Posted in BBC

Anzac Girls

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Sophia – We noticed this show pop up on Acorn TV, so decided that we’d give it a try. What we realized right out the gate is that we are woefully ignorant of the involvement of Australia and New Zealand in the World Wars! We even paused the show half-way through the first episode so that we could do a bit of research and have a better historical context for what was going on. (Yes, we are nerds, and fully at peace with it).

This is an excellent show. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s a period drama/historical fan. The story drags you into the emotional upheaval that these women experienced. They all had a “stars-in-their-eyes” approach to nursing until they were presented with the stark, horrific reality of what warfare was during the Great War. One of the themes that I can absolutely get behind and cannot recommend enough is that of friendship. These women clung to their relationships with each other as they nursed their countrymen. Through heartbreak, loneliness, emotional scarring, disrespect from the army, struggling with PTSD and the loss of their innocent view of the world, they had each other. More than that, they made their friendships a top priority. It’s beautiful to watch.

Both army brass and soldiers alike had a low opinion of the nurses during the war. They were “just nurses” and weren’t built to “deal with the reality of war,” and these women absolutely proved them wrong – some were even awarded with military honors only given out to the most heroic of soldiers. We cheered for that part!

Note: The main characters were real women who nursed during World War I, so these stories are dominantly verbatim re-tellings of the actual events of their lives. Because of this, there are sometimes slightly awkward transitions and plot developments. This dominantly presents itself in the last episode with an old flame turning up for one of the characters. He kinda comes out of nowhere. In real life, things don’t always work smoothly – I keep sending Bucky Barnes love letters and I just keep getting restraining orders in return . No declaration of love in the midst of a light rainfall or anything! It’s almost like I should just stop trying!!!

Arabella – Arabella started a new job in the past couple of weeks, which has been taking up all of her time! She’ll be back for our next review!

Obscenities– Nothing. Like, nothing at all, and then, 30 minutes from the end of the last episode, there’s one F word. It’s like, “What?!” If you want to avoid it, it’s when the camp get’s bombed for the first time. Yikes.

Sex – Two of the characters get earthy in the first episode – and you WAY see it coming. No idea how much they show because of our aforementioned skipping.

Note: there is a truly beautiful scene between a husband and wife in the last episode. He’s just come from the front and she undresses and bathes him. They don’t show anything inappropriate at all, and it’s an extremely touching display of her love and care for him, and of his trust in her.

Audience – This movie is about war, and they spare no expense in the gruesome reality of what that looked like for nurses. The injuries look real, and are sometimes startling. There is also very realistic depictions of the emotional trauma that soldiers and nurses alike had to endure. The viewer should probably have the emotional maturity to cope with these things.

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Posted in BBC

Pride and Prejudice (1995/2005)

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To honor the name of the blog, we figured we should start with the classics. So, we’ll be reviewing the different, but relatively recent, versions of some favourites. 

Sophia – I am a 1995 fan 100% of the time. The length gives time for character development, a believable change of opinion both on the side of Lizzy and  Darcy, and increased screen time for extraneous characters (never have I been so creeped out as I was with this version of Collins. Why are you sweating so much?!?!) The music is exquisite and this is, by far, the best Mrs. Bennet I’ve seen. Love it.

The 2005 is just so very contemporary. It’s accessible to a wider audience who don’t appreciate a 5.5 hour run time or the confusing social rules that reigned over the regency era, but they came dangerously close to desiccating a literary staple via one essential element: Lizzy. No, just…..no. Though I will consent that the music is breathtakingly beautiful.

Arabella – Ok so there was no Tom Hiddleston in either version of this movie so neither can be a perfect 10 in my books.

I do agree with Sophia that the 1995 version is significantly more enjoyable. The longer run time gives a much better background of social norms against which we can lay the characters and allow them to come alive. This is most significantly seen with Lizzy, who was written to be a spirited and independent woman in a time when that simply wasn’t the way women were to behave *insert super posh Humpf-ing and indignant nose-sniffing*. This version allows time and detail to be put into a lavish understanding of cultural and societal norms and subsequently why her vivacious personality could be at first so off-putting (and then so very AAAAWN-putting!!) to Mr. Darcy, and the same can be said for all of the characters in the story. Through this attention to detail we understand why Lydia’s elopement is a social death sentence to the family, how good old McDarcy-pants would feel to be engaged from childhood to his cousin (ewww!! Although it was a thing…but EWWW!!) for which he didn’t care at all, and just how utterly thrilling it would be to have a single Mr. Money-buckets move in next door to a family of single girls (SUCH a drain on the bank account…). Also, Mr. Darcy’s curly black hair and delightful sideburns, gorgeously modeled by Colin Firth? Yeah, that’s pretty much the best. Besides all this you get to enjoy gorgeous costumes, mesmerizing hairstyles, and Mr. Toad Collins stuffing his face to gagging capacity. What’s not to love?!

Favorite Line: “I believe it is of great doc-try-nal import, sir.”  – I basically just love the way she pronounces doctrinal.

2005 version…hmmm…so much to say. I shall attempt to be brief. This movie was awful and has very few redeeming qualities. Brief enough? Ok fine. My biggest beef with this movie is that Lizzy’s character was presented in entirely too modern a way. The character was intended to be independent and spirited but either through a flaw in acting or writing, instead she came off as a sexed-up tease who leads with her lips and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why upstanding Mr. Darcy (brilliantly portrayed by Matthew Macfadyen) would ever be attracted to her sultry pout and hate-all-the-controlling-men vibe. The ’empowering’ speech she made to Mr. Collins when she rejected his proposal actually made me feel sorry for a man who seemed to be socially awkward and merely responding to the ‘stay away come get me’ messages she was throwing out with every eyelash bat and collarbone-enhancing gasp of indignation. And I cannot end this review without mentioning my bone-chilling disgust with the whole ‘walking through the sunrise-kissed fields in nighties’ scene. Do we really think either of them would set a toe outside their own rooms clad so informally, especially when one of them is related to the peerage?!?! I mean, people in history did socially inappropriate things, don’t get me wrong, but I’m pretty sure a man whose income was ten thousand pounds a year wouldn’t go wandering around outside half dressed just because he was a bit love sick. He wasn’t a peasant, after all! I find this all keenly disappointing, too, because with a shorter run time (and absolutely beautiful music!), this is definitely the version that most people will watch. Why, people?! History is judging you…

Favourite Line: The End

Obscenities– Nothing of current significance in either. 2005 does have 2 religious exclamations.

Sex – 2005 has some innuendo for the sake of grabbing audience attention *insert look of snobbish disdain*

Audience – (1995) is appropriate for pretty much anyone, though the excessive dialogue may not be engaging for younger audiences or troglodytes. (2005) has more obvious emotional angst that might be upsetting for more sensitive youngsters and anyone who’s remotely aware of the rules of etiquette for this time period.