Monday, November 22, 2010

Feeling squidgy

I am not sure if the eldest and I are coming down with something or not, but I am feeling a bit squidgy this morning. Headache, runny nose, general blah. I met eldest at the bus stop as I was walking the dog and realized she has substantial bags under her eyes...she's not feeling 100% either. And she has a packed day so hopefully she feels better as the day goes on.

I had a hugely productive weekend, though. I did up my accounts, did the filing, laundry, ran errands, finished a few books, did the mending, tidied the house, supervised some holiday baking that the girls did. Oh and I handed in the revisions on my online read as well. Now it's back to the WIP for me. My CP sent chapter 2 back and I have started Chapter Three. I am aiming to get the partial off to my editor for a quick read this week.

I don't think I've mentioned a few movies I've watched lately so I'm going to do that today - I like talking about movies because I often look at them with an eye for character and story (you can't turn a writer's brain off). I'm often inspired - either because I've truly enjoyed something, or because something really worked, or even because of something that perhaps didn't work and provided insight.

So

I watched The Jane Austen Book Club. I enjoyed it, but there was not enough Jane to satisfy me. Still, on a story level I liked most of the storylines and characters - not sure Hugh Dancy was the right casting (and it pains me to say that because I really do love HD). The one storyline I didn't like? Emily Blunt's character (and a shame because I also really like Emily Blunt). For one, it seemed a little skeevy for her to be crushing on a student. Ick. And if someone knows WHICH heroine she represented can you enlighten me? The closest I can come to is that the student is Willoughby and her husband is Col Brandon but she is the least like Marianne of any character I've ever seen. And I believe the book associated with her was Persuasion - anyway at the breaking point when she got her husband to read one page aloud (a la Brandon reading the poetry) and then OMG he turns into a total Austen lover...after a whole movie of abstract references we're smacked in the face with something I just couldn't buy into.  So yeah, I had problems with it.

Not to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did. But it was not what I expected. Austen is fab and deserved a better homage in my opinion.

And

After several people telling me what a great production the latest Wuthering Heights was, I watched it. I hadn't when it broadcasted initially because I watched the latest production of Tess of the D'Urbervilles and thought it horribly miscast. Eddie Redmayne was great in Pillars of the Earth but as Angel Clare...no. Neither did I like Gemma Arterton as Tess. So when WH came on the next week with Tom Hardy as Heathcliff, I was like...are you serious?  He looked NOTHING like Heathcliff to me. He looked like a plump-lipped boy with bad hair.

So this is me eating my words. I have seen Hardy in shows since and he is a brilliant actor. He truly is.  His portrayal of Dudley in The Virgin Queen is fantastic. I was assured by reliable sources that he was splendid in this role and guess what? HE WAS. Tortured, angry, charming when it suited him. When he arrived at the Grange and asked for Isabella, I could see how any woman would fall for him.  Hardy was splendid.

But that was not the true Heathcliff and so watching this version made me realize why I don't have any lasting affection for Wuthering Heights.

WH is not a Romance novel. It has a romance in it, but it is not a Romance. There is no happily ever after, and I like happily ever afters (which is probably why I have always preferred Jane Eyre).  Heathcliff and Cathy love each other, but love should always make a person MORE - and their love for each other brought out the worst in them rather than the best. I never liked Cathy - and I didn't particularly like her in this version either. She married Edgar, and yet kept her claim in Heathcliff - maybe she couldn't have him, but neither could anyone else.  She is selfish and self-absorbed. And Heathcliff LET her marry Edgar - before he ever left he knew that was in the cards so it is his own fault. For years they love each other and punish each other. There is so much passion between them, but I'm not sure it's love...if it is, it's a twisted version of it, and I think perhaps that's the point. It consumes to the point of death and madness, and I'd rather be uplifted.

Anyway, it is a superb production and I enjoyed it very much, even if WH isn't my favourite classic on the planet. LOL.  Actually once I realized exactly why it didn't work for me, I was able to enjoy it that much more.

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