Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I'm reminded that I'm a terribly predictable person whenever I browse Netflix. Inevitably, their "rows based on my taste preferences" are something to the effect of "romantic period pieces with a strong female lead" or "visually striking dramas based on classic literature." It shouldn't be too surprising, then, when I say that two movies that have me excited lately are The King's Speech and the upcoming version of Jane Eyre
The former is one of those rare movies that my boyfriend and I both love. Although he's getting his PhD in economics, he minored in Linguistics in college (and had a lisp when he was little) so I didn't have a very hard time dragging him to watch a movie about a speech therapist - which he ended up dubbing a "period bromance". 

The King's Speech Poster

Not only does it have a fantastic cast starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter (not acting insane), it is indeed visually striking, as Apartment Therapy has already pointed out. The dark, layered, slightly threadbare interior of Lionel Logue's office is all the more intriguing once you notice the amazing architectural detail of the space. Not only is the set design lovely to look at, it's successful because they've so precisely managed to capture the essence of the two main characters and the tension they feel crossing into one another's social spheres. This Guardian article details the filmmakers' attention to historical accuracy and alerts us to a few surprising details - for instance, that Logue's office and Bertie's home were in fact filmed in the same building!

all images, The Weinstein Company

Since the latter movie I mentioned, Jane Eyre, hasn't actually come out yet, I suppose I should in all fairness withhold judgment. However, having spent a few days last fall watching disappointing film adaptations of Jane Eyre, a book that topped my list of favorite books for most of my growing-up, I have to say that I have high hopes. The 1983 BBC version is thought by many to be the best. It's not bad, but Zelah Clarke really doesn't do it for me as Jane, and despite Timothy Dalton's fabulous Rochester, low production values really spoil the experience. On the other hand, it certainly beats Masterpiece Theatre's 2006 version, which dumbs down the script and sexualizes the whole thing so much it made me feel embarrassed on behalf of the "modern viewer" that the filmmakers were so inelegantly trying to attract. I found myself fervently wishing that someone would see the need for an adaptation that actually captures Brontë's vision – not Hollywood-izing it but not making it look like it was shot by film students, either. And then I went to see the King's Speech and saw this preview:

Great actors who are just funny-looking enough to make it work? check. Adherence to original text? check. Beautiful production design and historical accuracy? check. Visually striking romantic period piece based on classic literature with a strong female lead? check. 


  1. Great looking Jane Eyre trailer- but WHY IS SHE PRETTY?? Is it seriously impossible to tolerate casting a lead actress that doesn't have perfect features? Half the point of Jane Eyre is that she's nothing to look at and is awesome anyway. urgh.

  2. I really don't think she's all that pretty - Jane's supposed to be plain and little and I think without her amazing hair Mia Wasikowskais pretty plain, and she's definitely little. I mean, Jane being shy and not particularly pretty was what made me love the book in the first place, and that's why I didn't even try watching Zeffirelli's version - the actors were way too good-looking for it not to be ridiculous. I think they could've done much worse with this one...