Sandy from Pirate Penguin’s Reads is here to share how/why she got hooked North and South. She’s the gal who let me know the mini-series existed! You should listen to her- I did.
Before I had watched BBC adaption of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South, I was only interested in watching and reading anything that had to do with Jane Austen. I may be wrong since I’m not on an expert on literature or television but it seems to me that Miss Austen is one of the more popular choices for British entertainment (after that I imagine comes Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre—which I also love). So when a friend of mine—who originally got me into Jane Austen—told me that she had found something that was even BETTER than Pride & Prejudice, I was surprised because what’s better than Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet? I’ve watched both versions with Colin Firth and Matthew Whatshisface countless times so I was very smitten with the story and the characters. (And Mr. Darcy<3)
So it took a while for me to try North & South and I was skeptical that it’d change my feelings about
Mr. Darcy Jane Austen. But then I watched North & South and ohmygoodness, it was like I stumbled upon a rare treasure. The movie was incredible in all aspects imaginable: the scenery, the acting, the dialogue, the plot twists. Everything was exquisite! I had found my new favorite movie—and Mr. Darcy was kicked off his pedestal.
There are numerous reasons why I tell people to watch North & South. The main reason for me is the love story between Margaret and Thornton—they both come from different societal backgrounds and they circle each other suspiciously at first; they don’t instantly fall in love, and there are plenty of miscommunications throughout the story that had me clutching my head going, WHY WHY WHY. But aside from their swoon-worthy romance, the movie offers a glimpse into the historical period where the Industrial Revolution is gaining momentum in England (and not everyone is pleased about it). North & South also has a more in-depth social commentary about the industrial workers vs. the masters who run the factories. Margaret inadvertently becomes entangled within all the political turmoil so that adds an extra edge of suspense to the story.
There is also a very important scandal involving Margaret’s family that pops up midway into the movie which complicates things even further with Thornton (the drama! Sigh). But what I love most of all (aside from Mr. Thornton) are the relationships between the characters. They all felt very human, and not at all forced; the one that caught my attention the most was between Mr. Thornton and his mother. Mrs. Thornton is an incredibly tough woman and comes off as almost unfeeling but whenever her son is near, her face visibly softens; and when Margaret hurts Mr. Thornton, Mrs. Thornton’s anger for her son’s pain is palpable. What I want to say is that North & South offers exactly what I look for in a novel or movie: a story with substance as well as meaning. The romance is heart-melting for sure, but the story isn’t always cheerful nor is it frivolous…and it has the best ending I’ve ever watched. That kiss at the train station? Omg.