Thursday, August 6, 2009

Movie Challenge Review: Moll Flanders (1996)

My apologies for being incognito for several days. Migraines are becoming a hideous addition to my life, and not one that I feel I have any control or understanding. Sigh. What can you do? Thankfully, two days later I'm finally up and about again! In the meantime, I wanted to post my second review in the Period Drama Challenge I have joined from Lights, Camera, History.

Before I review, let me preface this by stating that it's not a BBC drama, but rather a film I wanted to watch to remind me about the basic plot of Daniel Defoe's novel Moll Flanders because I'm teaching it in my online class. YES, sometimes as teachers we need a fast reminder of the plot structure and storyline so that we're ready to go. Thankfully, even though the film had many variations from the novel, I still had a great reminder so that I was ready to go!

Synopsis: Moll has lived an underprivileged life, as the daughter of a prisoner who was raised first in a convent, and then left to provide for herself on the streets of London. Moll ends up in a brothel, and of course, over time ends up working there. Along the way, she loses her sense of self, and when a young artist comes along to pay for her services as a muse, and not as a prostitute, both Moll and her boss question what his motives are and what he wants. In the interest of not giving away any more of the plot, Moll goes through many more great disappointments and sorrows, but also experiences great joys and happiness.

Review: I actually thought this film was pretty decent. Robin Wright Penn, who plays Moll, and Morgan Freeman, who plays the servant to the mistress of the brothel, both do an excellent job in their acting, in that we believe that they are these characters. Unlike the previous film I watched, I felt that the acting and cinematography really helped me escape into the storyline. There were moments that felt bizarre, and over the top, but in the heart of following Defoe's story about this one woman's life, it did capture the heart of the drama and tragedy in the story. It's not my favorite film of the year, nor is it one I would necessarily recommend that anyone run out to see, but it's also not the worst. Overall, it's a fine film, not without flaws, but a decent period drama.

Well, I'm now looking forward to seeing Julie and Julia this coming weekend. How about you? What are you looking forward to seeing next (theater or rental)?

For more information: Moll Flanders.

***This is 2 of 12 for the Period Drama Challenge.


  1. A friend of mine bought me this book back in jr. high... I started to read it but never finished. One of these days I think I'll try to read it again.. esp since it's on the 1001 books to read list, hehe. I wonder if I have a hard time getting into the book if the movie might pique my interest in it?

  2. When I first saw the title of this post, I was like, "Oh, I wanted to see that movie but I forgot about it!" But then as I was reading I realized I had seen it--or at least some version of it. *blush* I'm turning into the nutty professor.

    My mom bought Coraline, so that will probably be the next movie I watch. I do have Inkheart waiting for me at the library though--hopefully I won't forget to pick it up. Again.

    Hopefully your migraines will disappear for a while, especially during your move back to the states.

    Oh, and I gave you an award on my blog:

  3. I usually just read some pages with my students, and use Moll Flanders to make a comparison with Robinson Crusoe. I also bought this DVD some years ago to use it in my lessons but I didn't like it so much and have never used it. I like introducing the excerpt we are going to read in a class with the scene taken from an adaptation. Costume films and dramas can be motivating in a literature class.

  4. Jenny -- The movie might get you interested. I will say that it's definitely made me want to go back and re-read the novel so I can pick out the differences I noticed! :)

    Heidenkind -- Thanks for the award! I HAVE TO get with it here soon and get my blog points straightened up! I also have looked at people's reviews, and then thought, "Wait...I've read/watched this before!" It's funny when that happens, but a fun reminder too!

    Maria -- I think that's a really great way to get students engaged with a text. I also like to show clips of important scenes, etc. In fact, as I mentioned in an earlier post this year, I held a movie night and later showed the entire Tess of the D'Urbervilles film for my students. They hated only getting snippets of the film, so I later had to offer an evening showing of the rest of it. :) You're right; these films can be great motivators!