North & South: Part 2

One of the reasons I love this movie so much is the fact that it has all the drama of a Jane Austen novel and the social commentary of Charles Dickens. If Jane Austen and Charles Dickens had a kid, I’m pretty sure it would be Elizabeth Gaskell. (You’re welcome for that mental picture!) Since Karen was shocked by the general lack of Mr. Thornton in my last post, I guess I’ll have to make up for it this time.

Mr. Thornton has more of a temper and is a little more brooding in the movie than in the book; I think just to give Margaret another reason to not like him at first that makes her not seem like a jerk.* In the book she thinks he’s not a gentleman because he’s in business, while in the movie she thinks he’s too harsh and business-minded. But he’s so sweet, she gradually changes her mind… really, really gradually. When she finally tells Fred that he really is a gentleman I always cheer on the inside.

*See? Not a jerk.

I think it’s really funny that period movies seem to focus so much on the girl and leading man shaking hands. They did it in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, and in North and South too. It was just showing that Margaret was going out of her way to be nice to Mr. Thornton after accidentally offending him, but I loved Mr. Thornton’s “Wait, what? She’s shaking my hand? She must not hate me!”  reaction. Although I have a hard time taking him seriously with that cravat/bow tie weirdness. Just saying.

Bessy and Nicholas Higgins are awesome too, and they add the Dickens-social-commentary-ness. Margaret and Bessy have a cool BFF thing going on, and Nicholas is stubborn, but still takes in Boucher’s children after he dies and convinces Mr. Thornton to open a dining-hall for the workers. He definitely gets brownie points for that.

For me though, the best part of this movie is how Margaret and John are so good for each other; she softened him and brought out his compassion, and he gave her a more realistic view of business and the world in general. Plus they’re just so adorable!

If you want more screencaps (made by someone much cooler and more tech-savvy than me) just click here.