Monday, February 2, 2015

The Making Of A Lady (2012)

The Making Of A Lady (2012) is Victorian era mystery or thriller of sorts, based loosely on Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Making of a Marchioness. It re-aired on PBS last fall and I meant to watch it then, so when I saw it on Netflix I took my chance. It was quite disappointing and a rather scary but with a happy ending. I'm pretty sure it wasn't much like the book, but I haven't read it yet.

I dislike doing negative reviews so I'm trying to keep this one short. This film looks good at first but it turns ugly in the middle. I don't recommend it.

Story: Poor but intelligent Emily Fox Seton accepts a marriage proposal from the older Lord James Walderhurst, a widower pushed into providing an heir by his haughty aunt Maria, Emily's employer. It is an arrangement for them both - in James' case to stop the family home passing to James' cousin Alec Osborn and his Anglo-Indian wife Hester. However affection soon grows between them but James is posted to India with his regiment and the Osborns come to stay with Emily, telling her James sent them to look after her. But they have lied and Alec's alarming mood swings brought on by illness threatens Emily's pregnancy and drives the staff away. Soon Emily realizes that the couple mean to kill her and take the house for themselves. With only her loyal maid Jane for support how can she thwart their plan?

Characters & Actors:
  • Lydia Wilson as Emily Fox Seton - Main character, she is kind but clever and at the same time a little bit dumb to allow the evil characters to get close to her.  
  • Linus Roache as Lord James Walderhurst - He marries Emily, and it's hard to figure him out at first whether he's good or bad. It seems like he could have put more protection in place for his new wife, especially if he knew his relatives were capable of murder. 
  • Joanna Lumley as Lady Maria Byrne - Walderhurst's aunt who does not approve of his marriage to her companion who she treats poorly. I think eventually she sees how good Emily is for her nephew.
  • James D'Arcy as Captain Alec Osborn - Ugh! I usually really enjoy James D'Arcy in period drama roles but in this one he plays the crazed murdering villain and it's awful! :(  And I hate that this character's name is Alec because I rather like that name. 
  • Hasina Haque as Hester Osborn - She's Alec's wife and does exactly what he wants her to do. You kind of want to like her but she follows his murderous schemes so it's rather impossible. 
  • Sarah Ridgeway as Jane - Emily's friend who comes to work as her ladies maid and all seems well until even she is beguiled by Alec. 
  • Souad Faress as Ameerah - Hester's loyal servant who is also from India. Unfortunately she sides with Alec over Hester in the end and puts Emily's life in danger. She's one creepy person.
  • Malcolm Storry  as Mr. Litton - The loyal butler who unfortunately gets killed during the film. There seems like there was a lot more that he could have done to help protect Emily, even before he was found dead.
  • Claire Hackett as Mrs. Litton - The cook/housekeeper, again there seemed like she could have alerted the authorities to the murderous plot going on, even if she was afraid for her own life after the death of her husband.

The Long & The Short Of It: The movie starts out weird and turns scary, more of a Victorian era thriller similar to The Woman In White, The Moonstone and The Mystery Of Edwin Drood only slightly worse. It does have a happy ending but I'm not sure it's worth watching the creepiness of the rest of the film. It is a slightly racist story as it makes the Indian characters as the bad guys, giving a rather "they are from a different country so of course they are evil" attitude to the "good" characters. There seems like there could of been a less traumatic way to try and kill Emily at the end, she was in the priest's hole at one point so they could have just sealed up the air holes. Kind of weird that they missed out on that opportunity. I recommend you steer clear of this film at all costs!

Have you seen The Making Of A Lady (2012)?
Anybody know if the book is any good? I'm thinking about trying the audio book. 


Naomi Bennet said...

Ewwww. This looks bad. I've never heard of it, so it's never been a to-watch thing, but I now know that it never will be. :-)

And oh, I think I recognise that spotted dress from the Paradise, if I'm right.

~ Naomi

Homeschool Mom said...

Thank you for this review. We watched The Woman in White, and although it had a good story line, it was awfully dark. I am enjoying Bleak House, but it too is a little scary.

Ella said...

I saw that Netflix added this movie recently.
Thanks for reviewing it! I don't think I would like this movie.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it though it was a bit creepy for my taste. I would watch it again just not all the way through. It was a sweet ending and I really liked the relationship between Emily and Lord Walderhurst :)


McKenna said...

I completely agree with you, Laurie! My sister and I watched the film. I was excited because it was Frances Hodgson Burnett, so I thought I could trust it. Plus James D'Arcy (LOVE his characters in Agent Carter and Master and Commander) But I was truly repelled. The trauma and suspense of the middle completely outweighed the abrupt, but happy ending. I wasn't given nearly enough time to recover from Emily's near-death. They ended it in two minutes flat and I was still reeling from her almost being smothered! I'll back you up here; don't watch the film.

paperdollmom said...

The story actually sounds interesting. It sounds like a pretty heavy dramatic story, on topics I could see being iffy. However, I am curious, did you dislike it so much because of the topics of racism and the idea of them trying to kill her, or did it get gruesome to watch?

Elisa said...

I saw some of it when it originally aired on PBS last year. It came on at a later time slot so I didn't finish.
From reviews I read online, it wasn't well received in the UK and US.
"Making of a Lady" is an adaptation of "Emily Fox Seton" which was originally published as a duet: "Making of a Marchioness" and "The Methods of Lady Walderhurst." It's one of Burnett's less-known novels compared to her novels for kids.

Linus Roache played the assistant district attorney opposite Sam Waterson in the final seasons of "Law & Order" so I remembered him from that show!

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

There are some slightly gruesome, scary & questionable scenes. As the film progresses a murdered man is found in the water, a pregnant woman is chased through the house and drugged and almost dies, the villain seduces a young maid putting bloody fingers in her mouth and eventually following her to an old farm house with a rifle and he is later shown dead. There are also two short scenes of couples going to bed together although nothing more than kissing and groping are shown. Overall it's just not a good film.

Alice said...

Don't let the movie stop you from reading the book! I don't remember if there are two different books with these characters or if the book is in two part. The movie seems to be based on the second part (or second book) which is indeed kind of a mystery/suspence book. I liked the first part very much: it is the story of how Emily and her husband decide to get married (no arranged marriage in the book !). Maybe you should try only the first book?

Sarah said...

Hello, I don't think I've commented here before, but I read occasionally, and enjoy your reviews. :)

I just thought I'd add my voice to the mix sine it's the minority: I actually really liked this one, so much so that I've seen it three times! It's certainly not a for-everyone classic kind of period drama, being so suspenseful and occasionally disturbing, but I liked how unusual it was, and thought it was well-done, and I loved the characters and the romance. :)

Diane said...

I just watched it this morning. I enjoyed the fashions, but it is a creepy movie. Some surprising scenes for a PBS show. I did love her wedding gown!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, that does sound like to avoid. Interesting premise but too creepy and a far cry from Secret Garden. Thank you for the review, though!

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