Hi everyone! This week I’ve been in a very Jane Austen mood! Well, I always feel like it, but these days… more than usual! Now and then I like to read again her novels and here lies the problem. When I feel like reading Jane Austen, weel, I must admit that I possess a big, huge collection of all the novels and it is quite difficult to read it easily, such as… in bed at night… So a few weeks ago I started – as I always, sistematically do – to look in bookstores for adorable, vintage looking, real looking, authentic, regency style editions of the books, but separated, one version of Pride & Prejudice, one of Emma, etcetera.. But, sad to say, they do not really make vintage-like editions of Jane Austen anymore, do they? I can’t have a Sense and Sensibility book with the picture of two girls smoking and chewing gum and apparently sisters, on the cover. I can’t. I would rather keep my old old complete collection. So today I had an idea. I had a bunch of old fashioned beautiful papers from Bassano’s Stamperia Tassotti, an historical paper shop in Italy that creates wonderful decorative stationery items. So, I decided to wrap the book! And it turned out, verrry gorgeous! I used a lemon themed paper, so cute and poetical, I really love it… I still will be looking, all my life I suppose, for beautiful Jane Austen novels’ editions, but now I love my old collection even more! Just for the fun of it, take a look at these beauties… Touching these books, buying them, having them as quiet companions in your beloved, shiny bookshelves… Oh, I do love these books, I wish I could be under a tree in the spring afternoon, reading… Just reading… Oh, look, it has started to rain and a mysterious man on a white horse is approaching! … 😀
Yes, well, that’s exactly what I am going to talk about today! Because yesterday, for the first time, I watched
“Northanger Abbey”, the movie, with Felicity Jones and JJ Feild. Oh-my-GOD! Wonderful movie!! I didn’t even know about it, I stumbled upon it, you could say. The plot is very simple: miss Catherine Morland, a dreamy girl who has a deep passion for gothic novels and mysteries, is invited by her family’s neighbors, the Allen, to take a vacation time in Bath. Here she is naively splitting her days with two groups of new friends, the Thorpe and the Tilney. Who are both brother and sister, Isabella Thorpe and John Thorpe, versus Eleanor Tilney and Henry Tilney. When Catherine is also invited by the Tilney family to stay for a short time at their home, Northanger Abbey, the lively immagination of the girl will see everywhere all sorts of ghosts stories, murders and suspects, even when there are none. None at all. In the end, who will be the good match for Catherine and who will be the nice sister she can trust and keep as a good friend? … Ihih, read the book! 🙂 Or watch the movie!
As I said, I loved every part of it and I fell in love with Felicity Jones: a perfect, delightful portrait of the silly, amiable Catherine. Felicity brings a sense of purity and light to the movie, with her fair, porcelain skin, her big, wide eyes that cannot really fathom what surrounds her and a heart that sees good in everyone but also aches to find excitement and mystery in a life which otherwise lacks in all those things.
Then, I believe that Carey Mulligan was BORN to act in period dramas. Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, The Great Gatsby,
Far from the madding crowd… She has that kind of face, of eyes, of essence, simply perfect for this kind of movies. (By the way, I believe also that within this category fall: Matthew Macfadyen, Robert Pattinson, Emma Thompson, Stephen Mangan, Keira Knightley, Ben Barnes, James MacAvoy, Martin Freeman, Lena Headey… and mannnny others! Please, do period movies, preferably love period movies, please, pleeeease!!! 🙂 ) Yes, Carey Mulligan is a wonderful miss Thorpe, so sassy, so seductive, so girlish, and so well opposing to the pure and naive Catherine, who in the beginning totally believes in the good nature of her new friend. Even in the book the two families will be referred to as the good ones and the bad ones, very appropriate of a child-like girl who just entered society and must choose between good and bad…
And JJ Feild. Oh. OH! What’s to say about this great actor? I must say in the beginning I really began to think he was the bad one: so sassy, so smug, so at ease with himself… But no, he was the hero! Amazing actor, amazing book, amazing film. Mister Tilney, you and your muslin!
I loved how Catherine Morland’s fantasies are presented in a more raw, dark tone, in colour actually, I mean. The director really want to show us how Catherine’s dreams are only and purely made of gothic fantasies. So every time she makes a new aquaintance, she later re-imagines it as a short goth romantic fantasy, daydreaming… I love that!
While reading the book I was struck by how much I felt like Catherine was constantly in dangerous situations. In Bath, left to the care of idiotic mrs Allen, who couldn’t care less, Catherine is always put in uneasy and weird moments by the Thorpe brothers. She reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, like she cannot really take control of her life and is dragged around by evil minds and events. In the movie I didn0t feel all of this very strongly, but in the book it was very vivid to me. I believe it was all intentionally created by Jane Austen. I mean, the girl in distress of the gothic novels is truly Catherine, though she is just on vacation in Bath, she really is put in danger by those who she considers friends but really aren’t.
I must say it was a very NICE film ( 😉 ) in my opinion and it was the perfect opening for a great Jane Austen’s movies festival!!! See you soon for the second part of our Austen journey!!! And…
Mister Tilney (dancing with Catherine): ” Now I must give you one smirk, then we can be rational again!”