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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Belle (2013)

Trailers for Belle (2013) looked very interesting when I first saw them so I bought a DVD copy hoping it would be good but I actually didn't open the DVD for a couple months. I ended up watching Belle with my family over my Christmas break. A friend of mine actually mentioned he had watched it and that he thought I would really like it and he was right, we all enjoyed it. Belle (2013) is a beautiful film with a lot of heart sweet romance and history of slavery. If you like Amazing Grace (2005) then you will probably enjoy this film!

Story: Belle (2013) 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.

Costumes: Lovely Georgian styles! The ladies dresses are often a bit low as was the fashion but the materials and trimmings are lovely. Very rich and textured.

Scenes: A gorgeous film, the house and grounds where Dido grows up is amazing! Also the London house is lovely.

Music: Soundtrack composed by Rachel Portman (Emma 1996, Nicholas Nickleby 2002) but there's also pieces from Bach and Handel used in the film.

Inappropriate Content: It is mentioned briefly that Dido's parents were not married. Some slightly crude language and names are used. One gentlemen makes advances toward Dido proving his bad character. Talk of the hardships of slaves treated like cargo on board a ship.

Characters & Actors:
  • Matthew Goode as Captain Sir John Lindsay - Plays Dido's father and he's really only in the beginning of the film. Neat to see him in Belle (2013) and then watching Death Comes To Pemberley with my family (my second viewing, their first) and seeing him as George Wickham. 
  • Penelope Wilton as Lady Mary Murray - Dido's silly great-aunt. You'll recognize her from Pride & Prejudice (2005), Downton Abbey (TV series), Wives and Daughters.
  • Emily Watson as Lady Mansfield - Dido's aunt who cares for her as a mother. You'd recognize her from Miss Potter, The Book Thief and War Horse among others. 
  • Tom Wilkinson as Lord Mansfield - Dido's uncle who acts as her father since her own father died when she was young. He's played some creepy characters in the past so it's nice to seem him as a good although conflicted character. You'll recognize him from The Importance Of Being Earnest (2002), The Patriot, Sense & Sensibility (1995) and Martin Chuzzlewit (1994) among many others.
  • Sarah Gadon as Elizabeth Murray - Dido's cousin who she grows up with and is more of a sister. They fight sometimes but are always best friends. I've never seen her in any other period dramas.
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido Elizabeth Belle - Our heroine, Dido is not only lovely but smart and of strong character. I've seen Gugu in Lost In Austen, Doctor Who and Marple: Ordeal By Innocence. 
  • Miranda Richardson as Lady Ashford - Pushy mother of two aristocratic brothers who are interested in Dido and Elizabeth, not a terribly nice character. You'll recognize her from The Young Victoria, The Phantom Of The Opera (2004) and The Lost Prince. 
  • James Norton as Oliver Ashford - He likes Dido quite a bit but it's hard to tell whether he likes her spunk or her money the best. James Norton played a big part in Death Comes To Pemberley, stars in 1950's era murder mystery series Granchester and seems to be popping up in more period dramas lately. I'd like to see him play a Jane Austen character but not sure which one I'd pick. 
  • Tom Felton as James Ashford - Elizabeth's love interested who is less than a gentleman. Tom is well known from the popular Harry Potter films.
  • Sam Reid as John Davinier - A young lawyer who  sounds a lot like an associate of William Wilberforce and sparks Dido's interest in political matters that have to do with slavery. The only thing I recognize this actor from is Marple: Greenshaw's Folly.
  • Alex Jennings as Lord Ashford - Father of the two aristocratic brothers, he's not in the film much but his face and voice are very recognizable! You'll remember him from Cranford and Return To Cranford among many other BBC productions. 

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed Belle (2013) although in some ways it was not what I expected. There wasn't as much tension about the slavery as I thought there would be and there thankfully wasn't much inappropriate content which there very well could have been. The heroine was spunky and her hero was honorable. There wasn't as much depth to the story as I thought there would be, but it was a sweet film overall. It did remind me of Amazing Grace (2006) because of the time period and the slavery aspect. It was interesting to view the world through the eyes of Dido, raised the equal of her aristocratic cousin but shunned by society because of her skin color. Definitely a new addition to my recommended period dramas list!

Have you seen Belle (2013)?
What did you like or dislike about it?
If you haven't seen this film are you planning to watch it?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Autumn Letters (or Random Update)

Dear Readers,
The following are just some letters to and about things that are interesting in my life right now. I haven't been doing much period drama related recently except for catching a few episodes of Lark Rise To Candleford and having an unopened copy of Belle (2014) that I plan to open, watch and review soon. I'm sorry there hasn't been much posting lately as my day to day life leaves little time for much. But I have had lots of time for spiritual growth lately and also personal growth in other areas of my life. I pray you are all doing well and enjoying a rich life (not just financially) with your family and friends.

Dear Benedict Cumberbatch,
I'm very excited to hear that you are playing Richard III in the new The Hollow Crown series! I really enjoyed Ben Wishaw and Tom Hiddleston in Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V and I'm sure you'll be amazing as always!

Dear Season Two of The Paradise,
You have taken away one of my favoritest characters and changed up the story so badly that I almost don't want to continue on. But I am compelled to watch because I liked the first season so much and because it's so fun to IM with my sister while watching together in different states.

Dear Death Comes To Pemberley,
I am so very excited you are coming to Masterpiece Theatre because I really hope all American Janeites will enjoy tuning in! And because the DVD copy will now be available in the USA! (it would make a lovely Christmas gift! *hint hint*)

Dear Into The Woods movie,
I am so intrigued by the photos and trailers I've seen and hope very much to see you in cinemas around Christmas time, maybe with a group of friends when I go home to Kentucky! I'm looking forward to hearing all the actors sing!

British actors in American TV shows,
I know there's a big trend right now of British actors headlining new American TV series. While I am somewhat excited to see you starring in your own shows and being recognized for the brilliant people you are, I am very sad to watch the trailers for these shows and hear you completely dropping your amazing native accents!!! Yes, I'm talking to you Karen Gillan, Jonny Lee Miller and David Tennant (especially you Scots)! Take a cue from Ioan Gruffudd and becoming a murder solving immortal so you can dress in period costumes while keeping your amazing accent!

Dear Doctor Who, Season 8,
I really wish I had an opportunity to watch you but unfortunately you're not available at a time and place I could watch you. I really want to see the Twelfth Doctor but right now I must content myself with previews. 

Dear Driver's License,
I thank the good Lord every time I drive that I was finally able to get you this summer! I enjoy driving myself around much more than I ever thought I would and I'm not sure why I waited so long to get you! (Well there is a whole God's timing part of it.) It's only been about two months since I got you but I've already been to a Weekend Ladies Bible Conference, hayride at church, concert at church, the cinema, lots of shopping, Bible Study every Friday night and to church every Sunday. Not to mention my fun around town with Gram, she loves to get out of the house!

Dear Kittercat,
I know last year I started to get quite annoyed at you for eating off of Gram's plate and being such a pest but I did miss you this summer and that greeting you gave me when I got back stole my heart. I'm learning just what a sweetheart you really are and how much richness you add to our lives. Thank you for sleeping on Gram's bed at night and watching over her till morning. And thank you for posing for so many fun photos!

Dear Psalm 63,
I'm working on memorizing you, little by little, while trying to make you daily the prayer of my heart. 

Dear Crochet & Knitting,
You are quite handy past times! I am so excited to try my new pattern books soon...I just have to finish my scarf first (it's taking so long!). Thank you for providing countless hours of entertainment!

Dear Little Park,
You are so charming and probably my favorite place to drive to! I am so thankful you are close to home and have picturesque views and easy access to park benches for sitting and eating lunch. You are one of Gram's favorite places on earth and you are starting to be one of my favorites too. As a bonus you've been around so long that my mom and her siblings used to visit you when they were all growing up!

Dear Personality Tests,
I've always enjoyed figuring out what types of personalities my friends and family have but since discovering the MBTI (Myers-Briggs) personality tests I have been able to pinpoint what causes such problems between some of my extended family I have to deal with on a daily/weekly basis. It's neat to learn that I am an ISFJ, a personality with characteristics that often contradict its individual part. It's also helpful to know what makes that ESTP cousin tick and how he seems to know what I'm thinking and why I have a hard time trusting him (his unpredictable-ness is aggravating to me). As an Introvert it is exhausting to have to deal with a personality that is directly opposite to mine, but the Lord gives me strength!

Dear Character Back Stories,
You are so very intriguing and distracting! You are the reason why I don't usually get much written on the real story! And when I add in doing the aforementioned personality tests on my characters it helps me know how and why my characters act the way they do but you're both really just rabbit trails! I am determined though that this story will be written! And hopefully other stories about this neighborhood of people will also be written. It's hard putting aside my perfectionism and procrastination and just working on getting the story out of my head and on paper. Trying to do a bit of NaNoWriMo should help (maybe I'll aim for half the amount of words).

Very Truly Yours, 
Miss Laurie

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gentlemen Of Period Dramas Eyes Quiz - Answers!!!

Finally here are the answers to the Gentlemen Of Period Dramas Eyes Quiz!!! I'm so sorry it took this long to post this, the biggest thing was putting together the video, it's fun but very time consuming. Thank you all for playing!

Emma Jane - 177 points
Miss Sneyd - 174 points 
Birdie - 167 points
Melody - 157 points 
Naomi Bennett - 149 points
Chloe Cruz - 114 points
Austin Wentworth - 107 points
McKenna - 66 points
Larissa - 55 points
Kimberley Grace Bowman - 46 points

Thanks for playing!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Life Update

It has been a fabulously busy summer of working and visiting my family. Now I am making the transition back to caring for my great-gram for the Fall/Winter period. I will be back to posting after a bit, but for now I'm going to leave the Gentlemen Of Period Dramas Eyes Quiz up so if you haven't played you have plenty of time. 
I'll be back soon with hopefully several film reviews!

Very Truly Yours,
Miss Laurie

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gentlemen Of Period Dramas Eyes Quiz!

Quite a while ago I posted a Ladies Of Period Dramas Eyes Quiz that was well received. I've been working on another video quiz featuring the gentlemen of period dramas.

To Play: Look at the 75 photos of eyes of gentlemen from period dramas in the video below. Leave a comment guessing which Character, Actor and Period Drama each pair of eyes comes from. I'll respond with your score. Guess as many times as you wish. An answers video will be posted next week.

Scoring: 1 point for each correctly guessed Character, Actor and Period Drama. A high score of 225 points can be earned.

Note: If your comment is long, you may want to split up your answers in two comments so that it won't be cut off.


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