Monday, October 12, 2015
Mini-Series Monday - North and South (2004)
Starring: Daniela Denby-Ashe,Richard Armitage
Short Summary: Margret Hale finds herself caught amidst a social and emotional clash when her family moves from the idyllic southern part of England to the fast paces industrial North of England.
It was weirdly a struggle for me to get into watching a movie last night. The reason being that I am finally over my reading slump and I really wanted to put my nose in a book. So I decided to watch the movie equivalent to a book which is the mini-series. Plus, I thought it wouldn't hurt to break things up and review something other than my favorite films and independent films.
I decided to re-watch one of my favorite mini-series North and South last night. Just to clarify I am talking about the 2004 BBC mini-series based on Elizabeth Gaskell's novel, and not the 1985 American mini-series about the Civil War of the the same title. While I do enjoy both because I am a period drama freak, I have watched the BBC series more often because it is on Netflix.
I think North and South is one of my favorites because it is a story with many stories. It has two main plots. One centering on the social politics and differences between northern and southern England. The second is a tension filled love story between the main characters Margret Hale and the cotton mill owner John Thornton. There are also a couple other sub-plots that join these two main plots. I love how well the mini-series executes weaving all these stories together. The mini-series manages to explore every plot line and character without anything getting confusing. Of course I also enjoy a good love story where the two people involved start out not really liking each other at all. It's North and South has and almost Pride and Prejudice vibe going in the that department. Though there are more problems than just misunderstandings going on with Thornton and Margret. Which makes it very interesting to watch the relationship develop.
What I noticed last night is that this mini-series introduces characters very well. This is important in any type of Television. It is was draws you in a makes you want to watch several hours of a story as opposed to just a two hour film. I like how North and South creates scenes that show what the characters and situations are about very quickly. It makes you get behind the people and their journey.
This mini-series has some beautiful cinematography. Even the factories are made to look beautiful. Good grief! I also think it's wonderful that the camera shots show the nuances of the actors facial expressions. It really does get one more involved in the story. Which brings us to the actors. I adore all of their performances in this mini-series. They are so excellent and well cast.
If you love to watch TV mini-series as much as I do I highly suggest North and South. It is a truly comforting thing to watch for me. Maybe it will be comforting for you as well. I also suggest reading the book. I don't remember loving it as much as the mini-series but I still enjoyed the novel quite a bit. I found out there was a North and South mini-series made in the 70's as well. I kind of want to watch it now.