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Last night I got to watch my first adaptation of Northanger Abbey. Felicity Jones stars as Catherine Morland, and JJ Feild as Henry Tilney.
I really enjoyed Jones as Catherine. She did an admirable job of exhibiting the qualities that make Catherine Morland–young, naïve, romantic, overactive imagination, awestruck. Feild was a wonderful Tilney. He was likeable, playful, honorable, and looking for a young and unspoiled woman to love.
Northanger Abbey is a gentle parody of the genre of gothic novel. In the movie we get to see Catherine’s gothic daydreams–full of highwaymen, cruel villains, helpless women, and mysterious old castles. Her fevered imagination starts to have an effect on how she interprets real-life events, much to her own mortification when she suspects somebody of murder (but that comes later in the story).
In her everyday life, Catherine begins to get a taste of city life when she is asked to accompany her kindly neighbors to Bath. There she meets Henry Tilney, whom she begins to like. She also makes friends with Isabella Thorpe who is set on marrying Catherine’s brother (though only for his supposed money). When Isabella’s brother believes that Catherine will also inherit a good deal of money, he tries to snatch her away from Mr. Tilney’s company and influence. The final part of the movie has a quick ending and things end up well for both Henry and Catherine, as well as Henry’s sister Eleanor. Although it was anticlimactic, it was satisfying nonetheless.
I think that this adaptation is a very fair rendition of the novel. Since the book is relatively short and the plot fairly straightforward, it makes translating it to film a little easier. Some of the dialogue was changed, but I don’t think it detracted from the story at all. I would recommend this movie for teens and up because of some suggestive content.
- Mr. Thorpe says the d-word several times.
- Isabella is shown in bed, implying her having had relations with Captain Tilney.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Until next time…
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