Sunday, July 7, 2013

taking a break till August

Hullo, my dears.  I'm just popping in to say that, much as I dislike having to do it, I'm not going to be on Blogger for the rest of the month.  You see, there's this little thing called twelfth grade that has to be finished before this other little thing called MY DIPLOMA can be sent to the Sisters as part of my application.  Until that nasty little piece of paper is sent, I won't know if I'm accepted or not.  So I'm devoting this month to finishing the three subjects I have left - two quarters of English, one of American Government, and three-ish of French.  You see how impossible that is?! 

So, naturally, I'm asking you to spare a prayer or two for me that I may finish this Herculean task.  And I won't be posting till August, to take away some of the temptation.  If I were a nice, organized blogger, I would have queued posts, but I don't.  So, goodbye for a bit. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Little Dorrit: Book + Film

I was going to post more poetry, but I do feel the need to vary my posts a bit more.  However, I have enough intellectual stuff to do in school (yes I am still doing it, but am trying to get done by the end of this month) without coming up with extra work for myself by writing worthwhile deep posts here.

So...what shall we talk about?  Shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings?  You know, even though I use that line all the time, I can never remember what poem it's from.  It's just like when a line of song gets stuck in your head, but with poetry.

OOOH. LITTLE DORRIT.  Yes, that was extremely random, but my eye fell upon a list of films I have tacked up on my magnet board, and saw it written there, and then I remembered that I kinda really liked it and wanted to talk about it. (I promise to be as spoiler-free as possible.) I actually - shame on me - read Little Dorrit mostly because I wanted to see the film version.  Of course, I was happy to read it, it being Charles Dickens.  You know, at this point I really enjoy Dickens much more than Austen.  *collective gasp*  Yes.  I know.  Anyway, first of all the book was lovely.  I just discovered that you can post Goodreads reviews on your blog, so here you go:

Little DorritLittle Dorrit by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four-and-a-half stars. The last half is deducted simply because it was really long and I felt that it could have been cut down a bit. However, I've been feeling that way about a lot of books lately, perhaps because I have a lot less time than I used to, so maybe you should just ignore that.

I completely fell in love with Arthur Clennam. He is just the quiet kind of character that most appeals to me. Amy's forbearance was amazing, and though of course fictional, she really did inspire me to greater patience in my own life. I am very fond also of many of the secondary characters, which doesn't always happen with Dickens...Rigaud is one of the creepiest villains I've ever come across, and I'm not even quite sure why.

Note: I recommend the BBC film adaptation of this, with Matthew Macfayden. While of course very far from perfect, I thought it captured the story quite well, besides being a great film in its own right.
View all my reviews

My last little comment there is a good segway into talking about the film, no?  Well, it is visually lovely, has a gorgeous soundtrack, and was fairly faithful.  I did not like what they did with Tattycoram's story, however.  Ick.  It was certainly interesting to see Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) from Doctor Who in period costume, however!  Let's see, what else can I pick at... some say that Matthew MacFayden was too young and good-looking to play Arthur Clennam, but I dunno, I think it works.  He is not dashing, and I felt like he understood the character.  Also, he has very mild eyes.  He always looks like a sad puppy and I want to reach through the screen and hug him.

Via.  All subsequent images from same link.

Moving on....
Amy I suppose was pretty good as well.  Naturally they had to make her show a little more spice than in the book, to appease the feminists, but it wasn't too bad.  They showed her sweetness and cheerfulness enough to make me ashamed of traits.

I like that they didn't make her stunningly beautiful.
Like I said in the review, this story has some of my favorite secondary characters ever.  High on the list are Mr. F's Aunt, a senile old lady who takes a very deep dislike to poor Arthur, and Maggie, a girl cared for by Amy who was mentally retarded by a fever and now is perpetually ten, though in years she is twenty-five.  She's funny and sweet and devoted to Amy.  Also there's Mr. Meagles, Mr Doyce (who looked Indian, which was a bit odd for 19th century England, methinks), poor silly Flora with whom Arthur was once in love, and who is still in love with him, Mr. Pancks (who is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE BALD) and, of course....
*cue creepy music*

Played by Andy Serkis of LOTR fame, I found him truly creepifying.  (No, that is not a real word.  Deal with it.)  In both book and film he makes the blood run cold whenever one hears the phrase "death of my life!" or a French children's song that runs "Qu'est-ce qui passe ici si tard ? Compagnons de la Marjolaine..."  (It will get stuck in your head.)

Ack, I forgot one of my FAVORITE favorite characters!  Frederick Dorrit, Amy's uncle. Perhaps it is from him that Amy inherits her temperament, for he is as mild as she, and only one one occasion cannot take it any more and stands up for her to her ungrateful family.  I don't know, I just feel really sorry for him, he's so gentle and seems so confused most of the time.  Especially in the latter half of the book, I felt bad for him.

One more character: Edmund Sparkler.  In the book I found him more annoying than anything, though I did recognize how good-natured he was under his silliness, but in the movie he's really rather adorable, poor boy.

Be quiet, Sparkler.
Oh, one more thing.  Amy's brother Tip is played by Arthur Darvill, also from Doctor Who.  I found this irrationally hilarious.

Well, as you see my method of movie-reviewing is more gushing over characters than anything else.  I crave your pardon, but remind you that I said in the beginning of this post that I am not up to anything complicated.

I'd say ages 10 & up would be fine with the film, but there is murder and creepy French villains and whatnot, so it depends on the person.  I give both movie and book 4/5 stars.  In other words, watch and read.  The book is on Project Gutenberg and probably free for Kindle as well, and I watched the movie on Youtube.

I leave you with a little bit of the soundtrack - which the BBC, as is its irritating practice, never released.

Here, also, is a link to a piano cover of the main theme, performed by the gentleman from whom I got the piano music to Thornton's Walk.

Have you seen or read Little Dorrit? What did you think?
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