As usual, I'm late in catching onto any new fad. The cardigan pattern that I'm presently knitting was quite popular a number of years ago and seems to have a largish cult following (although the one I'm planning on doing soon is from this year so perhaps I can redeem myself) ... but this isn't about cardigans.
No, it's about the BBC miniseries, North and South, which apparently has not ceased to draw new fans into its club since it first aired eight years ago. It seems that thirty-and forty-something-year-old women cannot help but fall in love with its main character, John Thornton, played by Richard Armitage. Had he had green eyes and had he not beaten a worker at the beginning of the film, I may have understood the temptation for grown women to behave like star-struck teenagers. But because of these two failings (okay, one failing) I struggle at times to understand how Margaret Hale (played by Daniela Denby-Ashe) could eventually overcome her initial indifference and fall in love with him.
That aside - and I try to explain it away as the culture of the day as something that perhaps was acceptable amongst gentlemen but which would not be tolerated today - I will admit that I have fallen in love with the film.
The setting. ... The costumes. ... The drama. ... The hair. ... The tension and conflict. ... The characters.
Especially the characters. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a film before where the actors are so immersed in their roles that they become the characters. A quirk of an eyebrow, a twitch of the eye, a slight motion of the lips, all convey without words - in fact, in most cases, better than words - the thoughts and feelings of the characters. This is one novel-based drama where I have not felt the need to explain to those who have not yet read the book (i.e. DH and sons) the background behind a character's words or actions. For it seems so apparent in the film.
Yes, there have been a number of transgressions from the book. Some serve to keep the story contained within four hours, and some actually enhance the story. Some, like the incident mentioned above, could have been left out, and others while enjoyable (such as the final scene at the station) probably stray just a little too far from the decorum and culture of the day to be entirely realistic.
But still I enjoyed the film. Even more than I enjoyed the book by author Elizabeth Gaskell. As with other books written during the same time period, it can be a little slow at times. However, this hasn't stopped me from going back to it to, if not to re-read the entire book, to at least re-read the chapters that I found particularly riveting. As I do with most books in my library (much to my husband's confusion).
The miniseries however I have watched time and time again. This my sons and husband cannot understand. At all. But since the DVDs are borrowed - and I probably cannot hold onto them for much longer - I'm going to make the most of my infatuation with this film while I can. And then I guess it's back to Amazing Grace or one of the films based on Jane Austen's books for me.