The Period Films to Waltz you into Autumn

by - Sunday, September 06, 2015

It's no secret that I love a good period film. I'm all for costumes, different hairstyles to the ones currently on trend, different eras of the world. Sometimes I will grab one based on true facts, others one based on a classic book, either way I find them soothing to watch when nature around is shedding its summer skin and puts on her autumn colours. It's no coincidence most period movies hit the cinemas around this time of the year too. So what do you say, shall we dearie?

Based on the book that chronicles the life of Vera Brittain during World War I, a woman who overcomes the difficulties of her time and becomes a student at Somerville College, Oxford. The war starts, her brother, fiancé and two close friends join the Army and are sent to fight in the front line. She follows their sacrifice and becomes a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse, where she experiences first hand the futility of war and the marks it leaves behind (watch the trailer here). If you're not big on biographical movies (this is a true story that marked a whole generation) then this one may not be your cup of tea, but mind this. Alicia Vikander may have the leading role in the film and she does it more than justice, but also one of the main characters is being portrayed by Kit Harrington (you know nothing Jon Snow). Add to that Taron Egerton (that little brat turned spy in Kingsman), Dominic West, Colin Morgan and Emily Watson. Much more appealing now, right?

OK, just look at the cast and think of all the costumes. I couldn't care less if the movie was horrid, which it isn't (trailer here). I love Kate Winslet and seeing her playing Sabine de Barra, a fictional character who in the film gets employed by Andre le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts) in order to build the Salle de Bal or water ballroom of the Versailles gardens was a pleasure. Alan Rickman as the king and Stanley Tucci as his gay brother are both a pleasure to watch but seriously, if you're looking for a fast paced movie then maybe you should avoid this one. If on the other hand you enjoy great performances even when a storyline can get a bit stale, then I definitely recommend.

It can't get more classic literature than this. Everyone knows Madame Bovary, there have been many movies and plays of it through the years. The latest movie sees Mia Wasikowska in the shoes of Madame Bovary, who believes her marriage will bring true happiness in her life. Things don't pan out the way she hoped for and she ends up turning to anyone she can find that will offer her love and excitement (trailer here).
I don't want to spill the beans if you haven't read the book or haven't watched any of the previous films, but do watch this one. Mia has proven to be one of the most astonishing actresses as of late, especially when it comes to character roles. She has been Jane Eyre, Edith Cushing in Crimson Peak and India Stoker in Stoker. She is good and she has proven that. But the film isn't just about her performance. Rhys Ifans, who I love dearly after Notting Hill (yes, he was Spike), also plays in the movie along with Paul Giamatti, Henry Lloyd-Hughes and Ezra Miller. Just trust me and go watch it, OK?

Alright, maybe it can get more classic, especially when we're talking of books that should be known worldwide but others of their time managed to get there before them and steal the spotlight. Far from the Madding Crowd (watch the trailer here) is the kind of movie Jane Austen fans will adore. It has all the same elements Pride and Prejudice has, especially when it comes to a strong independent woman in the leading role. The difference is she is not struggling for money and although headstrong, she is also sensible and astonishing. She is a made woman, not a girl with a strong personality. Of course you know how the movie ends before you even watch it, but all love stories are pretty much the same there, right? Carrey Mulligan plays Bathsheba Everdene along Matthias Schoenaerts (nice coincidence, eh?), Tom Sturridge and my beloved Michael Sheen (Lucian in Underworld and Rise of the Lycans plus Dr.Masters in Masters of Sex). 

Last one in this post is a spectacular film with two very famous names starring in it, Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. The story evolves around Klimt's famous painting and the struggles of Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee, in order to recover the painting that once belonged to her family and depicts her beloved aunt (watch the trailer here). I won't even talk about performances, they're a given especially with Helen Mirren. What makes this movie stand out is the fact it's a true story and not fiction. And although half of it takes place in relatively modern times, the other half easily falls into the period films category. I can't even describe the beauty of the dresses during the World War II flashbacks. I won't spoil the end, but I will beg you to watch it, especially if you're passionate and driven as an individual. And if you share my admiration towards Gustav Klimt.

I can't wait for you to watch them now and understand why I shared them with you. Hopefully you will share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.

Until next time,


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