Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Northanger Abbey

Having just re-read the novel I was eagerly awaiting this 2007 film. This movie is presented with a narrator following the way Austen wrote the book. This also helps to follow the story in the case of omissions from the original work.

Catherine is played charmingly by Felicity Jones. She is young, fresh and innocent although perhaps slightly overplays the latter on occasion. Henry Tilney is played by JJ Field – he embodies the character very well – lightly humorous, kind and gentle, attractive but not too good looking.

Carey Mulligan plays the coquettish Isabella Thorpe – she relishes her part and does a good job of flirting with everything in pants! William Beck is a perfectly odious John Thorpe, although so much so that you wonder HOW Catherine can even entertain the idea that he might be a friend!

Eleanor is played serenely by Catherine Walker – although she appears a little too quiet to be a close friend to the young Catherine who gets so excited at a novel’s intrigues and is so innocent of human behaviour. General Tilney looks a little more frightening than the initial description of him in the book, although Liam Cunningham embodies the true spirit of the General on show at the Abbey.

The vague Mrs Allen is played perfectly by Sylvestra Le Touzel and I believe she even improves slightly on the novel’s character by having just a touch of reality about the empty-headed character. Mrs Morland is sensibly played by Julia Dearden.

Overall the film kept to the true nature of the book, although as an adaptation of course, there were a few things changed. The film skipped over a few of the scenes in Bath and Northanger Abbey and notably the visit to Henry’s home. Also the laquered cabinet was absent and instead Catherine finds the old papers in the chest, but given that these were not 100% necessary to the development of the story, the other scenes conveyed the ideas adequately and most people would find nothing to offend them in this adaptation.

Lighthearted and humorous, this was an enjoyable little film at just over 90min in length.

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