Binge Watching “Persuasion” Adaptations

Last weekend, I watched the two most recent movie adaptations of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Watching them back-to-back was an unexpected thing! I found the 1995 version at a great thrift store, so I decided to watch it first and follow with the newer one, from 2007, in a few weeks. My mom was enthusiastic after the credits rolled on the 1995, and we decided to watch the next one over the weekend, too.

A little about the two films: the 1995 Persuasion stars Amanda Root as Anne Elliot and Ciarán Hinds as Captain Wentworth. The 2007 Persuasion stars Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot and Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth. Both were originally made for British television and both filmed on location in the countryside, Lyme, and Bath.

I recommend either version, as both do a excellent job adapting the beloved Austen novel. Some things were more distinctly likable in each one, yet I find they have enough differences to make them both watchable for their own merit.

~a brief comparison (or, reasons to watch both of these ASAP~

Cinematography: Both have sweeping English views, coastal visits, and on-location filming. The 1995 version, however, takes its time a bit with the storyline and the scenery, allowing for slightly more contemplative shots. The 2007 has tighter framing on the cast, so the emotions are at the forefront in many of their interactions.

Supporting characters: Vibrant! I find a little more empathy and understanding for Anne’s family in the 1995, while the 2007 periphery cast showcases more faults and annoyances. Either way, I can’t believe Anne puts up with them so gently! In both cases, I LOVE the Crofts.

Protagonist casting: I like the protagonist casting of both adaptations. I think the Amanda and Ciarán of the 1995 suit the more reserved, subdued tones of the story — the passion is still there, just under the surface. Sally and Rupert as Anne and Wentworth in the 2007 do an admirable job, especially in the asides Anne has toward the camera which mirror the narrator of the novel itself. But when it comes to the two Captains side by side, I must choose Rupert Penry-Jones as the most handsome Wentworth!

The endings: *Spoiler Alert* each suits the story build-up. 1995’s Anne is to have her first adventure and chance to see the world, as she has expressed desire to do, with her place now as the Captain’s wife on a ship. Perhaps the sweeter ending, to me, is that of the 2007 with what appears to be “home” settled: Wentworth has acquired Anne’s home estate, Kellynch. From Anne’s sad and frazzled appearance in the beginning, and her having to step away from home, this brings closure and a sense of a happy future with Wentworth’s gift. I appreciate that Austen’s original ending left the characters in a happy situation together with an open-ended future, and both adaptations had freedom to depict what that looks like.

For more about Austen’s Persuasion here on the blog, check out my post with Favorite Quotes from “Persuasion” from a few years ago!

Have you read or watched one of these adaptations? Which is your favorite?

Book & Film Pairings, edition 4

Welcome to another post where I pair books and films with similar themes or content! Today’s post is all about romantic comedies that happen to share a church-centric setting of some kind.

All three are self aware of their churchy humor (if you know, you know). And, they all balance humor, romance, and a serious side. Having spent time myself on a worship team, various committees, children’s choir leadership, etc., I definitely related to the humor and situations in these stories! Maybe you will, too. 😉

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated by Kaley and Rhonda Rea

This lighthearted romcom has the planning of a children’s community theater play as a backdrop to much of the characters’ interactions. The cat-owning beta hero and the grouchy barista are my favorite characters. In addition to some hilarious dragon-building and dress shopping situations, it intentionally spoofs Hallmark movies and tropes throughout.

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac

The comedy in this story is all about clumsiness, fish-out-of-water situations (American girl in Australia!), and the trickiness of working in a megachurch (that’s sarcasm). The emotional journey of healing its romantic leads traverse, though, is most impactful and impressive. It’s a fav!

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone (2016)

It has been a while since I watched this movie, but I love the cast and remember thinking the story was fun and enlightening. I’m pairing it with the books for its comedy and play-planning story content, as well as the unexpected romance and deeper lessons its characters learn. While its hero “pretends” to fit in to the church culture while fulfilling a community service sentence, he learns what true service and faith looks like in action. AND he falls for the pastor’s daughter along the way.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated 2021 Movies & Shows

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s official topic is “most anticipated releases for the first half of 2021”. I’m spinning the topic a bit to cover stories on the big and small screen I’m highly anticipating this year! Some of these were slated for 2020 release, so I’m extra excited to *finally* see them released.

Most Anticipated 2021 Movies & Shows

Top Gun: Maverick This sequel is almost 35 years in the making! I’m all about the nostalgia and anticipated soundtrack of this one.

No Time to Die This James Bond film is Daniel Craig’s last — and I have a feeling it’s going to be my favorite with him. I’m always entertained by the Bond titles but I really liked the story direction of the last one, Spectre, so I’m excited to see how they continue with some of those elements in this one!

Respect Jennifer Hudson as The Queen of Soul.

Black Widow FINALLY we get Scarlett Johansson’s character’s origin story. I hope there’s a nod to Budapest.

Death on the Nile The next Hercule Poirot remake, this highly anticipated period drama/mystery is slated for a late 2021 release. It will (hopefully) be here before we know it!

Dune The classic sci-fi with a fabulous cast. Though I know very little about the story, I am very excited for a new space adventure!

Finding You This Ireland-set romance is adapted from a novel by Jenny B. Jones!!! Hooray! Now, to read it before I watch it…

Luca Disney & Pixar + an Italian setting. I’m in!

On the small screen:

All Creatures Great and Small this promising PBS-Masterpiece slated series follows a veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire.

Miss Scarlet and the Duke A Victorian mystery with a female lead. ALL things I love!

Your turn! Did you participate in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? Are any of these shows on your must-watch list? What books are you anticipating this year?

Book & Film Pairings, edition 3

Welcome to my blog series pairing favorite stories in book and film format. In this third edition, I’m sharing a book and two movies that share this commonality: high tech heist/spy thrillers!

Ocean's 11

Ocean’s 11 is a favorite! It covers the HEIST aspect with sleight of hand, humor, and an iconic cast. Its plot involves a team of thief-friends who assemble, prepare, and execute a plan to rob the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. Simultaneously, a deeper emotional-driven plot is built up as the leader, played by George Clooney, tries to win back his ex-wife, played by Julia Roberts. Who happens to be dating the casino owner. 😉 Filled with quotable lines and smart storytelling, it’s a must-watch for any heist/comedy/action fans!

The Man from Uncle

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. revives the classic TV series with an updated cast and an intriguing Cold War-era setting. It’s a classic enemies-forced-to-work-together plot as agents from the CIA, KGB, and maybe one or two other clandestine agencies work to thwart the plot of a criminal organization and their nuclear plans. It has globe-trotting fun, high tech gadgets, a killer soundtrack, and 3 main characters whose on-screen banter and chemistry is off. the. charts. I really, really, want Hollywood to give us a sequel with more animosity between Solo and Illya and more romance with Illya and Gaby.

The Gryphon Heist by James Hannibal is my book recommendation paired with these films. It features a brilliant ensemble cast of characters from sanctioned government organizations and freelance thieves joining forces to protect a defense design project… and possibly uncover a traitor. It’s fun, high tech, witty, and fast paced ~~ everything you could want in a thriller!

If you have read or watched these, I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you have other novels or movies that feature a heist or ensemble agent/thief combo to recommend?

Book & Film Pairings, edition 2

Welcome to a new series on the blog pairing favorite stories in book and film format! This is my second edition of sharing a recommended book and movie with reasons you should check them out! Today’s genre is a mashup of two cultures, family drama, restaurants, and food love!

The Hundred Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey, based on novel, follows an Indian family as they start over with a restaurant in a new country, France. The central character is the eldest son, who dreams of continuing in the culinary world but going about it differently than his family expects. All of this conspires with a rival-turned-friend restauranteur neighbor, a thread of romance, the wonder of discovering a new culture, and a good bit of humor. I really appreciated its subtle lessons on how people can defy expectations in the best way.

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay is a favorite novel of mine. Like the movie mentioned above, it melds two characters from completely different cultures – in this case, American and Italian. The cultures serve cleverly to highlight the characters’ shared passions and facets that make them unique. The novel’s whirlwind romance is more central to the story. It shares a culture shock factor with the movie, with an exquisite setting – the Italian countryside! I love seeing the relationship between Emily and Ben, the hero, progress in this story, but mostly I love seeing Emily learn and grow as she takes risks, makes mistakes, and steps out beyond herself.

If you have read or watched either of these, I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you have other novels or movies to recommend that feature adjusting to different cultures or finding home in an unexpected place?

Having visited Italy in 2019, I am just enamored with that culture. Do you have any Italian-set movies or novels to recommend?

Book & Film Pairings, edition 1

Welcome to a new series on the blog pairing favorite stories in book and film format! I will be sharing a recommendation for a book and a movie (or series!), along with notes comparing the two and reasons you should read or watch each one.  We’re starting off with one of my favorite genres, historical dramas and the subject of WWII.

WWII Dramas: Dunkirk (2017) and The Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

dunkirk movie poster
source: imdb.com

Dunkirk is the Christopher Nolan-directed war epic, released in theaters in 2017. It tells the true-life story of the evacuation at Dunkirk beach in France during the onslaught of the Germans’ advance in 1940. The three perspectives of the story (land, sea, and air) are twisted together and quite cleverly layered. It’s the kind of movie you really have to pay attention to – especially for the timeline of everything! The presentation of each perspective has a rawness and urgency, paired with a heart-pounding score and knowledge that it’s based on real life events to make the viewer anxious and intrigued at once.

The Maggie Bright is a novel that I enjoyed IMMENSELY. Tracy Groot has a storytelling ability that is impressive. This story, set before and during the events of Dunkirk, is like the film in some ways with its multiple perspectives and winding story that intertwines with the events of Dunkirk in a most surprising way. A book, of course, offers more emotional depth and immersive feelings, and that is the case with the events the reader is caught up in with Maggie Bright.

Read my full review of The Maggie Bright here!

If you have read or watched either of these, I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you have other novels or movies to recommend that feature WWII drama or the rescue at Dunkirk?

Book & Movie Thoughts: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Fans of romantic period dramas are probably well aware of the recent book-to-screen adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, now available on Netflix here in the US. Having read the book AND watched the adaptation, I have thoughts!!!

Book thoughts…

Guernsey 2I first heard about this book through another epistolary book-for-book-lovers, Dear Mr. Knightley. The quirky title was enough to have me googling and seeing other reviews that made this sound like something I would like! I’ve since read it twice, most recently with friends discussing in a read-along on Twitter with #GBral. (Shoutout to the #bookbesties who made this super fun!)

I adore the book! I am now and forever a fan of the epistolary (letter) format, and a huge fan of WWII era stories. This combines the best of both worlds, with a gradual romance that keeps you guessing (who is the ultimate hero?). The colorful characters keep the story humorous and balance the more serious moments of the harsh reality of German occupation.

 

Content note: there are a few instances of mild to moderate language, a child born out of wedlock, and suggestions that one character is homosexual.

Movie thoughts…

Guernsey 1

Courtesy of IMDB.com

I appreciate book adaptations. Really. I know they cannot be the original story that plays out in your head, and they cannot possibly be so detailed within a shorter time frame. With that in mind, I really, REALLY enjoyed this one!

I thought the casting was perfect (except for Markham… he was a little more charismatic in my head). Lily as Juliet captured all the emotions and growth so well. Isola was quirky and lovable. Adelaide has a slightly different role but was brilliantly and emotionally played. And Michiel as Dawsey!!!! *heart eyes* He’s wonderfully straightforward and shy and just so genuine. Little KIT was my favorite! She was precious.

The scenery was wonderful. Having a visual of the beauty of the island will be great when I want to revisit the book. Everything from the set design to the costumes and cinematography were wonderful and helped build a picture of the story world.

Let’s talk story! I appreciated the parts that were reserved, and mourned some characters that were missing. Given the shorter time frame, I understand the parts that were abbreviated. I DO wish we had just a bit more time with the characters near the ending! And, I wish they had featured Kit a little more in the way her role with Juliet blossoms. But I loved the time with the society, the stories of Elizabeth, and especially the pigs!

Overall, this was a great adaptation that made me appreciate the root story even more — and is likely very enjoyable as a period drama for anyone who hasn’t read the book.

If you have seen and/or read this little gem, what did you think? Do you feel they did it justice with the adaptation? What was your favorite scene?

Review: The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin + Movie Thoughts

IMG_20171024_201140_531.jpg

Review: The Mountain Between Us is so much more than a story of survival. It’s a story of steadfast hope, sacrifice, and commitment.

This is very much Ben’s journey because it is told in his 1st person POV. Through his eyes, the reader learns of his past (through audio dictations to his wife that read like letters) and experiences firsthand how this sudden test of extreme circumstances challenges him and brings out his admirable determination to succeed. Ashley’s character growth and tenacity is never shortchanged, though, as her spunk, humor, and optimism are easy to love and see.

I am once again impressed with Charles Martin’s emotional prose and ability to maintain tension both in circumstance (stranded in the wild) and heart (Ben has an enigmatic side) until the last few pages. The heart-journey is much deeper than the snow Ben and Ashley find themselves in. And WHAT A TWIST!!!!!! This book is one I would highly recommend to fans of contemporary drama, action/survival stories, or even emotional romantic dramas in the style of Nicholas Sparks.

Movie thoughts: Clearly I loved the book —- highly recommended. The movie was good, just not the straight book-to-movie adaptation I had hoped for (as typical with book-to-movie changes). A few key things were changed —- most I could understand for the film medium and time’s sake, except for a couple key moments. It was beautiful visually and well-acted (I always love Kate Winslet). BUT, there were a couple things that happened which altered the portrayal of Ben, his history, and even altered his character’s integrity that disappointed me. THE GOOD NEWS? Check out this recent response from author Charles Martin in his newsletter concerning the changes and his minimal role in the process. I agree and am encouraged by his response. If the movie is spurring the popularity of the book and the message of HOPE it contains, I’m very happy!

Wednesday Wonderings, edition 4

It’s another “Wednesday Wonderings” question!

Wednesday Wonderings

What are your favorite book to film adaptations?

And by film, let’s say that miniseries count, too. From YA to classics, and everything in between, what works do you think have been adapted closely or the best?

Some book-to-movie adaptations are perfect, and some are just “visual aids” for their books. Here are a few that I think did an excellent job staying close to the book, or their adaptation interpreted the book in a way I LOVED.wpid-photogrid_1428888927817.jpg

Pride & Prejudice (2005 movie with Keira Knightley) One of my absolute favorite movies! Great cinematography, casting, and concise script to fit a movie time slot.

Little Women (1994 with Winona Ryder) The best story about sisters.

North & South (BBC miniseries, 2004) You knew this one would make my list, right? Such awesomeness in one series.

The Hunger Games (2012) Yes, I admit, I am a fan of Jennifer Lawrence. It stayed fairly close to the original book, too.

Emma (BBC miniseries, 2009) Maybe a little more idealistic than Austen’s book, but definitely a fabulous interpretation.

Occasionally, the book is significantly better than the movie. I think that’s the case with The Last Song (2010). The book had much more likable characters and more depth.

What are your thoughts? Do you have favorite adaptations (or maybe some not-so-favorite?)?

Family, a Film, & a French Apple Cake

Sometimes you have a family or culinary experience that’s just so delightful you wish it would last forever. In my case, it was a combination – an evening watching a movie followed by eating a yummy apple cake. It was so great I decided to blog about it 🙂

Last week, I enjoyed watching one of my absolute favorite movies The Ultimate Gift (2006) PosterThe Ultimate Gift (2006) – with my grandmother, aunt, and uncle. If you haven’t seen it, you MUST watch it immediately. It’s one of my go-to movies, the kind I love to watch or listen to any time. It is the perfect family movie with a message for everyone – one “take-away” is that life is a gift meant to be shared with others. Plus it has a great cast (Abigail Breslin, James Garner [one of my personal faves], and Drew Fuller).

So, back to my great evening. After watching this with my family, we devoured ate most of a DELICIOUS French Apple Cake with Almonds (Yes, I am a little biased because I baked it myself, but when my uncle wants seconds, you know it’s good). The recipe came from Hillary Manton Lodge’s fabulous novel A Table by the Window, which is full of recipes squeezed in between the chapters of the story (like Nutella mousse, pasta carbonara with leeks and lemon, pine nut couscous, and mini focaccia to name a few). The story alone was one I loved, but these recipes are a fantastic bonus. This apple cake was very moist and just sweet enough — and easy to make. It was the perfect end to an evening making memories and enjoying a movie with my family. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of this book, if only for the recipes.

By the way, Hillary is featured in August’s Book Fun Magazine with an interview and recipe for the Provencal Lavender and Honey Pound Cake from the novel.

French Apple Cake with Almonds (recipe by Hillary Lodge)

Here’s a pic of my cake. Doesn’t it make you want a piece?

 

Note: I did receive a free copy of this book from the publishers to review (Thank you!), but this post is just a “fun” one I wanted to share, not encouraged/required by the publishers.

Have you seen The Ultimate Gift? What did you think? What’s your family’s favorite movie?

I’d love to hear your comments – they don’t even have to stay on topic! 😉