Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Film Review: Wives and Daughters

Four out of five stars
Rated TV-PG 

I'm completely at a loss as to how to start this post. This is my second time watching this mini-series, and I love it. I only liked it before. I shall give you my reasons, but first, prepare yourself for an extensive post about every little detail.
For those of you who hate long posts, I'll give you the short and sweet version now.

I recommend this adaptation heartily! Andrew Davies wrote the screenplay and his work is usually pretty good about not straying far from the author's original work. (Except Sense & Sensibility, but don't get me started....)
There is some language, for Squire Hamley (our hero's father) has quite a temper. And there is tragic death. (Sorry, I became Emily Starr for a moment) But all in all the PG rating is accurate. This is a fun movie for those who like light film and for those who like to see deeper characters and plots.

And yes that can happen in the same movie, because deep doesn't always mean heavy, or depressing.

What I'm trying to say is that to enjoy this movie, you don't have to pay to close attention because you will get it and everything will make sense even if you are only halfway paying attention. However, there are little things here and there- lines, expressions, actions- that just add depth to the characters and help you understand why the character behaves the way he or she does.

Beyond this there are spoilers...
You just read that in River Song's voice, didn't you?

Okay, for those of you who have stuck with me this long, and who may be wondering why I love it now when I only liked the mini-series before... I missed so much the first time around. I won't go into a long list of the things I missed. Mostly because now that I'm done with the series, I don't think I could name more then two. But I shall go into a long list of certain opinions I had, and why they've changed.

I remember finishing Wives and Daughters the first time with a strong dislike for Cynthia. At first I liked her,because she seemed to care for Molly and she stood up for her. But she quickly became annoying.
However, this time I realized there were some very heartbreaking reasons for her actions. She had grown up with a manipulative, flighty mother, who only showed affection when it suited her needs and wants, and even that affection wasn't real. (I compare it to Rodmilla in  Ever After, at times you could see real emotion, whether is was love, fear, or heartbreak because of Daniella's resemblance to her father, it wasn't feigned).
So, to avoid being like her mother, who only shows fake affection to get what she wants, Cynthia is the opposite. She parades around telling everyone that she cannot love, at least not like other people do. And while she doesn't exhibit true, selfless love, she still tries her best to be a kind and worthy woman. She just gets confused and becomes a sort of jumble between a truly worthy woman, and the worldly expectation of womanhood.

She was sort of disrespectful in this scene, but I admired her spunk, and her heart was in the right place.

The Father-Daughter relationship
This one isn't so much that I'd changed my mind, but rather, that I have seen more to love in this aspect of the story. Pretty early on Mr. Gibson realizes he has a very silly new wife, not as early as Molly sees it, but still pretty early. And while you see secret looks shared between the two at her silliness, and they talk to each other about missing the time that they used to spend together, they never say anything to anyone else about it. Neither one does anything that might make Hyacinth feel like they regret the marriage. This is a real picture of love. They realize that the person is not who they thought she was, but they choose to love her and except her as part of their family anyway. Sure, when she goes to London for a week they revel in eating beside the fire, and having meals of bread and cheese while cooling their tea in the saucer... But they are prepared to give up said ''Barbaric'' things the moment that Mrs. Gibson walk back through that door.

A moment of deep discussion between father and daughter while Mrs. Gibson is away.

Mr. Preston
I can't say exactly what changed about my impression of him, but I'll just leave it at this...
You've heard it said about some characters ''I just love to hate him''? Well Mr. Preston is a character I hate to love. But I do, in a sad, pitying sort of way. I just can't hate him after all Cynthia put him through. Because even though he isn't good-hearted, he did truly love her.

Now, here are a few things I just plain loved!!
Lady Harriet, for one. She is a character I could read a whole book about. In her first scene, those first few moments, she doesn't make a very good impression. But she most definitely improves! She's cheeky, without being inappropriate, she is ladylike without fading into the corner like a wallflower, and best of all she runs in and rescues Molly. She is about the only true friend Molly has.

Rosamund Pike was wonderful as Lady Harriet
 Osborne Hamley. Well, I don't know how you are all going to take this, but I liked Osborne a lot more then Roger. Not that I thought he and Molly should have been a couple! Heavens, no. I always thought that Roger and Molly were for each other. 
But there are just so many reasons to like Osborne. He sees Molly as the jewel she is from the start. (You know, I seem to remember a lot more shipping being done by Osborne on behalf of Roger and Molly, but I guess I was wrong). 

This scene is when I fell in love with Osborne. I love the look on his face, a little bit amusement, a little bit of  "I don't care of they think that I'm sweet on you, no man should be ashamed of that." I mean, he doesn't even let go of her hand in this scene, I think!
Roger, Roger, Roger....
Oh boy, can I just say how amusing I found his look of panic every time Molly smiled at someone else in the last few scenes?? He just got so sad and disappointed every time she looked away, as if he thought that suddenly realizing he was a stupid oaf was enough to make her forget all other men in the room. 

As a last thought, I want to say how much I loved this line
Of course I remember it! I remember everything you wrote in your letters, how could you think I wouldn't?

And how much i love the simplicity of the proposal scene. Well, it was dramatic, and  could have done without the pouring rain. But I love he just asks the question, and she just bursts forth with
"Yes.Yes I will.Yes."
 As if it is the most natural thing in the world.

''Well, he rode seven miles to bring her a wasps nest, and you don't do that for no reason!''

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