Monday, November 23, 2009
Triple Movie Review: Three Films in Review
I actually have had an opportunity to watch three different "period" pieces for the "Period Drama Challenge" that I'm involved with. Each of these films posed a different time, location, and dilemma, but were each very similar in their quest for some sort of growth. I hope you'll pardon me while I share three films for review, from different countries, and each for your consideration!
Moliere was an interesting film about a French man who traveled across France performing in various stage performances and theatricals. At the main juncture in the film, he is asked to tutor an aristocrat and help him create a play for a woman he is in love with (who is not his wife). Therein begins the "drama" and deceipt that also creates some serious humor in places. I can't say that I saw the historical connections between the historical figure Moliere, and the character in the film, but having said that, I didn't know that much about him other than that he was a playwright. I did find it interesting how the film played with the philosophies of life, questioning the position of "serious" drama versus comedies, as well as ones ethics. Much of the play was filled with broken relationships, bribery, and mistaken identity, which created an interesting film (with subtitles), but maybe not one I would readily return to. I did enjoy having exposure, yet again, to the themes and ideas of this time in French history. (For more information see: Moliere.)
I next skipped over to the British Isles, to see Nicholas Nickleby, by Charles Dickens. It didn't take me long into this BBC version of the film to quickly remember seeing another version of the film last year, which I actually liked better than this longer version. Both films center on the tragic life of Nicholas Nickleby, who is forced to serve as the teacher for a "boarding school" for boys during the Victorian Era. The deplorable conditions, and the reasons behind his forced service there, all boil down to social status and money; his mother and sister need support, his uncle doesn't want him around, and there is another big secret about his uncle that Nicholas will uncover while serving as the teacher. I don't want to reveal too much here, but will say that there are various plot lines to keep you engaged in the story. This version is not my favorite, and actually prefer the 2003 film; however, you do get a bit more of the story from this longer BBC version. (For more information see: Nicholas Nickleby.)
The final film I watched took place in the United States, The Inheritance, based off of a book by Louisa May Alcott. The main character, Edith Adelon is raised as the paid companion to her cousin, being an orphan that was saved from an orphanage in Italy. As the family awaits a trio of visitors for a local horse race, ideals of social standing and money come into play as the girls each begin to interact with the young men who arrive, as suitors. The two main young men fall for Edith, and jealousy ensues. Edith, however, shows herself of good breeding and character, hoping to help her cousin and create proper social etiquette among all her peers. The "inheritance" portion of the story comes into play later in the film, when Edith learns some shocking news that changes how she views the world, herself, and the men she has come to befriend. This was a cute film, although I will admit to being distracted through much of the movie. As for period pieces, this was a nice depiction of upper class society in the United States during (what I suspect) is the mid to late 1800's. (For more information see: The Inheritance.)
For this holiday weekend here in the United States, here are a few period dramas that might give you a bit of history and background on three different, unique times and places in history. These three reviews all are part of my "Period Drama Challenge" and bring me to 8 of 12 films by 1/7/2010.