I first saw the North and South mini-series some time in high school, before I had read the book. After reading the book in November and hearing Nicole of WORD for Teens gush extensively about it on Twitter, I knew it was time for me to buy the DVD and watch it again. Beautifully done and exceptionally acted, I could not ask for more from this fantastic adaptation of Gaskell’s novel.
The directors do a wonderful job of combining cinematic elements to set the tone of the novel. There is a really stark contrast between the locations. I don’t know where they filmed the scenes in Hellstone, but it’s incredibly lush and green. Milton, however, has a grey and dingy landscape. A lot of scenes in the factories incorporate fluffy, white bits of cotton floating through the air. White is a color typically associated with goodness, cleanliness and purity, so I have to wonder if the director was implying that while there is poverty and suffering in this town, it is not a place that is devoid of good. The ethereal feel of the floating cotton was a very stark contrast to all of the machinery. I also definitely noticed scenes where Margaret would be wearing white in the midst of all of the grey, perhaps sending a similar message, or maybe in her case describing how she may not fully understand the suffering of the mill workers at the beginning of the story. All of this is set against the backdrop of a largely orchestral soundtrack that is melancholy and haunting, fitting the mood perfectly.
Plotwise, this adaptation is pretty faithful. The only thing it kind of skims is why Mr. Hale wanted to leave Hellstone. I love how none of the characters personalities or the issues of social class are seriously sugar coated or altered. I remembered Margaret’s character as being somewhat weaker in this adaptation, but my memory served me incorrectly--she was strong yet still emotional. Honestly, every character was fantastically acted and played. Richard Armitage is not only gorgeous but does a wonderful job of depicting all of the changes that Mr. Thornton goes through over the course of this story.
This film is topped off with a perfect ending. I love that scene so much. It would have made my swoon worthy moments post, but I only finished re-watching the mini-series last night. I don’t know what more I can comprehensibly say about this adaptation. It is beautiful and well done in so many ways. Go watch it.
In fact, I feel so strongly that you should watch this mini-series that I am giving away one copy of the novel North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and one DVD of the mini-series. If you’d like to win, just fill out the form below.
*One winner will receive North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and a copy of the North and South mini-series on DVD.
*Open to U.S. residents only (sorry, international readers).
*The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. CST on February 26th.