Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Your next movie stop: {Cranford}

Those of you who know me well know I am very, very hard to please when it comes to movies. I like movies that are clean. But they have to be well-written. They have to be uplifting. They have to have real human feeling, sensitively expressed, ergo they have to be artistic. I love movies that transport me to another time and place. And if they have beautiful cinematography and a great soundtrack, that's a plus. Add some humor into that, and you've got a rare movie.

Well, here's one of those rare mixtures. . . .


Welcome to Cranford, circa 1840…a rural English town where etiquette rules, undergirded by a healthy amount of gossip. Modernity is making a move in town as construction of a railway comes harrowingly close. Cranford’s eclectic residents, among them Matty Jenkyns (Dame Judi Dench) her sister Deborah (Dame Eileen Atkins), and Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton), stay immersed in the sweet pleasures and sometimes heartbreaking realities of simple village life. But when a handsome, young doctor arrives with cutting-edge new techniques, it rapidly becomes clear that as the world changes, so Cranford will change with it. Boasting an all-star cast, and based on the works of Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford breathes life into one town during one extraordinary year.
(Courtesy of the PBS/Masterpiece website)

Cranford is absolutely delightful! My sister-in-love pointed me to this movie just after it was on PBS's Masterpiece Theater series, and I am so glad she did! I was riveted for the entire 5 hours.


It has the best costumes and the best acting you'll ever see.



It has gore (maybe you'll want to fast-forward the 19th-century medical surgery scenes--I thought they were very interesting).



It has spirituality.




It has social commentary in a historical context.



It has romance, some of the tenderest you will ever see. (Also passion, if you're more into that). :)



It has suspense, and sparkling humor.



Finally, it has great depth.

Dame Judi Dench is so stunningly real. She brings a powerful sensitivity to this role. I found myself crying for Miss Mattie as she passes through great adversity, and inspired by her quiet determination to keep living in a loving way.


Cranford filled me the way movies seldom do. It left me a better person. It also left me wanting to watch it again, right away! But someone else had it on hold at the library, so they had to pry it from my clenched hands! :(

If you've ever seen "North and South" (one of my all-time favorite movies) or "Wives and Daughters", and wished they were even longer, you need to see Cranford. Or if you really like Judi Dench. Go reserve it on your library website right now.

Didja do it? Great! Goozhob. You're in for a treat!


Mom/Nana/A. Nancy said...[Reply to comment]

Thank you for recommending this movie, Michelle. I LOVED it too. Luckily, I was able to borrow it locally. My friend thought it should be renamed "Women Don't Need Men." I actually started rewatching it tonight because it was so good.

snbjork said...[Reply to comment]

MICHELLE!!! I was totally planning to tell you about this movie! That's great that you already saw it! I rented it from the library last week and absolutely adored it. And, like you said, as soon as it ended I desperately wanted to start back at the beginning and watch the whole thing again.

The scene with the cat....yeah, um, the whole time I was covering one eye and one ear thinking "oh my, I could have done without this scene" all the while I was cracking up!

Your review of the movie was excellent. You covered it all. Hey, you wanna come over next week and watch it with me?! Your Mom and sisters are welcome, too. =)

I miss you!

Sharon Beck said...[Reply to comment]

Thanks for recommending those three movies. I've already gone on and ordered them from the library. Unfortunately, there are 98 people ahead of me for Cranford.

Jen said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I thought you would! Wasn't it great. Can't wait to finish reading the book too.

Cindi M said...[Reply to comment]

I'm glad you reviewed this one. A friend started reading it and couldn't get into it. I had requested it at the library and had to cancel it because we were going to be out of town when it finally came in for me, but I'll go request it again now. I loved "Wives and Daughters" and more especially "North and South," so I'm sure this will be great!

Becky said...[Reply to comment]

Okay, I think that I'll try it. Which books is it based on? I would love to read those books, then maybe we could watch the movie over Thanksgiving?

Malauna said...[Reply to comment]

Thanks Michelle, this one is on my list, now. (Only 13 people ahead of me on the library hold list.)