Period Film Review: Invisible Woman (2013)

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I am a feely type of film-watcher, so I found myself disappointed with this rather stiff and passive film. The scenes chopped quickly through Charles Dickens and Nelly’s love affair. I felt no emotional connection with the characters and consequently felt no sympathy for the two.


Screenshot from 2014-04-13 021303For example, when Dickens confessed that Nelly was the embodiment of every fancy that he’d ever become acquainted with – I just didn’t feel his words. And each time Nelly cried, I stared at the screen dry-eyed and totally indifferent.


Screenshot from 2014-04-13 021236The only sympathetic character in this film was Dickens’ wife. Dickens treated her with such emotional cruelty and insensitivity (in the film, that is). Which made Dickens all the more difficult to like.
What also didn’t work for me: Invisible Woman is a film with a very literary flare. SO literary that the film felt rather portentous and pretentious. And the over-the-top melodramatic soundtrack did not help.

What DID work for me was the acting. The acting was great.

  Screenshot from 2014-04-13 022904The choppy scenes, the lack of emotional development, and the ‘written’ feeling to this film just didn’t cut it for me. As a film-watcher with an unsophisticated mind I would give this film a 6/10.


Period Drama Soundtracks

vanityfair2004-still11I was with one of my writing friends, Kerrie Mcreadie (founder of  Spectatorial  and also a novel-writer), at a coffee shop, working away on our individual manuscripts.

It was pretty noisy where we sat, so she asked me to recommend a soundtrack she could listen to while writing. Right then, a list of period drama soundtracks scrolled endlessly through my mind. I ended up recommending The Crimson Petal and the White’s soundtrack, which she ended up really liking.

So I decided to compile here a few other period drama soundtracks that I often listen to while writing. Hopefully this list (though it’s a small list – I’ll post more, little at a time) will come handy to those writing historical fiction. Or even a fantasy. Or romance. Or anything dramatic.

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Period Film Review: Austenland (2013)

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Summary: Austenland is a romantic comedy about 30-something, single Jane Hayes, a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: her obsession with Mr. Darcy-as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice-is ruining her love life; no real man can compare. But when she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. -IMDB

To watch the Austenland trailer click here.

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NEW Period Drama: In Secret (2014)

Haven’t watched it yet, but plan to one day. Seems like a dark, cynical romp…


Set in the lower echelons of 1860s Paris, Therese Raquin, a sexually repressed beautiful young woman, is trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille, by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin. Therese spends her days confined behind the counter of a small shop and her evenings watching Madame play dominoes with an eclectic group. After she meets her husband’s alluring friend, Laurent, she embarks on an illicit affair that leads to tragic consequences -imdb

Upcoming Period Dramas 2014: Belle & 12 Years a Slave

BELLE (2014)

‘Belle’ is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mabatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), 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)

12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013)

Based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life (IMDB)