Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: He Knew He Was Right

Lastly in The Anthony Trollope Collection, my mother and I watched He Knew He Was Right. There are a couple of funny subplots, but one serious main plot. Here are some of my thoughts.

Box Art
After a year of being happily married, Louis and Emily Trevelyan (Oliver Dimesdale and Laura Fraser) have a son and a nice home in London. Troubles befall their marriage when Louis suspects Emily of cheating on him with Colonel Osborne (Bill Nighy), her godfather. Though Emily is not cheating on Louis, she still refuses to submit to Louis's wishes that she not see him.

The story has many subplots. One involves Emily's sister, Nora Rowley (Christina Cole), and Louis's friend, Hugh Stanbury, and how they fall in love. Another involves Hugh's sister, Dorothy, visiting her Aunt Stanbury, an old maid with money; Aunt Stanbury would like to see her married to the vicar, Mr. Gibson (David Tennant), however Dorothy likes someone else. Another involves sisters, Camilla and Arabella French (Claudie Blakley and Fenella Woolgar), fighting over Mr. Gibson. As you can see, there are many subplots, however they can be viewed on their own, as some don't involve the main plot.

The acting was alright. It was interesting how the characters would face the camera and tell the "audience" what they were thinking. I don't always like it when movies do that, but it didn't really bother me here.

Mr. Gibson (David Tennant) with Camilla (Claudie Blakley)
to the right and Arabella French (Fenella Woolgar) to the
 I honestly preferred the subplot characters to the main characters. The subplot with Mr. Gibson was probably the best part of the story; all the characters were so hilarious! Camilla French became physchotic and irrational about Mr. Gibson, while Mr. Gibson was absolutely afraid of her (at one point, he was actually cowering under a plant!)! This subplot was probably the best subplot in He Knew He Was Right. It was just so hilarious!

In He Knew He Was Right, there are two American sisters, the misses Spaldings. I didn't mind their characters, but I did have a slight problem with them: whatever accent they were speaking was not an American accent. As an American, I never have heard anyone speak they way they did. Though the one Miss Spalding, Caroline (Anna-Louise Plowman), was born in New Zealand, so maybe that had something to do with it. But either way, the accents that the American characters were speaking did not sound American.

Wow, was it odd to see Christina Cole in a completely different role! Her previous role were (to name a few) Mrs. Elton from Emma and Clarissa Payne from What a Girl Wants: both roles were catty women who want to control everything. Here as Nora she was pleasant and sweet, and she was able to pull it off well! I thought that the only roles that she could get were of catty women, but here she proves that she is much more versatile, as Nora was such a sweet character.
The main characters... I felt sorry for Emily because she really didn't do anything wrong. Colonel Osborne seemed to like causing trouble: he knew that something was going wrong everytime him an Emily met, and he should have either stopped coming to see Emily or simply talk to Louis. Louis himself became more and more crazy as the story went on. Again, I really perferred the subplot to the main plot (which is probably not a good thing) probably because the subplots were more entertaining. Spoiler The main plot just seemed to be a downward spiral in which it wasn't getting better for the characters. I tend to like happy endings to sad endings. End of Spoiler
The country scenery was very nice, but some of the scenes in London had dark overtones to illustrate the seriousness of the story.  Some of the scenes take place at balls where the buildings look very nice and towards the beginning, the Trevelyans had a very nice house, but the other indoor scenes took place in either simpler cottages or completely run down homes. Some of the scenes also seemed to take place on either cloudy or "about to rain" days, so there were some dark overtones. This was appropriate due to the seriousness of the main plot.

Nora (Christina Cole) with Emily (Laura Fraser) as
they leave London. 
Some of the costumes were quite nice. Emily was always well dressed and always looked nice. She had very nice dresses (white seemed to work very well for her) and her hair was also very nicely arranged. Nora was also nicely dressed; I think her clothes tended to have more bolder colors than Emily's.

The French sisters had similar clothes on the whole movie. They wore lightly colored dresses with a print. This was probably to illustrate how similar they were (at least at the beginning). Their clothes didn't really differ in style; as a poorer family, their mother probably couldn't afford a big wardrobe.

Something that my mother and I noticed: Dorothy seemed to wear the same dress throughout the whole miniseries. She seemed to be wearing the same plaid, high necked dress throughout her whole stay with Aunt Stanbury. I suppose that since her family was poor, she didn't have a wide variety of dresses, but it was still something that we noticed.

Aunt Stanbury also wore the same dress throughout the entire movie: the same black dress with the same black and white lace veil. I suppose that because she is older and unmarried, she has a little excuse.

The music didn't really stand out for me as much. Most of the songs are very serious due to the serious nature of the main story. The songs did not really strike me as they do for other period dramas. There is no soundtrack available that I know of.

Overall: 3.5/5
I enjoyed He Knew He Was Right, but I would probably reccomend the subplots to the main plot. The subplots themselves could have been their own movie: they were that separate from the main plot. To me, a miniseries shouldn't have that happen. I didn't hate the main plot, but I much more enjoyed the subplots because the main plot was really serious. However, a lot of the costumes were very pretty and the country scenes were very nice. The acting was well done, and I would not be sorry to watch it again.

He Knew He Was Right is a part of The Anthony Trollope Collection, though you can also buy it separately. It runs for 235 minutes with four one hour long episodes. It is available on DVD.

1 comment:

  1. A lovely review! I do so enjoy this miniseries and yes, mostly for the subplots. The music is lovely but it is rather underdone. I love many of these characters, their so interesting! :)


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