as Louisa does it in an unsafe area. In this they cut out the previous scenes so when she does the jump it doesn’t make any sense and looks like she just decided to yeet herself.

Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth

I really didn’t care for Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth. I felt this version of the character was pretty boring and seemed to have no substance or relation to what was going on in the scenes. He never seemed upset or at all like the book character. And of course a big chunk is off because there are no secrets in this adaption like in the book.

I also didn’t feel as if Jarvis really fit in the regnecy times. He seemed out of place to me, as if he was not really apart of his surroundings.

Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot

I haven’t really seen Dakota Johnson in that many things so I can’t really attest to her acting but in this it was deplorable. A major portion of it has to do with her being the main character and pushing the film forward, but the script was terrible. Like Jarvis, I feel the bigger problem was that she never seemed to really inhabit the scenery as well.

Also her character is terrible. She’s trying so hard to be the “quirky” girl but it feels so out of place. They also made a majority of her character like little wine memes; basically this was her in a nutshell “It’s always wine o’clock”, “don’t give a carafe”, “wine not”, etc. She drank way too much, that is basically all she does-drink and fall down. She looks and acts like she needs to get help as she can barely function and cannot without alcohol.

In conclusion, I don’t care how much Netflix is trying to convince me this movie was “good”, I feel this is one of the worst Austen adaptations I have ever seen.

For more Austen adaptations, go to I Watched Austenland (2013) With My 14 Year Old Niece

For more on Persuasion, go to Recipe for Persuasion Audiobook Narrated by Soneela Nankani

For more Jane Austen retellings, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

I Watched Austenland (2013) With My 14 Year Old Niece

Today’s my blogiversary!

10 years of celebrating Jane Austen (and a few other things!)

10 Years! I can’t believe it. I wasn’t even sure if I’d still be blogging all these years later when I started; but here I am.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have been a part of my blogging journey these past 10 years! I also want to say a special thank you to some of the people who have been big supporters!

A.M.B, ashwillbiologist, Audra’s Book Blogging, Belle, Bibliophile89, caite92lovelythoughts, Christina Boyd, Christina Morland, Countess Parure, Elaine Howlin, Elsie Wells, JASNA EWANID, Jessica Ware, Karen M. Cox, Joy Thompson, lenoremarie34, Lost Opinions, MadsenCreations, Melody Faris, Middle Hyrule, Modesto Jane Con, Ms. Austen is My Homegirl, Northanger Soapworks, Ophelia, the Pretty Poems, ps_hansen_writes, P. S. I Love Rom Coms Podcast, SewMelissaWrites, Sophia Rose, Susan Joy Clark, Tom Austin, What the Austen, and everyone else who has read, liked, or commented!

And to celebrate, as usual, I decided to watch + review Austenland (2013) with my 14 year old niece.

Two years ago my niece and I watched Sense and Sensibility (1995) in my attempt to brainwash share my love of Jane Austen with my niece.

The post was popular and my niece and I had a lot of fun doing it. We decided to continue the following year, but this time I had her watch Northanger Abbey (2007).

I’m still not sure if this is helping to convert her to liking Jane Austen, but I’m still hoping!

This year I had planned to watch and review Pride and Prejudice (2005) but we only had a few weeks with her and even then we ran out of time. It was the night before she had to leave to return home and I needed a shorter Jane Austen film to watch. I ran through the minutes of the different Jane Austen adaptions and the shortest one is Mansfield Park (2007), but if we watched

that then I might turn her off from Austen altogether.

That’s not good.

So I quickly cast a wider net, and discovered that Austenland is only 97 minutes. Not only does it work best time-wise but it is one of my favorites.

Jane Hayes is a giant Jane Austen fan and decides to get out of the grayness of her life (and love life) and go to Austenland- a Regency inspired getaway where you can pretend to be in an Austen novel, go to a ball, and find you own Mr. Darcy ending. Things however, do not go as planned. She ends up having the cheaper package and getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. She starts to fall for Martin, one of the handymen at the resort, but he ends up dumping her because she is enjoying “their world” too much. (Seriously dude? I’m paying for this vacation-of course I’m going to enjoy it.) Anyways…she decides she is going to take charge of her own story and be the best Austen heroine she can be! Will she get her Mr. Darcy? Will she have the vacation of her dreams? Or will she decide she needs to stop her Jane Austen fascination?

This won’t be a full review as I reviewed it last Sunday, but you can read the full review by clicking here. Instead this will just my niece and mine’s thoughts while watching it. For this I refer to my niece as “G“.

Okay so here we go…

In the beginning of the film we are introduced to our main character, Jane Hayes (Keri Russell). She loves Jane Austen, even wanting to watch Pride and Prejudice (1995) when her boyfriend is trying to get close to her.

G: (Boyfriend tries to kiss Jane) Hahaha. Denied.

Yup, nothing gets between a girl and her Darcy.

Present life isn’t going so well at the moment as her ex-boyfriend hits on her and harasses her.

G: (Ex-boyfriend slaps Jane’s butt) OMG! That loser

Me: I know, right!

Jane decides to take the plunge and go to Austenland.

G: Austenland seems like fun. We should go. Is it real?

Me: No. I wish though. I would have my bags packed in a moment.

Jane makes it to Austenland but finds a few surprises. She does not get be vacation of her dreams

G: Miss Erstwhile? (Makes scrunched “ew” face)…Oooh she has the basic package. Omg! Look at her hair!

Me: I know it is so severe.

Austenland (2013)

We met Elizabeth Charming on the way to Austenland but as we spend more and more time with her she quickly become my niece’s favorite. And how could she not with lines like this

Miss Elizabeth Charming: I sure would like you to turn me upside down in the garden

Miss Elizabeth Charming: Is there something in my eye? (Shoves Mr. Nobley into her breasts)

G: She’s my favorite character.

She also likes Mr. Nobley!!!! Yay!!!

G: [Looking at Mr. Nobley] Isn’t he the guy from that other movie we watched?

Me: Yes, he was Mr. Tilney in Northanger Abbey.

G: He’s cute!

Me: He is indeed!

I am!

As things get worse for Jane she gets lonely and starts to get close to Martin.

G: Uuuuhh! No!

And when they kiss…

G: No!!! What about Mr. Nobley!! Get with Mr. Nobley!!!!

But Martin and Jane are not destined to stay together and a new guy comes in to town, Captain East.

G: He [Captain East] looks like the guy in Criminal Minds.

Me: Shermer Moore?

G: If that’s the guy who plays Derek. Then yeah.

Do you think he looks like Shermer Moore?

Jane is to be sent home for bringing a cell phone but is saved by Miss Amelia Heartwright, another lady at Austenland (and a platinum patron) who takes the fall for her. In return Amelia asks Jane to help her to get with Captain East. Amelia tries to be covert, but just looks silly.

G: [Laughing at Amelia] She runs so funny!

They decide to hold a theatrical and Jane picks Mr. Nobley so that Amelia and East can be together. She and Mr. Nobely have a moment.

Jane Hayes: You’re the resident Mr. Darcy. C’mon you’re every girl’s fantasy.

Mr. Nobley: So I’m your fantasy?

Austenland (2013)

G: Yes.

They do the play and it is terrible. Elizabeth Charming shoots Amelia in the eye, they all “die” terribly, and it is just laughable.

G: [Laughing] Why is Captain East taking off his shirt?!

Jane and Nobely have a romantic moment and she promises him the first dance at the ball. The next night they go to the ball and Nobley confesses his love to her, but she rejects him for Martin.

G: No this can’t be the end! She chose him [Martin] over Nobley?!! The country stable boy and granny hopper?!!

The next day Jane is going to go home when she is stopped at the airport by Martin and Mr. Nobley. She declines both of them and returns home. While back in her apartment she receives a visitor, Mr. Nobley, who traveled all the way from England to bring her, her sketchbook.

G: Gasp!

We then have my favorite scene.

My niece’s final conclusion? She loved it!!!! In fact she was a lot less vocal about this movie than the others as she was so engrossed. I definitely recommend this film for anyone to watch as it is so well done, but it’s also great for people you are trying to introduce to Jane Austen.

For more Austenland, go to Austenland (2013)

For more film and TV adaptions, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more blogiversary posts, go to I Watched Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 Year Old Niece

Now what is an anniversary without presents!

The 10th anniversary is tin, aluminum, or diamonds. As usual I look through the past years and try to find some posts that fit that theme. They aren’t my favorite posts, but the first ones I could find that fit the theme.

This year was very hard one, I couldn’t find anything from 2012, but I did manage to find aluminum on the tamale Matt eats in Night of Day of the Dead: Lizzie McGuire (2001) part of Horrorfest II from 2013

For diamonds I have a post on Aladdin in Diamond in the Rough (Day 15 The first Disney film you ever saw) part of the 30 Day Challenge: Disney Edition I did in 2014.

For more diamonds, I have the diamond that horrible Harry stole from his wife to give to his girlfriend in It’s Mrs. Archer. She’s on a Rampage!: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) from Horrorfest IV in 2015.

I purchased a lovely tea tin back in 2016 in My Trip to Teavana (which no longer exists)

There is also Apple pie made in a pie tin in my 2017 Thanksgiving day post, Are Dean Winchester and Jane Austen Kindred Spirits?

They celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective (1986) from Horrorfest VII (2018)

In 2019 I Won the Regency Marketplace Giveaway, part of my prize being two Oliver Pluff & Co tea tins: English Breakfast Tea and Jasmine Green Tea.

disney_52_films_desktop_by_classicalguy-d6anuq4

In 2020 I spent a lot of diamonds trying to get to the final conclusion of Desire & Decorum: Chapter 11, The Clock Runs Out Part III

And our final item is the theft of the priceless diamond called “The Moonstone” in A Legendary Jewel Goes Missing, A Country Manor Full Of Secretive People, Which Guest is the Thief?: The Moonstone (2016) part of Horrorfest X + Catherine Morland’s Viewing List

So thank you all for the past 10 years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!

And a very special thank you to all who follow, comment, like, subscribe, etc. I wish I could mention you all by name, but even though I can’t, as it would be a really long list, just know I appreciate you all!!

You Ever Notice That Harry Potter is Kind of Like Elizabeth Bennet in the Way He Treats Snape and She Treats Mr. Darcy?

So I was rewatching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and I noticed something I had never seen before- Harry Potter is a lot like Elizabeth Bennet in the way he treats Snape in the first movie.

Hmm…

Rewatching this film I noticed that the only reason Harry hates Snape and is convinced he is the one killing unicorns, trying to bring back the dark lord, and after the philosopher’s stone is only because Snape embarrassed Harry in front of the whole class.

Yes, in the film Harry has had very few interactions with Snape. Prior to class he was very neutral about Snape, noticing Snape in the Great Hall but nothing thinking much on him. When looking at Snape, Harry gets a headache (from Professor Quirell/Voldemort), but he never attributes that to Professor Snape. He only starts disliking Snape and believing Snape is the behind all the terrible things at Hogwarts after Snape calls him out in front of the whole class and embarrasses him for his lack of magical knowledge.

Professor Severus Snape: Who possess, the predisposition… I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death. [notices Harry scribbling on his paper] Then again, maybe some of you have come to Hogwarts in possession of abilities so formidable that you feel confident enough to not pay attention! [steps over to Harry] Mister Potter. Our new celebrity. Tell me, what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood? [Harry doesn’t answer] You don’t know? Well, let’s try again. Where, Mr. Potter, would you look if I asked you to find me a bezoar?

Harry: I don’t know, sir.

Professor Severus Snape: And what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?

Harry: I don’t know, sir.

Professor Severus Snape: Pity. Clearly, fame isn’t everything, is it, Mr. Potter?

What Snape did was rude, I mean as a teacher he has a new student who has never been to class before and grew up in the muggle world, so he shouldn’t be so harsh with him, Harry really doesn’t garner that kind of derision-but at the same time while rude, Snape isn’t cruel or evil. But after this it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, Harry continues to believe Snape is the evil one, even when Quirell is in the the dungeon. AND even after Harry finds out that Snape was protecting him in the Quidditch match and had been trying to keep him alive all along, does his opinion of Snape change at all? Nope, he still constantly believes Snape is working with Voldemort and against him, all because Snape wounded his pride.

I was sharing that with my sister when it hit me, Harry is just like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. The only reason Elizabeth was so hard on Darcy and believed Wickham’s lies was that he embarrassed her when he called her tolerable and not handsome enough to tempt her.

If you think about it, her belief of Wickham is completely against her normal behavior as she is always prudent when judging someone’s character. Yet she finds nothing odd about a total stranger who decides to offload a lot of emotionally charged information (emotionally manipulating her and the community) about how Darcy mistreated him. Even the hypocrisy of him “not wanting to speak bad about the son because he wants to honor the father”, while speaking bad about the son doesn’t even register with her. Elizabeth chooses to ignore that warning of something is not right as she is so angry at what Darcy said and so eager to have another reason that isn’t so vain, a “real reason”, to dislike him.

I always thought it was interesting how Mr. Darcy’s very close friendship with Mr. Bingley refutes some of the things Wickham is saying about Darcy’s character, and the fact that Mr. Bingley and Miss Bingley are wary of Wickham doesn’t push Elizabeth to be more cautious in her trust of him. After all, she has known the Bingley’s much longer and would Mr. Bingley really be such close friends with someone who was so cruel? People can pretend for so only so long before their real character comes out. Not to mention you only met Wickham a few days ago and knows nothing about him other than what he told her, while she has spent time with the Bingleys and know them and where they come from.

But it is completely relatable as her anger blinds her to the troubling behavior of Wickham.

Both characters let one rude incident color all other interactions with the person, letting their personal feelings overshadow logic. At both points of the story, neither Snape nor Darcy have done anything truly villainous, yet not only do Harry and Elizabeth believe this without a shadow of a doubt, they also try to convince others that it is true.

Although, Elizabeth has an advantage over Harry, as she is older, when she realizes her mistakes she changes her actions and point of view; while Harry, being a child, doesn’t realize how wrong he was until the very end of the series.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to L.A. Theatre Works Pride and Prejudice Audio Adaption

For more Harry Potter, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more comparisons, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

Have You a Stout Heart?: Northanger Abbey (1987)

Happy Halloween Everyone!

So every year I have been trying to find a way to include Jane Austen in my Horrorfest posts. I lucked out with Death Comes to Pemberley as that gave me two years, (I posted in between as three years seemed a really long break.); and I was also able to review the Midsomer Murders episode “Death by Persuasion“. Then last year I came up with one of my better ideas:

Last year I reviewed the 2007 adaption (I also watched it with my niece and recorded her thoughts), but this year I decided to take a look at the 1987 adaption:

So Northanger Abbey is probably my favorite Jane Austen book as I just love Catherine, she’s so me.

I haven’t seen this adaption in over ten years. When I first read Pride and Prejudice back at the age of 16 I then went on to read the rest of Austen’s works and then watched every adaption I could my hands on. I remember not really being into it, there’s a lady with a heavily painted face and mole (why she is focused on I don’t remember), and that is about it.

So let’s see how this rewatch goes. And also joining me is my sister (R), my mom, and my 25 year old male friend (N).

So what is up with this music? It’s a weird dramatic rock opera. With some weird chanting going on.

We start off with Catherine in a tree reading a book.

She acts out the parts of the books, making different voices, but then imagines herself in the book. It was cute, but there are way too many of these scenes in this movie. It made it feel really, really dragged out. I like that the 2007 version kept that in, but made sure to do less and have them mostly be when she is dreaming instead of just randomly all the time.

This actress, Katharine Schlesinger, has really pretty eyes but she tends to just have them go dead.

I think she was trying to go for a wide eyed innocence look, but it comes off creepy, desperate, and shark like at times.

Here I am!

So Catherine gets asked to go to Bath and on the way we have another “imagination” scene where she is captured (again) and tied to a bed (again). My friend N who had never heard of Northanger Abbey was really shocked at this.

“N: She’s got an active imagination. She’s probably into bondage.

In his defense they have showed her being tied up in a majority of her imaginings. I guess the director was trying to go for sexy gothic fiction, but it was weird and it was Harding to have the film interrupted like every 10 minutes (it was probably more time between).

One thing that is really odd about this film is that on the way to Bath they have Catherine ass Northanger Abbey and is told about. I really didn’t like this because first of all why is Northanger Abbey down the block from her house? And secondly, her knowing of Northanger Abbey before meeting the Tilneys makes her seem like a gold digger as she already knows if their wealth and is enamored of the abbey. It’s a really weird choice to make and I’m not sure why they decided to do that.

As they pass by they also play this creepy horror music that is really out of place. It also makes it sound like vampires live there.


Me: What is with this music. Definitely sounds like a vampire is in there.

N: Might as well come out Vampires, they are playing your music.

We then get even more shots close up in her face. I really, really, really don’t like it. They are too big, too unblinking, and the director gets too close.

So they wait a day to go out as they needed to get more clothes. When they do go they meet Mr. Tilney and no offense to Peter Firth but he is no JJ Feild. I mean look at JJ Feild:

And now Peter Firth:

Me: He looks…kinda…weird.

My Mom: He looks an elf.

N: He looks like a creep.

To make things worse, this Mr. Tilney is pretty stiff and lacks charm. He also likes to philosophize a lot which didn’t bother the others viewing but it made me really uncomfortable as I felt that he was insulting and trying to educate Catherine to his way of thinking; instead of getting to know her. Maybe I’m off base but that’s how I felt about it all.

The next day they can’t go out because it is raining and Catherine stares out the window angry-again looking super creepy. She looks like she wants to burn the city down.

Salt and burn it

Like she looks crazy!

It’s the eyes!

James arrives with John Thorpe and it feels like they are just flipping through this book. John Thorpe arrives and there is a clown horn sound effect, I’m not sure what it is and how it is made in the Regency era, but if that doesn’t fully encapsulate John Thorpe than I don’t know what does.

N: Here comes the Mad Hatter

R: He looks like a leprechaun.

N: He looks like a creep.

And to add to the creepiness of this scene the director decided to do lots of closeups on the face, filling the screen with them. I’m like can we back away please and give them some space.

The Thorpes are interesting characters. John is oozing creepiness and gives off that vibe of that one guy that is obsessive and controlling. Isabella is all smiles and it is all the same smile, 24/7. I think the director or actress was trying to have it be her facade, hiding her true nature; but to me it was unnerving to see her smiling all the time.

After this the two go on a ride in the gig, Catherine not being super into it, with the boys splitting up to be alone with their girls”. This scene is also weird as John Thorpe asks a few awkward questions to find out if she is rich or not but it is really strange way of questioning and he sound slike he suspects her of being a good digger. Which is odd because he IS one.

The other thing that is odd about this film is that it has been missing the Tilneys. Where are they?

The next day Mrs. Allen discovers that Mr. Tilney is there with his sister. She gets all happy that Mr. Tilney is single and goes into another fantasy.

N: Oh no, not again! Here is another bondage fantasy.

This fantasy/daydream is pretty gross as it shows a woman sewing her fingers together. Ew!

The next day Catherine and Isabella (or as the actress calls her, Isabeller) are spending time together and Isabella shares that she and James are in love and he went to ask his parent’s permission. Isabella is a little worried because her family doesn’t have money, and thanks to John Thorpe’s running of the mouth, they believe the Morland’s to soon-to-be wealthy, as they will inherit Mr. Allen’s wealth.

Catherine Morland: James and I think marrying for money is a very wicked thing to do.

My Mom: That’s because you are poor.

The next day they all go to the baths and everyone was surprised by the little wooden boards around their necks. I thought they held like bath salts or something, everyone else thought it was food. Does anyone know exactly what those are? I did a quick google search but didn’t find anything. I plan to go into more research later.

N: I like the snack tray hanging around their necks. I think it’s cool they have a little charcuterie to get their snack on.

So this scene is really weird as she hasn’t been introduced to Eleanor and just goes up to her and starts talking. It’s very much like when Mr. Collins approaches Mr. Darcy at the ball. It comes off very desperate and the in my opinion, if this film wasn’t based off a beloved book that I had read I would have thought that these people need to get a restraining order or something as Catherine comes off sooo crazy and almost obsessed with them.

So Eleanor and Catherine made plans to go walking and Mr. Thorpe does not want that at all. He wants to keep her with him, as does Isabella as they think Catherine is set to be an heiress. Catherine does not want to go with him, but he decided that would not do and cancels with the Tilneys for he. This John Thorpe is an extra creeping creep! When Catherine tried to leave he grabs her arm to force her to stay. Like he gets completely crazy

John Thorpe: I like a girl with spirit.

No, run Catherine! Run! She does, thank goodness, but when she runs she holds her skirts up really high that her knees are showing. I’m like girl, what are you doing?She runs all the way to the Tilneys and just barges in their house into their sitting room where they are together babbling about the walk and how she wants to be with them. She looks and acts crazy.

She meets General Tilney and while Eleanor explain the situation, Mr. Tilney low key tries to get an invite. Like this Mr. Tilney is trying to be sarcastic and silly, but something seems off. Like he’s a bit too grandiose and flamboyant in his interactions to me.

I really do not like this Mr. Tilney as everything he says is too mean spirited or the way he talks to Catherine feels as if he is mansplaining/talking down to her. The words aren’t bad, but the delivery he is just out there and there is no charm or chemistry between them. They share the same space but they don’t feel like they are inhabiting the same world.

So unfortunately I have not been able to finish transcribing my review from my notes. As I have to go to work I will pause her, and continue with part II tonight.

Part II

Sorry for that brief intermission. I am going to try and finish up what I can while on my lunch and then everything else tonight. Although it won’t be much as the power went out 15 minutes into my lunch and just came on.

So I have been thinking about this all day and I really think the reason why I don’t like this portrayal of Mr. Tilney is that he is too much like Mr. Collins and Mr. Elton. He has grandiose manners and a interacts (body language) like Mr. Collins and then his way of talking and uppityness (although he’s supposed to be making fun of people) is too reminiscent of Mr. Elton. One of the reasons Mr Tilney is so enjoyable is that he is different from the other Austen characters. I really feel this actor did not understand the character he is supposed to be playing.

So everything is going well, but then Captain Fredrick Tilney enters the picture. My friend N had a few thoughts about him:

N: He [Frederick Tilney] looks like the guy from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Me: Norrington?

N: Yeah

I don’t think so, I mean they both wear a wig. That’s about it.

Oh well…

N: [Talking about Captain Tilney] I can’t believe these cheesy lines.

Me: He’s like that frat guy who has his set of lines that he uses and just goes down the line of girls until it works on someone. Plus he’s the first son and rich.

N: So he’s a Regency frat guy?

Me: Hmm…basically.

Ugh…this guy

Catherine watches Frederick and Isabella together and is worried. She wants Mr. Tilney to do something but he won’t as he has tried before and his brother won’t listen. I guess if I had to choose one thing that this adaption does really well is that I like how it shows the brother’s relationship. Although, while it shows their relationship well, it doesn’t show his and Eleanor as well as the 2007 adaption. He and Eleanor have a few scenes together, but he talks more about her than spends time with her.

Catherine and Mr. Tilney then have what would have been a cute scene, Mr. Tilney sarcastically echoing her words from before telling her that Isabella has a choice and Catherine giving it back to him, except she peters out and ends her sentence with dead eyes.

She convinces Mr. Tilney and he goes to his brother where they both take snuff! Snuff! No wonder Mr. Tilney is acting so weird, he’s been up on cocaine.

You are crazy

Catherine gets invited to go to Northanger Abbey and is super excited as she thinks it will be just like in her novels she has been reading. But what is sad is that Catherine Moreland wishes she was in a gothic novel, but Eleanor is trapped in one. She’s in a dreary old home with an abusive father, stuck there alone until she gets married. She’s had a wealthy life but an emotionally poor one, in contrast to Catherine who grew up not with riches but with parents who cared more about her than what they could broker with her.

So they get to the Abbey and Catherine is told that General Tilney is very particular about time and to not dilly dally. She reads her book and is late, later getting lost/exploring the abbey. These scenes were probably the best in the film as it was nice to see her wander through the mysterious manor.

She then goes to a random room and we have the weirdest exchange I have ever seen. So Catherine is looking at a canary in a cage when Mr. Tilney comes upon her. She’s looking at a bird in the cage and Mr. Tilney tells her that it is a canary. Catherine remarks how sad it is that it is in a cage and then Mr. Tilney tells her that’s all it has ever known. He then asks her if she has a stout heart or can handle being stuck her in a really, really creepy voice.

This scene is so creepy! Mr. Tilney sounds like a psycho! Like the way the scene is done with the cage it makes it sound like he is planning on making her a permanent fixture, and not in a good way-like buried in the walls or locked in the attic. N said that he thought he was playing up the gothic points but even he agreed with me this whole scene was creepy. If I was in this situation I would run and that is what I would tell Catherine to do.

You know an adaption is bad when it makes you afraid Mr. Tilney is going to murder Catherine.

Creepy…

That night at dinner General Tilney is super controlling and gets angry when his son doesn’t propose to him over the soup.

There is a definite shift in characters when leaving Bath for Northanger Abbey. In Bath Catherine was acting all crazy, while in Northanger Abbey it is Mr. Tilney. We also have the general shifting from genial to controlling, uncouth, and rude.

N: I don’t understand why they have such a big table for just a few people.

Me: That’s because you’re poor .

N: [Laughs] You’re right, that is something a poor person would say.

That night Catherine is in her room looking through the writing desk for clues when she hears Eleanor and Tilney outside her room, Eleanor having a breakdown. I know they want to give character development, but it seems odd that they would do this outside their guest’s room.

They also sound like they are planning to murder General Tilney, it’s like Northanger Abbey became the murder house or something.

General Tilney acts like a vampire. Like I forget at times what he is saying as he looks like he wants to suck her blood.

Catherine also is super insensitive in this adaption. When talking to Elinor about her dead mother she refers to Mrs. Tilney as “the corpse”.

The Tilney have a party and Mr. Tilney sings in a flamboyant way with another girl. He looks silly and horrible, but Catherine looks worse as her eyes bore into the woman and she looks as if she would like to murder her.

The other guest is, Marchioness de Thierry, who shares the same backstory as the real life person, Jane Austen’s sister-in-law Eliza de Feuillide.

The makeup and costuming is ghastly and this character doesn’t even really add to the story.

N: She [Marchioness de Thierry] looks like Dr. Frank N. Furter.

Then we have the weirdest scene. A little servant boy leads Catherine outside during the performance WHERE HE DOES CARTWHEELS and she has another fantasy/daydream. Like what is even happening?!!

So later the General invites Catherine out riding. She agrees but after questioning the maid decides she would much rather try to investigate Mrs. Tilney’s room, she and Elinor had tried to see the picture earlier but failed. As soon as all have ridden away she snoops to the mother’s room and looks around.

Mr. Tilney interrupts her as he wanted to check on her. Again, he really creeps me out in this scene as he is angry, but says everything calm, quiet, and over the top. He makes me think of Hannibal Lector when he talks to Clarice. It also doesn’t help that he has a riding crop and blocks the door, giving even more creep vibes.

SUPER creeped

He leaves and Catherine, sad, goes to her room and destroys the book by ripping it up and throwing it in the fireplace. NOOOO! NOT THE BOOKS!!!

Catherine cries the day away and falls asleep. She is awoken by Eleanor who falls asleep. She is awoken by Eleanor who brings a letter from James? Catherine’s brother. He shares that Isabella had broken their engagement for Captain Tilney. Catherine is upset but then Eleanor shares that her brother will not marry Isabella.

Apparently, General Tilney has gambled all their money away and needs his children to marry rich people (even though Eleanor is in love with a poor man and seeing him secretly.) I felt this weakened General Tilney as a villain as him being rich and still a money grabber was worse than a degenerate gambler.

Catherine’s trip ends with General Tilney returning home and sending Catherine packing. This scene wasn’t bad but they didn’t really show the fear and the danger of her going home alone.

Then we have the “romantic” end scene. This weird ‘80s music chanting plays as fog rolls in. Mr. Tilney rides in on a dark horse, and says:

Mr. Tilney: “I promise not to oppress you with too much remorse or too much passion, but since you left us the white rose bush has died of grief.”

Not only did we all go huh, but Catherine Morland does to. Like what does this mean?! I think he has been taking too much snuff that his brain is is not connecting right.

So I think they were trying to do a storybook/gothic ending but because there are so many fantasy/daydreams it really just feels like one. I guess the director could have been trying to do her fantasy has come to life but it didn’t really work. I also did not like the freeze frame ending. As a whole, I did not like this film

Wrap UP:

Costumes: The wigs and hair are really bad. Like hardly anyone has a good one. It’s really bad. The costume colors are as well, they are accurate pieces but not as nice as in the later adaptions.

Actors: The only actors I really enjoyed was Googie Withers as Mrs. Allen and Ingrid Lacey as Eleanor Tilney. Robert Hardy as General Tilney was good but a bit inconsistent in his manner. Peter Firth as Mr. Tilney was too stiff and Katharine Schlesinger as Catherine Morland was very inconsistent as at times she was animated but other times like a sleepwalker and she had those dazed/dead eyes.

Set: I liked the set design a lot. I really enjoyed when they were in the Abbey and wish we spent more time there. I just wish they had utilized better lighting and angles.

On a while I did not enjoy this adaption, but prefer the 2007 version instead. Although this one did have a lot more horror elements as Catherine had creepy stalker vibes and Mr. Tilney gave off murder-y vibes.

For more Northanger Abbey, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

For more Northanger Abbey (2007), go to Storybook Ending: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more Jane Austen variations, go to The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

Peculiarities, Monsters, and Time Travel.: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

A while back my sister asked me if I ever saw the film or read the book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I told her I hadn’t, but I knew of it and it was on my to-read list. She had recently watched it and couldn’t follow all the time loops, which was why she was asking me about it. I told her we had a copy at the library which I then decided to check out and read.

I read it and loved it! In fact I want to add it to Catherine Morland’s Reading List, but just haven’t had a chance yet. You know, so many books to review, so little time.

I really, really loved book one; book two I wasn’t as into, and book three I felt was a perfect conclusion. After I had finished the original trilogy (as he decided to write more) I was excited to watch the Tim Burton movie. Yep, this is our Tim Burton annual pick.

I watched it, and I did not like it.

The visuals were amazing, that is one thing that Tim Burton really captured well, but they changed so much, cut out so much, and packed three plots into one movie-it really disappointed me. In fact what I think he should have done was two films. I would have combined book one and two together, leaving off at the big twist of book two. Then have the second film just be book three.

So Jake is heir to a CVS type empire, and lives in Florida. He’s never felt any connection to the people around him, having only one friend. He also doesn’t have the best family life as his parents do not get along. He is really close to his grandpa, Abe Portman.

Jake had spent a lot of time with his grandpa, Abe taught him to shoot and tells him all these stories of peculiar people he met in Wales, the orphanage he was sent to during WWII.

However, Jake’s life takes a dismal turn when he discovers his grandfather dead with his eyes missing. This severely traumatizes him and he starts seeing a therapist, who quickly encourages him up go to Wales were his grandpa had lived and met the “peculiars”. Now I thought this aspect of the book was really interesting, him going to therapy, trying to figure out what really happened, finding his birthday gift from grandpa and it containing a clue he must follow. I know it doesn’t translate as well to film, but I wish they had shown the time it took, and the time spend with his therapist instead of it being like session two-go to Wales. I really did not like that.

Jake goes to Wales with his father and discovers his grandfather’s stories weren’t stories, but all true. He immediately meets Miss Peregrine, an ymbryne (one who watches over peculiars and can create time loops) and the peculiars, the people from his grandpa’s stories, who are real and still the same age as when Abe was a boy. It turns out that they are in a time loop of it always being September 3, 1943. As long as they return to their time loop everyday they will remain the same age, but if they were to step out of it that time loop, they would immediately start aging, catching up to whatever age they would be in 2016. They also tell Jake of his ability to see Hollowgasts, an ability shared with his grandfather. Hollowgasts are people who wanted to be peculiar/live forever and a botched experiment created them. They hunt the peculiars and eat their eyes, and in the book were lead by Miss Peregrine’s brother.

Now this was another thing I don’t like. In the book Jake doesn’t find out right away and his reveal of being the only one who can see/sense the Hollowgasts; along with some other cool abilities is done in such an awesome way. I much rather prefer the way the book did it, a surprise to all (although Miss Peregrine suspected), than this savior/choosen one storyline we were given. It’s like they took out all the things that made the book interesting and instead went with what is always done.

So Jake meets the different kids falling for Emma, his grandpa’s ex girlfriend (it was weird in the book and it is weird in the film) But they change her from having hands that lit on fire to floating. I really didn’t like that change as Emma had a fiery temper and was really emotional, her powers flaring up when she was charged (or flooding her when she is flushed)-in this her character isn’t very well developed and she is just basically a manic pixie dream girl.

Ugh…of course no character development.

In this the Hollowgasts are not lead by Miss Perevrine’s brother but a man called Mr. Barron, played by Samuel L. Jackson.

A wounded Ymbryne, Miss Avocet, comes to Miss Peregrine and the peculiars to ask for their help as she and those in her time loop were attacked by Mr. Barron who wants to try and redo the experiment. Jake is sent back as Miss Peregrine and the peculiars will need to create a new time loop. When Jake goes back to modern day, he discovers the signs of a Hollowgasts and goes back to warn his friends, but the Hollowgasts follow them as it turns out that Mr. Barron not only killed his grandpa but also became his Thera for the sole plan to get Jake to the island to find Miss Peregrine. It’s not as good as the book as there was a whole lot more emotional impact and betrayal.

Mr. Barron forces Miss Peregrine into becoming a bird and leaves the children in 1943, no longer a time loop-nothing as in real history the house was destroyed by a bomb, and they have to try and hunt them down and save Miss Peregrine. The book is better as they think they saved Miss Peregrine, but she’s stuck in bird form as she waited too long and can’t change back-they trek through 1943 England trying to find another ymbryne-only to discover they been betrayed all along. It is a much interesting storyline and there is more drama and fear then then going to Blackpool and having an ordinary film ending. I mean the fight scene was cool, I loved the callback to Jason and the Argonauts and James and the Giant Peach.

but the film was just so ordinary which makes me sad as peculiar is in the title.

The book was very different and interesting and I wish they had gone that avenue instead of making it every teen fantasy where they find out they have powers and have to fight the bad guy. Like they copied Harry Potter instead of going the The Chronicles of Prydain route, which would have been a better avenue.

So the film was only okay, but in comparison to the book? A disaster. I definitely don’t feel the desire to rewatch this film-but I would reread the books.

For more Tim Burton films, go to A Man Dressed as a Giant Bat, Psychotic Deformed Man Wrecking Havoc, and a Zombie Cat Woman…A Batman Christmas: Batman Returns (1992)