The Snarky Victorian offers period movie and TV show fangirls (and guys) a stroll through the rants of a period movie lover. We (or really, I) review the absolute best and worst of films and TV from the BC to the 20th century, from the dramatic background music of the 80s, to the steampunk influenced indulgences of 2012. As a bonus, you also get random historic links, videos, and Interesting Things in list form (or no form at all.)
This is one of my favorite Jane Austen novel adaptations.
It's one of the few movies that doesn't have Hollywood Syndrome, where beautiful people are cast to play the plain and average-looking characters. One of the victims of this Beast to Beauty transformation (and a big one) is Jane Eyre's Rochester.
Take the latest adaption for example. Even if you don't think Michael Fassbender is hot, you have to face the fact that most other people do. The actors who portray Rochester in Jane Eyre adaptions are often just roughed by the makeup department to crank up the Byronic aspect, and that only serves to make them hotter.
ANYWAY, this tangent has a point. Austen did not write Persuasion's Anne and Captain Wentworth to be striking, and the actors are properly average looking. Ciarán Hinds brings great charisma to Cap'n Wentworth, and you come to think of him as attractive due to that (and his lovely eyes!) He also happens to have played Rochester in the 1997 adaption (And I thereby justify the above Jane Eyre rant.)
This was a quality adaption, with a great cast. Just be aware that it's been a while since I've read the book, and I've forgotten most of it, so physical appearance is where I end the comparisons.
Although Anne Elliot (Amanda Root) was excellent, I just LOVED the supporting cast members.
A) The Family
Walter Elliot enjoying Mrs. Clay's flattery
Corin Redgrave as Sir Walter Elliot, Anne's father, was excellent as the peacock of the family, and Phoebe Nicholls as Elizabeth Elliot played the shrill, self-satisfied daughter to perfection. I really enjoyed the family and the details that fleshed them out. Walter Elliot's love for flattery, for instance. Its power almost attaches him, (as the Victorians would say) to Elizabeth's simpering friend, the widow Mrs. Clay (Felicity Dean.)
Elizabeth Elliot was stick thin despite constantly appearing on screen with a box of chocolates. If I have any complaints, one is that I would have liked the actress to be a little chubby to reflect her rich diet and lazy lifetyle. Otherwise, I just distracted myself with theories.
Elizabeth (left) and Mrs. Clay (right)
As for Sir Walter Elliot and Elizabeth Elliot as a duo, they showed constant disrespect and disregard towards Anne, and raised the mindless Mrs. Clay far above her. Poor Anne had quite the family to deal with. Two of them were social climbing, class-worshipping jerks, and the other (Anne's married sister, Mary Musgrove, played by Sophie Thompson) was a hypochondriac. A loud, complaining hypochondriac.
B) More about the Elliots, the quarters
I wasn't a big fan of Anne's coral jewelry, but the costumes were good overall, and I loved those white-on-white rooms that the Elliots rent in Bath. They were so overdone and superficially grand, which is a great setting to represent the Elliots and their ambition.
C) The super small roles
I also enjoyed Mrs. Smith (Helen Schlesinger) and her maid / companion / helper. They play small parts, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. I'd totally take tea with them. They're among the few characters who give Anne the appreciation she deserves. Yes, the maid kind of looks like she should be running a brothel, but I'll take that over Elizabeth's upturned nose.
D) The Weasel
Lastly, I'm not going to deal out any spoilers, but there is a reason that Anne's cousin, William Elliot, (Samuel West) looks faintly like a weasel.
Mrs Bertin's Jewelry Box: Dress of the Day: Elizabethan Costume: An Elizabethan-inspired dress with gold embroidery and a hint of the fantastical, featured for your viewing pleasure! This is an appropriate reblog for us as a site that features not-quite-historically-correct pieces of art (AKA movies featuring Gerard Butler and set in Spartan times where everyone is naked and Native Americans with shaved chests) that are nevertheless quite beautiful