Thursday, September 4, 2008

I got one for ya!

North & South

Elizabeth Gaskell's classic novel explores the simmering, restrained passion between two very different people who fall in love in spite of themselves.

Set against the backdrop of Victorian England's industrial north, it follows the experiences of Margaret Hale. Margaret is a privileged, middle class southerner who is forced to settle in the northern town of Milton. She takes instant offense to the town and its people. She becomes terribly lonely and hates the dirt, noise and lack of civilization, blaming their new way of life for her mother's ailing health. Her distaste for the town and its people extends to handsome and charismatic cotton mill owner John Thornton, (Richard Armitage--oooh baby, baby!), whom she believes epitomizes everything she dislikes about the North.

However, Margaret gradually begins to settle in Milton. Her social conscience awakens and she befriends some of the local mill workers, learning about their poverty and workplace struggles. As events conspire to throw Margaret and Thornton together, the two spirited characters have to overcome their repressed physical attraction for one another and conquer prejudices of class and circumstance.

Since I knew some of Gaskell’s life and 1850s industrial England, I anticipated a sad story full of suffering and social injustice. Instead, I found an exciting love story intertwined with rich detail on the harshness of industrialization for owners and workers alike. John Thornton is the “Master” of a doomed cotton mill in the fictional town of Milton. He has triumphed over poverty but is a tradesman materially better off than the educated clergy, but not held in high social regard. John is hard, principled, conservative and in love with Margaret Hale, an upper class daughter of a non-conforming former parson recently moved North from the South.  She forms her first impression of Thornton as she witnesses him brutalizing a worker. Both carry the weight of the world on their shoulders but in different worlds. Both live with crushing loneliness.  Their progress to love is captivating and believable. 

The cast was great.  I had a few complaints, but I won't taint your experience. John’s mother and Margaret’s father are vital relationships for the pair: she is tough and devoted to her son, he soft and oblivious to most things. This series reminds us why we believe in and covet true love. Aren't the British the best at portraying yearning? It is strongly reminiscent of Pride in Prejudice in Margaret and John's outward disdain for one another, but the setting and plot are much different.  Both Nick and I loved it and thought it was our best rental in ages. Watch it--this weekend!

P.S. DO watch the interview with Richard Armitage afterward.  Crush City!
Sorry Johnny (he thinks his silly sisters are always crushing on someone make believe!)


partii said...

NORTH & SOUTH very good story....almost as romantic as the EAST & WEST love story when a city chic from vegas meets a outdoors boy from maryland. XOXOXO

JENNIFRO said...

Now THAT was a good comment Mr. Man. kisses.

Me said...

Between your movies and Suzanne's books, I have a lot to catch up on. Thanks for the review. I'll have to check this on out.

Ann Marie said...

I have wanted to see this one. My family is all Jane Austen Lovers, and anything british. I have Cranford, and Wives and Daughters. Have you seen either of these? I probably won't get to the movies ( since there so long ) until winter when I have no yard work. :)
Thanks for your comments on my blog!

Amy said...

Hi, I'm part of a group collecting totals from the "nie nie auctions" and we don't have information from your auction. If you don't mind emailing us with your total donated along with your blog address that'd be great. Thanks so much for your support!

nienieauction (at) gmail (dot) com

SaraBerry said...

I love this movie and book. With Scott gone, I get to watch it at least once a month! (about the only perk!) He actually has sat through it 2 times (just for me). Have you seen BBC's Robin Hood series? Richard Armitage plays Guy, the Sheriff of Nottingham's , EVIL sidekick. I admit it is kind of bad acting, but Richard is definitely someone worth crushing on. He's not quite Collin Firth, but who is? Love ya!

Suzanne said...

Oooohhh, a love story! I am going to have to get on that one! Thanks for the suggestions! -Suzanne

PS. Classic comment from your husband!

Anonymous said...

Well you have me interested. I will have to go and check it out. Thanks Kel

JenAve said...

Hey Jennifro, I just saw your comment. Did she contact you?