Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Northanger Abbey

Image credit: The Movie Database
Continuing on with my great Austen adventure, this evening was spent in the company of naïve sweethearts, flirtatious sociopaths, tyrannical patriarchs, and lustrous men… it could only be Northanger Abbey.

The film tells of the exciting adventures of young Catherine Morland (Felicity Jones) whom is requested to accompany rich family friends to Bath as their favoured companion. Excited and terrified to be introduced into society, Catherine’s innocence and naivety attract the attentions of two men, one of whom she finds herself holding a strong affection towards. But when her crush’s father invites her to stay with them at the infamous mansion of Northanger Abbey, Catherine’s overactive imagination, coupled a friend’s gossiping, and a passion for gothic romance novels, jeopardise Catherine’s already fragile footing in society.

I remember reading Northanger Abbey for my Gothic Literature course at university and absolutely falling love with it. Truth be told, I have a weakness for gothic romances, rather like the heroines in this film, which already earns this delightful adaptation a special place in my heart and film collection.
The novel itself stands aside from Austen’s other romantic dramas and comedies, as it dapples in the dream sequence and breaks up the narrative with tantalising bursts of adventure and active excitement. This film does the same, being just like any other period drama, but then broken up and made more exciting by the unexpected dream sequences of abduction, murder, rape, and patriarchal tyranny.

Image credit: Pinterest
Felicity Jones as Catherine is absolutely gorgeous, perfectly playing one of Austen’s more excitable and complicated heroines, as she is all smiles, sweetness, and gentility in society, but has fantasies of abduction and rape when alone at night. Jones is positively mesmerising from beginning to end and you cannot help but fall in love with her right from the start.

The debauched, degrading, and dark side of society is prominently displayed rather then merely alluded to, like some of the softer romantic comedies and, indeed, in more than one shot I was reminded of Hitchcock’s adaptation of Rebecca. It’s another classic Austen adaptation that I just adored!

Director: Jon Jones, 2007

Cast: Felicity Jones, Carey Mulligan, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Desmond Barrit, William Beck, J J Feild, Hugh O’Conor, Catherine Walker, and Liam Cunningham

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