New Period Film: Madame Bovary (2015)

I absolutely CAN’T wait to watch this! I read Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary several years ago and fell head over heels in love with it.

Set in Normandy, France, Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert’s classic story of Emma Bovary (Mia Wasikowska), a young beauty who impulsively marries small-town doctor, Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), to leave her father’s pig farm far behind. But after being introduced to the glamorous world of high society, she soon becomes bored with her stodgy husband and mundane life, and seeks prestige and excitement outside the bonds of marriage. –Apple Trailers

 

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Upcoming Period Films 2014-2015

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (2015)

I’m super excited to watch this one.

Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.

 

PAN (2015)

Offering a new take on the origin of the classic characters created by J.M. Barrie, the action adventure follows the story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny—to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.

 

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA (2015)

In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. “In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down. Based on the book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick.

 

BELOVED SISTERS (2014)

n 18th century Weimar, devoted aristocratic sisters Caroline and Charlotte fall in love with Friedrich Schiller, a rebellious poet taking the literary world by storm. Soon their journey of shared passion and creativity inspires a ménage-a-trois that invigorates and complicates their entire world. Germany’s official Oscar submission, this sweeping yet intimate romantic drama illuminates two bold women and one of classical literature’s most celebrated figures with charm and contemporary energy.

 

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NEW Period Film: Effie Gray (2014)

Hmmm…the storyline seems rather old-fashioned. I’m not intrigued, but it’s a period drama, so I intend to give it a try.


Summary: This is the scandalous true story of the troubled relationship between Victorian art critic John Ruskin and Effie, his teenage bride. After marrying at the tender age of 19, Effie quickly realises her marriage is a lie when Ruskin refuses to consummate it. Yearning for affection, she soon falls for the charms of the artist John Everett Millais. Desperate to be freed from John, Effie embarks on a life-changing journey to become one of the first women in history to seek a divorce from her husband, making her an everlasting figure in feminist history (Rotten Tomatoes).

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NEW Period Drama: Mr. Turner (2014)

26_05_14_1I always love films (especially period films) about artists. So finding this gem of a trailer was quite the pleasant surprise!

This film explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty – Rotten Tomatoes

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Period Film Review: Belle (2013)

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Let me start off by saying that I’ve been hankering to watch the film since I read the synopsis:

BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Captain. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England. (IMDB)

I went to watch Belle with my sister today and, while the previews were still rolling, I squealed at least a dozen times: “Oh my god, oh my god, I’M SO EXCITED!!”

But with great expectation often comes great disappointment.

I would’ve enjoyed this film way more if I hadn’t settled into the theatre expecting a movie with the grittiness of Amistad (1997) and the romance and depth of Pride & Prejudice.

I really, really wanted to like Belle.

belle-movieBut Belle turned out to be (for me) a film that suffered an identity crisis. It didn’t know whether to focus on being a romance or a legal drama, and in its attempt to be both, the film ended up feeling flimsy.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with mixing the drawing-room with the court-room. But Belle didn’t develop both worlds enough. The romance and relationships felt flat. And only a mere glimpse into the ugly reality of the slave-trade politics were offered.

BUT by no means is Belle a flop of a film. This film was sweet and enjoyable to watch, and at times moving. I teared up more than once. Belle was an intensely sympathetic character. And I experienced a few heart-flutters over the romance between Belle and the anti-slavery activist John Davinier.

B-00951.NEFI’m just frustrated, really. This film had SUCH potential to be both breathlessly romantic and politically powerful — but it only scratched the surface. The entire film was like a really good 2-hour long trailer of a film yet to be made.

(Will people come at me with pitchforks? Because I know a few who absolutely adore the film).

In short, Belle is an occasionally inspirational period drama in which bonnets and heaving bosoms often take the spotlight — at the expense of a potentially gripping courtroom drama. I have no issue with this. My issue is that Belle and Davinier are united by shared political beliefs (about anti-slavery) rather than passion – awkward, considering the fact that the political element of this film doesn’t really take centre stage.

Despite the flaws, however, I still found the film enjoyable.

I’ll rate this film a 7-7.5/10