North and South (BBC)
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As the daughter of a middle-class parson, Margaret Hale has enjoyed a privileged upbringing in rural southern England. When her father uproots the family to take work in the northern mill town of Milton, Margaret is shocked by the dirt, the noise and the gruffness of the people, but she reserves her highest contempt for the charismatic mill-owner John Thornton.]]>
North & South's two leads are both very good, though Armitage's brooding, penetrating performance may very well be considered a classic one day. There are other wonders in the cast: Cusack and Pigott-Smith are superb, and Brendan Coyle is memorable as a firebrand union organizer who ultimately becomes an ally to a softening Thornton. The miniseries script by Sandy Welch is a persuasive mix of historical context and character study. Brian Percival's direction is full of moments that linger in the imagination, such as the winter-dream look of a busy cotton mill, with thousands of snowy fibers floating in the air. --Tom Keogh
Top Customer Reviews
Many in the US will probably confuse Elizabeth Gaskell's "North & South" to John Jake's civil war drama of the same name. While Jake's tells the story of America's north and south, Gaskell's story is rooted in Victorian England. John Thornton, a handsome, stern, passionate manufacturer from Milton represents the north. Margaret Hale, an outspoken, beautiful and spirited young woman from Helstone represents the south. When the Hales move from the idyllic village of Helstone to the bustling, industrial city of Milton, Margaret and Thornton's lives collide.
John Thornton is instantly attracted to Margaret while she is repulsed by his haughty demeanor and the way he treats his employees. She develops a disdain for the wealthy 'masters' (manufacturers) and strikes a friendship with the daughter of the local union leader, much to Thornton's dismay. As Margaret becomes better acquainted with Mr. Thornton, she gradually comes to admire him. She discovers that he is hardworking, a devoted brother and son, generous and kind to Margaret's parents, and is loyal and honorable. However, when the workers in Milton strike, the turn of events that follow drive a wedge between Margaret and Thornton and eventually threaten to pull them apart.
"North & South" is produced by the excellent BBC and the screenplay was written by Sandy Welch, who also penned the outstanding "Our Mutual Friend.Read more ›
Margaret Hale's world is turned upside-down when her minister father gives up his Southern "Helstone" parish and moves her and her mother to the Northern industrial town, "Milton." Her first encounter with mill owner Mr. Thornton leaves much to be desired and leaves her feeling that "the North" is an untenable place to live. After spending time getting to know the plight of the various poor mill workers and taking care of her beloved and now-ailing mother, Margaret begins to warm to her new town: but can a "Southern" gal as she ever truly feel at home in such an alien "Northern" place? And will she ever be able to get past her initial dislike of Mr. Thornton?
This is a fantastic, beautifully-filmed and well-done series (aired on BBC USA in July)! The cinematography is so excellent and compelling, and the scenes wonderfully acted: Daniela Denby Ashe as Margaret Hale and Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton are completely wonderful. If you have seen this series, let me just say the train scene is one of my favorites of all time! The content is kept to mild violence (of angry mill workers) and little else: clean and family-friendly, this great TV series will endear itself to your heart as much as mine, just give it a chance...Read more ›
PRODUCTION VALUES: Historic looms weave again. Lemon-yellow sunlight floods a garden's translucent petals and leaves. Made me cry. Gave me chills.
MARTIN PHIPPS' HYPNOTIC SCORE: reminiscent of Gorecki; minimalism that drills past the kapital-K-krap of the last hundred years of pop culture and reaches something as fundamental as the beat of a human heart, the lungs' breath. Honors both one of the most wrenchingly intimate onscreen moments ever and yet also the sweep of the Industrial Revolution.
SINEAD CUSACK: breathtaking as a ruthless matriarch; better, even than Nancy Marchand as a Mafia queen in "The Sopranos."
POSTURE: Never has so much drama been milked out of actors' vertebrae. Helen Hayes' czarina pose in "Anastasia" was good, but Sinead Cusack's carriage and Richard Armitage's spinal column earn special Academy Awards.
PLOT TWISTS: I did not know where this one was going until the very last moment of the very last scene. Twists pulled me into the issues the plot engages, and made me engage them myself.
IT'S COMPLICATED: Leftist academics' pinko-tinged glasses depict the workers as beautiful and bosses as diabolical. But tycoon Andrew Carnegie, who brutalized his workers, was an epic philanthropist; workers scabbed, drank, and beat their kids. N&S depicts historical complications with its heroic/brutal workers/bosses. All characters are sometimes sympathetic, and sometimes utterly alienating - just like real life! A complex script works to earn our understanding, and our love, for complex human beings, the service, art, at its best, performs.
CHICK FLICK: "Fight, flight, or fix it" is a male response. Guy flix: explosions, chases, gadgets.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a very good movie. It was interesting to see how the industrial revolution played out for the owners of a large company and the workers. It also had romance.Published 8 days ago by Vee Tee
Interesting story -- a bit of history and romance. Wonderfully acted -- I enjoyed the entire cast.Published 12 days ago by Cheryl A Kuster
A Beautiful movie. Richard Armitage is absolutely marvelous as is the whole story. A classic.Published 13 days ago by Jacqueline Pisano
How I missed this series I don' t know. My sister told me about this series and I watched it on U Tube. I loved it so much I purchased the DVD and book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Linda