Friday, March 15, 2013

Book & Movie Review- Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey 
by Jane Austen


A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

My thoughts-

The story is a charming, witty, coming-of-age tale that follows Catherine Morland.  She is a sweet, innocent, and imaginative. She spends the majority of her time reading Gothic novels that have filled her head with wild thoughts. 

When she is invited to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Allen in Bathe, Catherine is eager for romance and adventure, and that's exactly what she gets.   She meets the Thorpes, Isabella and John, and also Henry Tilney. And that's where the story kicks off. 

So my thoughts on this book are pretty simple. I really enjoyed it. I think it's a charming novel, very fun to read, and a great novel.  However I do have some complaints, and I will mention them. 

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the dialogue. The wit and humor between Catherine and the characters would continually make me smile. However, as the story went on and on, it seemed like it was dragged out. And when the climax did eventually arrive, it wasn't as exciting or jaw-dropping. Also, the dialogue seemed to come to a close, and everything was summarized in paragraphs by Jane Austen, making it feel more like a SparkNotes synopsis. 

The ending was a let down and it left me unsatisfied. However, the book is very charming, and I would still recommend it. 

Four stars out of five. I really enjoyed it, and will continue to read more Austen in the near future. 

Northanger Abbey (2007)

Directed by: Jon Jones

Starring: Felicity Jones, J.J. Feild, and Carey Mulligan. 

Written by: Andrew Davies (screenplay), Jane Austen (novel)

This is a charming adaptation starring Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland, J.J. Feild as Henry Tilney, and Carey Mulligan as Isabella Thorpe. 

I honestly cannot complain hardly at all about this movie.  The way the story was told flowed very nicely. Not a fast pace, not a slow pace.  There were a couple of things that weren't in the movie, but were in the book, and visa versa.  Since Catherine adores Gothic novels, they added these dream sequences that had a dramatic, but yet humorous feel. 

Now the ending of the movie was different compared to the book. I thought the ending was sweet and a good thing to wrap things up, but it did feel like there were too many loose ends. Some of the things weren't well explained, and again, it felt unsatisfying. (sigh)

But I would still recommend this adaptation. I think it was very well done... AND you can watch the whole things on YouTube in ten parts. Link below. :)

Northanger Abbey 2007 part 1/10


Again, four stars out of five. I really recommend it. 

I hope you enjoyed my book and movie review for Northanger Abbey. Until my next post, keep reading. 

Miss Book Reader

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Thoughts On "Jane Eyre" 2011 Movie (Spoilers)

"Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both

are fruit, but taste completely different." - Stephen King

I recently watched the 2011 movie adaptation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite novels, and so far my favorite adaptation of it is the 1983 mini series. But lately I've been wanting to watch more editions, so I decided to start with the 2011 adaption. 

This adaptation stars Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.  The screenplay is by Moria Buffini.  And the whole thing is directed by Cary Fukunaga. 

The way the story of Jane Eyre is approached in a very different way that I've seen before. Very artistic, haunting, silent, and almost disturbing at times. The story is told through flashbacks, which I thought was a different twist.  

Now the actual delivery of the story I thought was good. All the key points were mentioned. However it felt like Jane and Mr. Rochester's relationship was a bit rushed, which really can't be blamed on the movie, since they have a certain time limit to tell a five-hundred page novel.  All the best parts of the story are told, but so much more of the banter and tension of their relationship is left out, which disappointed me. 

As far as the acting goes, I felt that all the actors did a wonderful job, but I don't think some of them were right for their parts.  The girl who portrays young Jane, Amelia Clarkson, played the part differently then I imagined Jane. She was very sneaky, spiteful, and almost annoying. She came off to me, almost brat..ish... which really upset me. But perhaps that's just my opinion. 

Now Mia Wasikowska did a very good job, but she was so quiet and reserved. Since the actual book is told from first person, meaning we get to hear Jane's thoughts even though  Jane actually doesn't speak that much. So it's quite a challenge to portray the character of Jane as a strong female who isn't shy or reserved. I thought that Mia, while doing an excellent job, when she did say some of the most powerful lines that Jane says, it sounded so odd and wasn't consistent. 

And of course Mr. Rochester. Or rather Mr. Fassbender who plays Mr. Rochester. I am so torn about his performance. While I thought he was an excellent Mr. Rochester during those more softer, sad, and private moments when a gentler side of him comes out, I thought he lacked passion during the moments when Mr. Rochester, well to be blunt, looses it. But he is defiantly one of my favorite actors who has portrayed Mr. Rochester. Now if someone could just mold together a blend of Michael Fassbender and Timothy Dalton... (sigh)

My last complaint, is actually the one that initially made me iffy about this adaptation. The ending. I thought that the ending was such a cough out. So many of the important details of what happens after Mr. Rochester and Jane are reunited are completely left out. And when the screen faded to black and the credits started rolling, I literally said out loud, "You have got to be kidding me. That's it??" But, it was a good adaption over all, just so much was left out. 

Well those are my thoughts on the 2011 movie edition of Jane Eyre. I give the adaption...


three stars out of five. I liked it, I just wish the important details hadn't been left out. 

I hope to start posting more often with reviews, discussions, and just general blog posts. 

Miss Book Reader