Sunday, April 11, 2010

Normally I don't really like periods. . .

But for some reason I watched three inside the last month or so: Wuthering Heights, Marie Antoinette, and Shakespeare in Love. I had seen Shakespeare in Love (in the theater) back in the day, but the others were new. I finished reading Wuthering Heights after about an entire year of effort and was displeased by it but thought I'd still try the film. Since there are at least three film adaptations of Wuthering Heights, I did what any film scholar would do (ha ha) and picked the one with the hottest male lead, which happened to be Ralph Fiennes in one of his first major roles.

I wish I could say it was a good film but it was quite boring. I can't even imagine what it was like for Matt who had absolutely no idea what was going on having not read the book; I had to explain things as if I were a Bronte authority or something. . . not even close. I didn't even finish it. What I will say is that having a hot male lead (Fiennes) did WONDERS for keeping me interested; in the novel I hated Heathcliffe from the word go, in the film I found myself at least mildly interested in Fiennes as Heathcliffe, only because I find him wonderfully attractive, even if he plays a jerk (which he'd do much worse a few films down the line in Schindler's List. . . AMON GOETH?) yikes. Still hot though, even as Lord Voldemort. Perhaps especially as Lord Voldemort. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: That scene, at the end of Order of the Phoenix where he flails his arms back and makes everything explode and shatter? If they gave him a nose instead of those snake nostrils, I would totally hit that. Yes, I'm twisted.

Next we have Marie Antoinette. I'll say this: it was a beautiful piece of cinematography. It was a typical period piece, too long, boring dialogue, uninteresting women who other women think are super-interesting, etc., etc. It seemed a bit like The Virgin Suicides in France to me. Then, when she got pissed that her husband wouldn't screw her and the cake, shoes, and hair business started we had (cinematic) Sex and the City in France. The one part I liked a lot was when the Dauphin finally got busy and nailed her; he climbed on top of her and then there was a fade to black (and a excited *gasp* by Marie), nice. The whole affair with the Swedish soldier turned me off completely, I don't care if it was historically accurate or not, it was annoying. Overall, it was probably the most skillfully done period piece I've seen, and quite a bit shorter than Barry Lyndon, so good work, I guess.

And last but not least, Shakespeare in Love. I know there is a lot of flack out there about this one, Weinstein Bros commercializing Shakespeare with Ben Affleck of all people, upsetting the Oscars over Saving Private Ryan, etc. But I really, REALLY like this. Mostly I like it because I like Joseph Fiennes, but I like it also because it's about a writer. I just figured that out this time around! It's a well done film, well written, and honest, I think, if you consider that most writers write best about what they know, and who do they know better than themselves? Wonderful. If I had to watch one period film for the rest of my life, it would definitely be this one.

"Gentlemen upstage, Ladies downstage, ARE YOU A LADY MR. KENT?"