Monday, November 18, 2013

Pass, Fail, Promise: Period Drama

While I've mostly been avoiding television because of Nano, I did take a break to watch a few things on Netflix this week. Shockingly, all were period dramas from different countries.

Pass: Populaire
Country of Origin: France
Rating: A-
Okay, so we're talking about a French movie set in 1959 that centers around typewriters? Yep, I'm all over that. :D

I've had this one saved since I first saw the movie poster. I believe it just popped up on Netflix this week, and I happened to see a brief post on the costumes on one of the fashion blogs I follow.

I desperately loved this movie, and the only thing stopping it from getting an A+ was the use of tropes; certain scenes were a little cliched and predictable, but overall this was an adorable film, and very sweet. And if it doesn't make you want to pull out the typewriter and punch out your entire Nanowrimo word count in one sitting, there's something wrong with you. Add to it an adorable main character, gorgeous costumes, and beautifully decorated sets, and you've got a winner.

Fail: The Great Gatsby
Country of Origin: USA
Rating: C
This movie is beautiful. The costumes are fabulous, the sets are grand, and the CG is colorful and detailed, effecting the brilliant, over the top atmosphere of the 1920s in New York, and the acting is spot on.

The problem with Gatsby, in my opinion, lies squarely with the source material. We read this when I was in high school, and I remember as three weeks of extreme torture culminating in two days of watching the film in class. The high point of which was that it didn't last as long as the book did, aided by the fact that our teacher was so sick of it that she kept fast forwarding through the slow bits. Leonardo di Caprio does an excellent job of portraying Gatsby's aloof, narcassistic, selfish nature, while Tobey Maguire is every inch Nick Carraway's dull, lifeless character, doing little more than watching from the background, always invited along though he really doesn't add anything to the story itself.

I could go on for days about the failings of Gatsby, but I'll refrain since the fault lies with Fitzgerald and not Hollywood for once. The characters are completely unlikeable, the story itself is warped and nonsensical. It's not the actor's fault that their characters are all flat and irredeemably egocentric, and in fact they portray it perfectly. It is primarly due to that skill and the visual elements that I ranked this movie as high as I did.

Oh, and don't get me started on the music. It's primarily rap and hip-hop, which was jarring and out of place.

Promise: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Country of Origin: Australia
Rating: A
Another Netflix newcomer, Miss Fisher is set in Melborne in the 1920s. I've only watched the first episode so far, but it definitely has potential, ranking right up with the Bletchely Circle in terms of intrigue.

With witty diaglogue and a setting that is completely new to me at least, I was drawn in from the first. By the end of her first episode, I do think that it is safe to say that Miss Fisher is the first lady detective to come in with a bang (and yes, for those who have seen it, the pun is intended).


  1. I thought Populaire was delightful too. Yes, a little cheesy, but so what!

  2. I've not had the opportunity to watch Populaire yet. I am very glad the Great Gatsby was not yet made into a movie when we had to read it in school. I hated that book. Still don't think much of it. Bring on Hemingway or Dickens.

    I hope you reach your goal with NaNo.