Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Review of Northanger Abbey (2007)

I first watched Northanger Abbey sometime around winter break and really enjoyed it. You can watch the whole video on Youtube here. It wasn't a miniseries, and I don't think it was by BBC, but for all that it was a rather good film. It inspired me to read the book, and that's all one could ever hope for in a Jane Austen adaptation. The movie had some very nice points. I shall start with them, then go on to some of the, uh,  questionable changes.

First, the movie starts with a narrator saying the exact words that are in the beginning of NA. I was very excited, for the first chapter of NA is one of my favorites, several quotes, such as "but by the age of fifteen, appearances were mending; Catherine Morland was in training to be a heroine." or something along those lines. I love when she is reading in the fields, it creates such a lovely picture! The books she reads are awful, though! And her imagination!

Along the lines of imagination, I'd like to point out some unnecessary additions to dear NA. Catherine does imagine some rather wild things in the book, but none so... suggestive as a couple of the dreams in the movie. Also, the scene that was implied between Isabella and young Captain Tilney was shown, in a small degree in the movie. It was rather unfortunate, but I suppose they are trying to be "modern" and appeal to the audience. Rather ironic, as the popular "modern" novels Catherine was reading that Jane Austen poked fun at were the same way. 

For being only a movie, and not a mini-series, they did rather well. I didn't notice any major gaps in the story, and they got the point across and developed the characters rather well. Catherine was young and naive, exactly as I'd pictured her. Henry Tilney was hysterical.... and I won't say "nice," for if I did, I know Henry would tease me dreadfully. (But that is what I am thinking) ;)

Isabella and John Thorpe were certainly a pair. Isabella I never truly liked. I'd laugh sometimes at her, and think that some of the stuff she said would be rather wonderful if she'd actually meant it, which she most certainly did not. John was a blundering dandy, as usual, going on about his "d---ed horse and buggy" as he says, and who knows what else. No matter what he said, I do not believe I could be prevailed upon to drive with him anywhere, even if he does promise an old, haunted mansion.

The story was very witty and ironic, with Jane Austen's subtle humor laced in. "I'm not saying she was very silly, but one of us was very silly, and it wasn't ME." Haha, different movie, but very true. Catherine certainly was silly, believing and making up all those things about Northanger Abbey and the Tilney's. A very cringe-worthy moment was in Mrs. Tilney's room, where Henry caught silly Catherine snooping around. Oh, what an awful time of it she had, and that night, being sent away... what an awful man that Mr. Tilney is! 

The ending was very sweet, though I would have liked to have seen the wedding. The proposal was very heartfelt and I melted. I mean, it was actually a proposal scene, which does not happen often in Jane Austen stories. To sum it all up, this movie was very nice and family-friendly, except for some short semi-inappropriate scenes, and I would recommend it.


  1. Nice review. I like this one. I tried watching the older version of Northanger Abbey from the 802 (I believe) and couldn't finish it. But i really enjoyed this one! :)

  2. Thanks for the review and link! I'm hoping to watch it in a week or two.

  3. Kara: Thanks! This is the only version of NA I've ever seen, but I greatly enjoyed it too!

    Hamlette: I'm glad you liked it, and I'm so glad you're planning on watching the movie soon. :)

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