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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Movie Review: Cranford (2007)

Totally Awesome Period Dramas 

I've known of the period drama miniseries, Cranford, for a long time, but I never watched it because I knew the general plot and it didn't seem like anything I'd be that interested in.  Frankly, I thought it sounded boring - a town with a lot of gossipy old ladies and a new doctor in town.  That was all I knew, so you can probably understand why it didn't capture my interest.  However, I knew it was quite popular among period drama enthusiasts, so when my mom read the book and wanted to watch the movie, I decided to give it a go.  And, as usually happens with things I don't think I'll like, I loved it.  Sure, the first few minutes were a bit slow but after the falling-out-of-the-tree accident...well, let's just say I was drawn in (in a sort of morbid way, y'know).  I actually watched the last episode just this afternoon (FEEEEELS), so I thought I'd review the miniseries while it was still fresh in my mind (I'll be doing a separate review of Return To Cranford as soon as I watch it).

The Cranford Ladies (2007).
Loved this bit.
 The first thing I have to say about Cranford is the huge (and I mean huge) amount of actors and actresses I recognized from other period dramas.  I could place pretty much every name in the opening/closing credits, and it gave me a little thrill whenever I saw a new (but still familiar) face.  There were five P&P actor/actress appearances, counting both the 2005 and 1995 adaptions, as well as several other faces form Jane Austen films.  It was like a period drama reunion, in a lot of ways.  Now, since there's several characters (enough to rival Dickens at his finest), I'll list all the main ones, with quick opinions of them in parentheses (if you'll notice, I love using parentheses - if you check my blog posts, I use them all the time).

Cranford (2007)
Yay!  Mr Carter and Harry make their first appearance.  Of
course, when I saw this scene, I didn't know how much I'd
come to like them...

 I'll list them in a vague order of appearance.  To begin...Mary Smith (I liked her.  She wasn't my favorite character, but I liked her), Miss Matty (one of my favorites.  She was witty, charming, full of propriety, but not afraid to try new things), Miss Deborah (I think I would've liked it if she had stayed for the whole series - she was so much fun, in a stiff way.  Especially how she was constantly correcting Martha and telling her to add 'madam' to the end of her announcing sentences), Dr Frank Harrison (in my opinion, Simon Woods was much better in this role, than as Mr Bingley.  He was so sweet when it came to Sophie and very responsible/heroic as a doctor.  And the poor guy never even knew what hit him when all the women were accusing him to being in love with all of them.  He looked like a little lost puppy)...

Kimberley Nixon as Sophy Hutton and Simon Woods as Dr. Harrison in Cranford (TV Mini-Series, 2007). - c.1842
Captain Brown (he reminded me of Mr Weston, a bit, in his character and I liked him.  He's a jolly sort), Jessie Brown (she was so sweet.  I loved her little romance with Major Gordon), Sophie Hutton (I thought her character wasn't as well developed it should have been - she seemed a little bland, but she and Frank were so, well, adorable together that I can forgive that easily), Lady Ludlow (hmmmmm...didn't quite know what to think of her.  I didn't like her at first, but by the end I found myself warming to her [it was the same with Laurentia Galindo].  I'm interested in seeing Septimus in Return To Cranford), Harry Gregson (one of my top favorite characters.  I've seen the actor who played him before in Waterhorse, so it was interesting seeing him again.  I loved his and Mr Carter's father/son relationship)...

Very Little Dorrit-ish, I think.
 As for the last couple of characters...Mr Carter (probably my very favorite character.  Which is unfortunate since he dies.  And in this case he's not my favorite character because he dies as I suspect several others have been - I already liked him a lot before that.  I love how he takes Harry under his wing, and stands up to Lady Ludlow when it's needed, and am I the only one who thinks he and Galindo should've gotten married?).  And the ladies of the village were hilarious, groan-inspiring, and kindhearted all at the same time.  The way they banded together to help Miss Maddy was spectacular.  I loved that.

I liked the overall feel of the miniseries.  It was cozy and warm and just...comfortable.  I felt good watching it (it wasn't one of those BBC productions were you invest thirteen hours of your life and emotions and get withdrawal and that sort of thing after watching it.  Little Dorrit, anyone?) and it made me laugh several times.  Now, there was the problem of the last episode.  Actually, it wasn't really a problem, in the fullest sense of the word, but...  Here, let me explain.  There were four deaths spread across the first three episodes and although all of them were sad in their own right, none were especially devastating.  No deaths cropped up in episode four, so I was feeling relieved...until I went and foolishly read Amy's review of Cranford before I finished watching the whole thing.

And I read the spoilers.  Terrible thing, I know, but it just sort of happened.  My eyes read everything before I realized what I'd done.  So, I knew Mr Carter was going to die, but I wasn't prepared for the huge barrage of feels against my emotions.  Besides Mr Carter's death (which was heartbreaking.  What was worse was that poem Harry read.  And him crying afterwards), there were good feels, but ones that brought tears nonetheless.  Frank saving Sophie.  Miss Matty reuniting with her brother.  Jessie reuniting with Major Gordon (and her dad's hilarious quote).  The wedding.  I loved it all, even if it did make me cry.  Oh, and my siblings and I were laughing over how everyone seemed to be pairing up at the end.  It made for a nice ending, though.

I'm now reading the books (Cranford, Dr Harrison's Confessions, and My Lady Ludlow).  I'll probably review them later on.

Have you ever watched Cranford?  What did you think of it?


Jennifer said...

Good reviews. I love all the little old ladies and how they can be so catty but when there is a need they can all pull together.

The Twisted Red LadyBug / Anda Alexandra said...

I read Cranford/Dr Harrison's Confession/My Lady Ludlow so now I am a bit sceptical about trying the series although they are on my TO DO List... maybe for Christmas :) as now I need to wait for the Christmas Special of Downton Abbey :)

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