So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?
Hmm…I don’t know!
That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.
I can’t stop watching!
So last week I reviewed The Buccaneers, episodes 1-2. These episodes 3-5 aren’t as similar in the Austen themes, but I’m going to finish the review of the miniseries.
So quick recap-four women, Virginia St. George, Annabel “Nan” St. George, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Elmsworth, Conchita Closson-daughters of new money industry, are finding it hard to be accepted into society. In order to circumvent that, the English governess, Ms. Laura Testvalley, hired by Mrs. St. George, comes up with the idea of them having a London Season. There they could hobnob with the titled English and when they come back be welcomed in open arms.
Conchita marries Lord Richard, who only got with her to get her money. He dumped her off at his family estate, took off gambling and carousing, and using up her allowance allotted by her father. Yep, she married a Wickham/Willoughby.
She has a little girl with him and then finds herself a lover to fill her lonely nights.
Lonely and sad from Anna Karenina
Virginia married Richard’s older brother, Lord Seadown, but finds out on her wedding night he only choose her for her money as he already in love/relationship with another woman.
Replace beauty with money
Lizzy is being courted by Hector, a nobody interested in politics. He has no title, but does have a good sized fortune. Her rivals, Virginia and Conchita feel smug about having the superior men.
But Nan tops them all by landing Duke Julius of Trevennick. She was really in love with Guy Thwaite, but he had lost his fortune due to his father’s mismanagement. Guy left for two years to South America to make his fortune, and Nan wanted an engagement, but he didn’t want to be a man to use a woman’s fortune and doesn’t want to hold her back when he may make no money.
Nan feeling vulnerable, sad, alone, and having been sheltered falls victim to the Duke’s proposal-one of the best proposals. The Duke knows his stuff.
So Virginia is pregnant and gives birth to a son. Good but doesn’t keep her man from straying still. In fact, now that the family line is “secure” he spends even less time with her and more with his mistress. Poor Virginia, she had such dreams, such hopes!
The Duke and Nan return from their honeymoon and Nan finds herself way over her head. Expected to run the household, send the first of their plants to the queen, meet the queen, her husband being too busy for her and so cold. Before they were married, he talked of love and now that they are there is this barrier between them.
This space between them
She is shocked that he doesn’t have passion with her like Conchita and Virginia’s husband’s do and that they have separate bathrooms and separate lives-so unlike her parents.
Nan loves the outside, the forest, the beautiful romantic ruins but is now trapped in a gilded cage-jewels, meeting the queen, expected to act like clockwork.
She makes some serious mistakes in the household duties and rankings of the many servants. Every time I watch this I think how much more this is suited for her sister Virginia. That is the type of thing she would love to do and life to live.
Julius loves it as he finds her perfect to train. Seriously? Like she is an animal or doll-just tp be moved and trained-ugh.
I take back what I said about him. Take back your castle. Take back your dog.
You are a MAJOR jerk.
The three married ladies get together and talking and complaining about their husbands-these men suck. Poor girls.
Conchita has taken a lover as her husband is always gone. He comes home unexpectedly with the news that he has syphilis.
I had to do my 9th grade health report on it and oh my goodness that is one of the worst diseases. First it is hard to catch as most people don’t show the symptoms and if untreated it makes you go insane.
Nan gets attacked one night by a drunk Julian-yelling at her not to complain about wanting passion and then not enjoying when he is trying to romance her. The pig. The horrid man. Just a glimpse of the horrible marriage Nan suffers.
In other news, the St. George’s have lost everything in Wall Street. Without Virginia’s income the Lord’s are in serious trouble. The West Wing renovations have stopped, and everyone must cut back on spending. Something these Lords are extremely angry over.
Your father can’t give us any more money and we actually have to work or spend less?
Lizzy marries Hector Robinson who makes scads of money and ends up buying an old family mansion for his bride. Lizzy is the only on with a happy marriage. She chose wisely.
After that, Nan tries to remove all the romantic, passionate artwork. She can’t look at it anymore. Poor Nan, I know what that’s like. And she got pregnant from their “encounter”. That’s just agonizingly awful.
Nan wants to help her people, as the tennets are getting sick from typhoid. She tries to get Julius to come and help, but he doesn’t care. He only cares about himself. He isn’t the man you thought he was.
Broken dreams, illusions, hopes, etc.
Ugh, Julius treats her like a child, like a doll, a plaything. As if she knows nothing at all. I hate him. I want to punch him in the face.
Nan does the 1800s lady equivalent-she tells him she would rather be dead than have their child grow up to be like him.” Ouch-zing! And she then runs off in the rain at night.
They can’t find her and start up a search party, eventually discovering her by the river, having fallen and lost the baby. Now knowing what she said, do you think she tried to kill herself on purpose? Or accidentally fell?
Nan’s governess, Ms. Testavalley, comes to visit and Nan shares her feelings. She describes how as soon as they were married he became a stranger. Ouch, I know how that feels.
Nan still idealizes Val’s life-when the truth is she is not that free or happy. Sir Guy’s father comes to visit, he has a thing for Ms. Testvalley and reveals that Sir Guy will be returning home, a very rich man, and entering politics. Hmm…interesting!
Conchita is pregnant by her lover, and with Richard having syphilis she can’t sleep with him and pretend it is his child. What will she do?
That is not good,
Julius decides he has given Nan enough time and comes to see test the waters and it is very awkward. And Nan begins rebelling against him. “How would you know what would bore me.”
This continuously makes me think of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. If only he had taken time to know her instead of looking at her face than maybe he would have married someone else and they would have had a good marriage. The same for Mr. and Mrs. Bertram.
Guy has returned home and thinks of Annabelle. Too bad you didn’t get engaged to her or had some understanding or else she would have been waiting for you there.
It’s Christmastime and Connie is visiting Nan. She breaks down about how awful things are going, you don’t know how I feel.
No, Nan has it waaaaaay worse. Connie whines about how all this was all supposed to end happily ever after with marriage. Nan shares how she wants to just run away and pretend she never married. Connie begs Nan for money, but Nan has none. Connie begs and Nan promises to try and get some, but from Julius? Not likely.
Bad, very bad idea
Nan gets everything ready for their Christmas ball and as Julius is in a good move she tries to ask him for the money but he won’t do it. She gets £10 a month and can draw up to £5 a week. She tries to get a little independence, but no dice. She is angry at him treating her like a child but he threatens her saying if she wants him to stop them he must treat her like a wife. Nan’s not for, that discussion closed.
Ugh, you don;t rape your wife. I HATE Julius. he’s horrid, horrid, awful, terrible man.
At the party they dance around in the dark and who should end up in a room together, Nan and Guy.
That is not good,
Ms. Testavalley is interested in Guy’s father, but her friend warns her that he just paid off one woman and has two others.
He’s a no
Everyone returns from the dark except Nan who is still with Guy. Both still have feelings for each other…uh oh. Guy tries to encourage her and she listens, discussing how her feelings go up and down. Ms. Testavalley finds them and saves them both from scandal.
Julius gives Nan the money for Conchita but wants her to sleep with him. She can’t as she is so traumatized from before. He insists that he needs compensation for the money, treating her like a prostitute.
He abuses her, yells, curses, breaks her things, hits her. This gives me flashbacks. Ms. Testavalley has to leave and after she goes, Nan’s mother-in-law lectures her trying to help, but not really. At first I was a little miffed at her, but then she said that she isn’t blind to how her son is and how the late Duke was much worse. Poor mother-in-law-she must have a serious backstory. Full cycle of abuse.
Nan leaves Julius to stay with her sister and then will goes to stay with Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Hector are very happy, healthy, and wealthy. Hector is wary to have her come, as she is the duchess, but wants to court Mr. St. George as he is getting wealthy again on Wall Street. So he allows her to come.
Virginia buys back her jewelry she pawned off to pay for the household expenses and goes to see Idena, her husband’s mistress to confront her. Idena hasn’t seen him, he left her for a younger woman, and she lets off how she feels slapping her, Ouch. That’s the lady 19th century version of:
Nan visits Guy at the House of Commons and is seen by all-uh oh. I sense an Anna Karenenia
Rumors circulate and Lizzy tells Nan she can’t stay with them any longer. Nan goes to church and the Duke meets her there. He explains the rules in society, that she is the Duchess, his wife. She needs to stay 1/3 of the year at home and he will turn a blind eye to her discretions as long as they are private. If she makes a scandal, divorce and he will ruin the lover.
Nan returns home as she wants to protect Guy, but doesn’t tell him the truth. They cry over their love as she leaves and Guy looks on.
Nan returns home and Julian’s mother gives him some good advice. Leave her alone for six months and woo her, be a lover.
Lord Seadown returns home when Idena commits suicide. He tries to get back with Virginia but she isn’t interested. He pleads and looks at her with his sad eyes and she falls like a house of cards. Fool. He’s a loser & a user.
For the thousandth time
Guy and Julius get in an argument over his politics and the way Guy is leaning. But truth is they are really fighting about Nan. Julius lets Guy know he’s be nowhere without him and he can take it all away just like that. *snap* And then they get in a fistfight.
GUY, GUY GUY GUY! Give him the chair.
Nan interrupts and ends it. She has the children’s choir perform Yankee Doodle. Woohoo! Let the stars and stripes fly Nan!!
Guy watches sad and despondent, but I don’t really feel bad as she coutld have been your woman. It’s your own dang fault. You should have made some understanding. He then writes her a sort of love letter-most of it is him half angry she’s not with him.
That night Nan hears strange noises and look for Julius and finds him in bed with a man!!!! A Man! Oh.
So of course I have to ask, does Julian being gay (or bi they never quite make that clear) add or take away from his character and villainous treatment. I mean don’t get me wrong, it is done well. The constant worry of his mother, comments about how he likes to be with men-women do not interest him, him getting worried/defensive/angry when Nan has questions about their love life, the girls talking about her not being pregnant. I didn’t catch it the first time, but did this time. But do you think adds or takes away from him being the villian? He already is abusive, narcissistic, a control freak, a rapist, etc. Do you think he would have been a stronger villain if he was straight, or do you think him being gay adds more to the dashed hopes/expectations of Nan. I mean everything else had already killed every romantic notion she has ever had, being gay the final nail in the coffin of the film. I don’t know if there is a right or wrong answer and I am just wondering your thoughts are.
Nan runs away after hearing how Julius turned down his sister’s love because he feels she is too old and needs to be a home (like how the Poldark family treats Verity). She realizes he is a horrible brute and will never change, fleeing to her sisters, where Guy just happened to be. The two run off together in full view of EVERYONE! Oh, the scandal.
Meanwhile, Julius does not want to divorce and his mother pleads with him. She suffered too much to have a son and continue the line and Nan needs to do the same. Wow, she has a really dark backstory.
Nan and Guy discuss what will happen and hope that Julius won’t do anything. Julius sues Nan over adultery.
The elder Lord Seadown dies and Nan comes to the funeral. Lizzy is excited to see her friend but not allowed to spend time with her. Must ignore her because of her scandal. It reminds me of Anna Karenina, Nan is ostracized and alone while Guy goes about his duties, getting heckled and talked about but still is okay. Nan on the hand-must be dead to all. This also makes me think of The Duchess. Such a sad film.
Connie on the other hand stops to hug and see her, not caring at all what people think-Nan is her friend.
Guy goes to speak to his father and say good-bye that he is leaving to South America. His father tells him to give up Nan or else he will disinherit, and Guy does not care. He never wanted politics it was all his dad and Julius. His father yells, storms, and finally cries.
Poor Ms. Testavalley was badly burned in all this. Who will ever want to hire her? She’s not sure what she will do next, but is moving forward.
They end with Nan and Guy riding off together happy, but are they? Even though they have uplifting music, it reminds me of The Graduate, the future might not be as bright as they think.
So a great miniseries, but very sad. And it really helps you see how things would have ended if Elizabeth married Wickham, Marianne married Willoughby, Emma married Frank Churchill, Fanny married Henry Crawford, Anne married Mr. Elliot, Catherine married Thorpe, etc.
It also follows the same theme Austen has regarding getting to know a person’s character over title and appearance. Most important who they are and their character, over what they have.
For more on The Buccaneers, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 1-2
For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Stardust (2007)
For more Gilded Age, go to Book Club Picks: Julie
On a sad note, given the context of these episodes I wanted to add this:
Are you being abused?
It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:
- Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
- Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
- Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
- Forcing you to have sex
- Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
- Controlling all the money, even money you earn
- Blaming you or your kids for everything
- Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
- Treating you like a servant or slave
- Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
- Controlling who you see, who you talk to
- Humiliating you in front of other people
- Refusing to let you leave the relationship
If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.