Take 3: Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) Review (Clean Movie Month #3)

When I signed up for Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Code Classics Blogathon in June, I hadn’t publicly submitted the film I wanted to review. That’s because I planned on reading the source material before watching the movie. Originally, I was going to read Black Beauty and then see the 1946 adaptation of this story. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to set aside time to read the book. Also, the 1946 version of Black Beauty was unavailable for rent. I then decided to watch a version of The Count of Monte Cristo that was released during the Breen Code Era. However, the only adaptations that were available for rent were the 2002 and the 1975 version. Then I remembered how I’ve always wanted to read Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was happy to discover I was able to rent the 1936 adaptation! In my life, I have read A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Having enjoyed both books, I was interested in hearing a similar story from a male perspective. How different would Ceddie be from Sara and Mary? Would his story contain any similarities with the two aforementioned novels? While I haven’t read Little Lord Fauntleroy yet, I wasn’t going to miss out on seeing this story come to life on screen!

Little Lord Fauntleroy poster created by Selznick International Pictures, United Artists, and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. ©Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Little-Lord-Fauntleroy-Poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I’ve said before on 18 Cinema Lane that performances from young actors and actresses can be hit or miss. However, Freddie Bartholomew’s portrayal of Ceddie was a hit! The way this character carried himself was mature for his age without being too precocious. At the same time, Ceddie had the type of kind-heartedness you’d expect from a young character. The mannerisms and facial expressions Freddie adopted reminded me of Sara from A Little Princess, making me believe that Ceddie and Sara probably would have been good friends! Even though her presence in the film was limited, Dolores Costello Barrymore gave a memorable performance as Ceddie’s mom, Dearest! Her emotions gave the audience a glimpse of how her heart is always in the right place when it comes to looking out for her son. In one scene, Dearest is telling Ceddie that he’ll have to stay with his grandfather. This moment showcases how she continually shields her child from the animosity between her and the grandfather. Also, this scene highlights her ability to put Ceddie’s needs before her own, telling him she’ll place a candle in the window so the light will always guide his path.

The music: While watching Little Lord Fauntleroy, I noticed how the background music always fit the tone of its respective scene. One great example is when Ceddie receives a bicycle for his birthday. A tune from a music box could be heard, indicating how this is a happy occasion. Whenever Ceddie’s grandfather is mentioned, the audience can hear orchestral music. The music itself sounded regal, highlighting how important this character is. Somber music was found in sadder scenes, like when Mr. Hobbs and Dick are missing their friend, Ceddie. This consistent detail shows how the film’s creative team cared about what their audience saw and heard.

The messages and themes: The famous works of Frances Hodgson Burnett are known for having good messages and themes that audiences of all ages can appreciate. Little Lord Fauntleroy is no different. Throughout the movie, Ceddie always put others before himself. When his grandfather’s lawyer asked him how he’d use his newfound wealth, Ceddie tells him that he would purchase gifts for his friends, as a way to improve their lives. At a party, when one of his grandfather’s friends offers Ceddie a puppy, Ceddie turns the offer down by saying that he doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of his new K-9 friend, Duke. These examples display the messages of selflessness and staying true to yourself in any circumstance. Prejudice is an overarching theme that is found in this story. Ceddie’s grandfather does not like Americans, which created animosity between him and Dearest. The more time the grandfather spends with Ceddie, his negative beliefs begin to change. The grandfather’s part of the story shows how prejudice can hurt people, especially families.

Code Classics Blogathon banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2020/06/06/announcing-the-code-classics-blogathon/

What I didn’t like about the film:

A thirty-minute set up: Setting up a story is a crucial component to any film. However, when the set-up process takes too long, it may be difficult to get invested in the story. In Little Lord Fauntleroy, it took thirty minutes to set up the plot. While this part of the narrative was meant to showcase character development and motives for future events, I don’t think it needed to last this long. Because of this creative choice, it took a while for Ceddie and Dearest to get to England.

Giving Ceddie almost nothing to do: Before watching Little Lord Fauntleroy, I had expected Ceddie to learn the ropes of being an Earl from his grandfather. Sadly, that’s not what happened. I understand that Ceddie is a child. But despite this, he wasn’t given much to do as an Earl-in-training. Sure, Ceddie helped his grandfather write a letter to a struggling farmer. However, it made me wonder why Ceddie was given this Earl title so young if he couldn’t utilize it.

The conflict between Dearest and the Earl of Dorincourt: As I mentioned earlier in this review, Ceddie’s grandfather does not like Americans. Because Dearest is American, there is tension between her and the grandfather. While the conflict itself explored the subject of prejudice, I feel it was resolved too quickly. There is only so much story that can be told in an hour and forty-two minutes. But the way Dearest and the Earl of Dorincourt dealt with their conflict felt rushed, as years of animosity was taken care of after one event.

Clean Movie Month banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2020/07/01/cleanmoviemonth2020-is-here/.

My overall impression:

I have not read Little Lord Fauntleroy, as I mentioned in my introduction. Therefore, I don’t know what aspects of the book were translated to the screen. Despite this, I liked the 1936 adaptation of this story! It was a good and sweet picture that contained timeless messages and themes. The character of Ceddie reminded me a lot of Sara from A Little Princess. This didn’t surprise me, as both books were written by the same author. Yes, the movie did have flaws. However, I enjoyed the story and thought this was a well-made production. Because of how much I liked this film, it makes me want to read the book! Out of the three Breen Code Era films I’ve reviewed so far, Little Lord Fauntleroy is the most Code compliant! I didn’t find any offensive material in this project, which makes it a perfect movie for family viewing!

Overall score: 7.9 out of 10

Are you enjoying Clean Movie Month? What is your favorite literary adaptation from the Breen Code Era? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: To Kill a Mockingbird Review

Before I start this review, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 9th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Supporting Actor of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The next poll will be posted on the April 10th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Now it’s time to choose the Best Supporting Actor of 2020’s Gold Sally Awards!

 

Originally, I had planned on reviewing To Kill a Mockingbird for Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s A Month Without the Code Blogathon. Since The 2020 Classic Literature On Film Blogathon was given an April participation date and because I was reading To Kill a Mockingbird at the time of the event’s announcement, I decided to review the film adaptation a lot sooner than I expected. For years, I had heard great things about the novel. The now famous quotes have been plastered all over the internet, sounding deep and thought-provoking against backgrounds of characters’ pictures from the film. No literary list would be complete without To Kill a Mockingbird’s inclusion. What caused me to pick up a copy, and eventually see the movie, was the trial where Atticus defends Tom Robinson. This situation taking place in a time that is very different from today brought up a lot of questions. How would Atticus approach the case? Was Tom innocent? How different was the court system back then? For a while, this book was sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for the day when it would be read. Because of this blogathon, the day to read the book and see the movie has finally come!

To Kill a Mockingbird poster
To Kill a Mockingbird poster created by Brentwood Productions, Pakula-Mulligan, and Universal Pictures. Image found at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:To_Kill_a_Mockingbird_(1963_US_theatrical_poster).jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: In my review of Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, I talked about how the characters in that movie appeared as if they came from real-life. This is partly the result of the quality of the actors’ performances. The aforementioned strengths are shared by both films. While watching To Kill a Mockingbird, I noticed how all the performances felt realistic. The actors brought enough emotion and animation to their roles, in order to bring their characters to life. I enjoyed watching the performances in this film. However, the two standouts came from Collin Wilcox Paxton (who portrayed Mayella Ewell) and Brock Peters (who portrayed Tom Robinson). Even though they appeared on screen for a limited amount of time, they were able to bring so much emotion and power to their roles. These elements allowed Collin and Brock to elevate their characters as well as the source material.

 

How the source material was presented: Looking back on the book, the story itself was 20% about the trial and 80% about the “slice of life” perspective Scout offers to the readers. This imbalance is what caused me to not enjoy the book as much as I had expected. The film’s creative team makes an effort to create a balance between these two ideas by removing scenes that would have felt like padding. In the book, the majority of a chapter is devoted to the Halloween carnival/play and what caused that event to take place. The movie, however, only shows Jem and Scout arriving and leaving the school. The way some scenes were presented in the movie highlighted Atticus’ abilities as a lawyer more effectively than in the book. When Atticus to talking to Scout about compromises and trying to see things from another person’s perspective, the scene places more emphasis on Atticus himself delivering the message, showing the values he follows as a lawyer. In the book, it feels like these lessons are rehashing information most readers already know.

 

Moments of suspense: There were some scenes containing suspenseful moments that were periodically placed in the film. One of these moments takes place in the scene when Atticus visits Helen Robinson for the first time. While Jem is sitting in Atticus’ car, Bob Ewell drunkenly approaches the vehicle. Because this is the first time Bob is introduced on screen and because he is presented in a disorderly state, Bob’s decisions and actions are very unpredictable. Scenes like this one maintained the overall story’s intrigue. It maintained my investment in the film as well. These scenes featuring suspenseful moments also allowed the creative team to adopt story-telling elements like the use of shadows and dramatic music.

Classic Literature On Film Blogathon banner
The 2020 Classic Literature On Film Blogathon banner created by Paul from Silver Screen Classics. Image found at https://silverscreenclassicsblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/announcing-the-2020-classic-literature-on-film-blogathon/?wref=tp.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The trial taking place at a later time: As I said in the introduction, the trial where Atticus defends Tom Robinson is what made me want to read the book. When I did read it, I was disappointed to discover the trial itself took place sixteen out of thirty-one chapters into the story. In the movie, the trial appears at the halfway point. In this case, I fault the source material more than the film’s creative team. Even though I had to wait an hour for the trial to be presented on screen, the creative team did try their best to get to that point as soon as possible.

 

Some unclear details: Some details in this movie were unclear, especially if someone didn’t read the book before they saw the movie. In the book, Jem and Scout are introduced to Reverend Sykes when they attend Mass at Calpurnia’s church. When the trial takes place, they agree to sit with Reverend Sykes in the balcony section of the courthouse. Because the church service was omitted from the movie, there’s no clear explanation provided for how Jem and Scout know Reverend Sykes. It might have helped if details like this one were given some context.

 

The voice-over: The book is told from the perspective of an adult reflecting on their childhood. However, the movie presented the events as if they are taking place in “present-time”. Because of this decision, it allows the events to speak for themselves. This makes the voice-over seem like an unnecessary component. The voice-over was also not consistently included in the movie, causing its presence to not feel justified.

Law Justice Isometric Composition Icon
Courtroom image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/isometric”>Isometric vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

There are very few times when I feel a film adaptation is better than its literary source material. In fact, the two previous instances that I can think of are Hallmark’s Hall of Fame’s The Beach House and Hallmark Channel’s Rome in Love. After watching To Kill a Mockingbird, I have now found a third adaptation to add to that list. I’m not a fan of “slice of life” stories, hence why I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I had expected. While these aspects of the “slice of life” story were incorporated in the movie, the creative team’s main focus was about getting straight to the point a lot sooner. The visual nature of film worked in the favor of certain elements from the source material. Suspenseful moments in certain scenes are one great example. Reading about those moments in a book does cause a level of uncertainty. Watching them take place on screen makes those moments seem real and intensifies that uncertainty. If I known my feelings about this movie before reading the book, I honestly would have skipped the book and gone straight to the movie.

 

Overall score: 8.1 out of 10

 

Have you read any classic literature? If so, did you see its film adaptation, if it has one? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Only One Month Left to Sign Up for the Siskel and Ebert Blogathon + Award Announcement!

Siskel and Ebert Profile banner
Created by me, Sally Silverscreen, on Adobe Spark.

Greetings to all of my readers and followers! I just want to remind everyone that there’s only one month left to sign up for my blogathon, “Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon”! If you’re interested, please request a topic as soon as possible. To check out the original blogathon announcement, click on the banner that’s located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. I also want to share that I have just received The Baroness Orczy Blogging Award from the blog, Silver Screenings! I’m going to be honest, I had never heard of this particular author until I won this award. So, I went to Goodreads and learned more about her. Based on the presented information, she sounds like a fascinating individual! I’ll definitely have to check out one of her books sometime. Thank you to everyone at Silver Screenings for selecting me for this award. Having my written work compared to someone like Baroness Orczy is truly an honor!

Baroness Orczy Award
The Baroness Orczy Blogging Award logo created by Silver Screenings. Image found at https://silverscreenings.org/2019/08/09/a-few-bloggers-who-remind-us-of-famous-writers/.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse Review

So, it’s been five months since I last reviewed a mystery film from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (yes, you read that right). And I was surprised to discover, recently, that my review of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game is one of my more popular reviews. Currently, it has four likes and 390 views! Because of these two factors, I decided to review all three films that will premiere during the first ever Aurora Teagarden Month! This is one of my favorite series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, so I wouldn’t pass on an opportunity to talk about these movies! The first one to air was Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse. Not only was I excited to revisit these characters, but also to see some newer faces return. What are we waiting for? Let’s begin this review of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse

Aurora Teagarden 10 poster
Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse poster created by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Crown Media Family Networks. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Aurora+Teagarden+Mysteries+A+Game+of+Cat+and+Mouse.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: The acting performances in the Aurora Teagarden series are, always, a highlight. Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse is no exception, as the entire cast did a great job with their on-screen performances! Once again, Candace Cameron Bure shines in the lead role! She helped carry the film with a likable personality and charm. I also liked seeing Niall Matter again as Nick Miller. Even though this character hasn’t appeared in the series for very long, he has already become a favorite! Supporting actors and actresses also did a wonderful job, whether they were series regulars or newcomers! Since the very beginning of the series, Ellie Harvie has portrayed Lillian Tibbett, Aurora’s co-worker at the library. She only makes limited on-screen appearances, but her performances make up for that. With enough believability, Ellie has been able to bring her character to life and give the audience the impression that Lillian is not Aurora’s biggest fan. The Aurora Teagarden series would not be the same without her.

 

The mystery: In almost every mystery film on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the main mystery revolves around a murder. Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse was about a different kind of mystery; where thefts, vandalism, and danger were the key ingredients. While there was a murder associated with the story, it was not the primary focus. Enough suspects and clues allowed the audience to stay invested in the story. Incorporating Aurora’s occupation with the mystery itself was not only clever, but also showed how well-written this movie was!

 

The surprises: I’m not going to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen this movie yet. But I will say that there were a few surprises that were well executed. One of them was so effective, that it made me jump in my seat! As I’ve said, this movie was well-written when it came to the film’s mystery. I also felt this way about the surprises in this movie. This was a good way to try to help the audience stay focused on what was happening on-screen.

City Library Isometric Illustration
Interior view of library image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A slower pace: Most of the mystery films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries have a faster pace. This is to maintain the suspense and intrigue that the mystery provides. In Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse, though, the overall pace was on the slower side. While the story itself were intriguing, the slower pace made the film feel like it was a little bit drawn out. This also made the movie seem like the suspense was very limited.

 

Rehashed material: There are two ongoing narratives in the Aurora Teagarden series: people disapproving of the Real Murders Club and the police not wanting Aurora to help them solve the case. I understand that things like this help a series maintain its continuity. But when this is the tenth movie in a four-year-old movie series, those narratives start to become stale. In every film, Aurora ends up solving the mystery without the help of the police. As for the Real Murders Club, the mayor of Aurora’s town became a member of the group a few movies ago. Hopefully, these narratives can be dropped or changed within the next two films.

 

Lack of comedy: Even though the films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries are known for having a more serious tone than the movies on Hallmark Channel, comedy is, more often than not, incorporated into their projects. The reason for this is to give the audience some distance between the darkness of the film’s murder. The overall tone of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse was serious, which left very little room for comedy. Sure, there were a few moments that made me chuckle. But the humor that is usually found in this series was sorely missed.

Private detective office interior cartoon vector
Interior image of detective’s office created by Vectorpocket at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/vintage”>Vintage vector created by vectorpocket – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

As a film, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse was decent. But, as the first movie in Aurora Teagarden Month, this was a good start! There are very few times when this series disappoints. This film definitely did not do that, as interesting creative choices were made and the story itself was thoroughly thought out. I’ve been a fan of this series since the very beginning, so I’m glad that it finally got its own month! Because I enjoyed this entry in the Aurora Teagarden story, I am looking forward to the next two installments! Based on the commercial, it looks like the eleventh movie will feature a murder mystery party. From what I remember, there hasn’t been a party like this featured in any of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ mystery films. It looks like August is shaping up to be a very fascinating time of year!

 

Overall score: 7.3 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on the start of Aurora Teagarden Month? Are you looking forward to the next two films? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Oliver! Review + 50 Follower Thank You

On 18 Cinema Lane, I received a Christmas present early! I finally achieved 50 followers! This means that I now have to review a movie that was released fifty years ago (in 1968). While looking at my options for what movie to talk about, I realized that I haven’t reviewed a musical yet. So, I chose Oliver! for this special blog post. While I have never read Oliver Twist, I did see Oliver & Company in September. In fact, I reviewed that film back when I received 30 followers on 18 Cinema Lane. Because of this, I had a basic idea of what the story was about. How different was Oliver! from Oliver & Company? Check out my review in order to find out!

Oliver poster
Oliver! poster created by Romulus Films and Columbia Pictures. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oliver!_(1968_movie_poster).jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: This was a very strong cast! Everyone pulled off a performance that appeared so believable, it made the actors seem like they disappeared into their roles. One of the most versatile actors in this movie was Ron Moody. His portrayal of Fagin was very memorable, bringing those elements of sneakiness and desperation that were essential to that character. I also thought that the child actors were talented as well. While Mark Lester’s portrayal of Oliver was definitely a highlight in this film, I also liked seeing Jack Wild’s performance! Dodger, Jack’s character, was portrayed so well. This is because Jack’s acting performance appeared so natural, making it feel like a child in that particular situation would truly react in that specific way. All of these acting performances added to my level of enjoyment for this movie!

 

The set design: I was really impressed with all of the set designs in this movie! Because this story takes place in 1800s England, the environment within this film is reflective of that time and place. What makes these set designs so great is how immersive they make the audience feel when they see the film. While watching Oliver!, I felt like I was transported to that world, experiencing situations and events alongside Oliver. The authentic look and feel of the film’s environment also helps add a sense of realism to the story.

 

The musical sequences: The musical sequences within this film were, for the most part, really enjoyable! I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of up-beat and catchy songs that were not only entertaining, but also complimented the context of the story. The musical sequence that I enjoyed the most was “Consider Yourself” because the song itself was so great! Some of the visuals in that scene were very creative, such as when, as Dodger and Oliver are walking past a butcher shop, they walk through a doorway which was created by a split piece of meat. It was also interesting to see how the different components of 1800s London came together to showcase the importance that they represented at that time.

OQECW90
Sketch of London image created by Archjoe at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-houses-of-parliament_1133950.htm’>Designed by Archjoe</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Archjoe – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The heavy dialect: As I have mentioned, the story of Oliver! takes place in 1800s England. This means that all of the characters have a dialect that reflects that time and place. However, because of how heavy the dialect was, I found myself having difficulty, at times, understanding what these characters were saying. While this didn’t make me enjoy the movie any less, I did have to pay extra attention to all of the dialogue in the film.

 

Very few emotional songs: Like I’ve also mentioned, most of the music in Oliver! was up-beat. But, when it comes to emotional songs, there are only two within this movie: “Where Is Love?” and “As Long as He Needs Me”. Because of the limited amount of emotional songs, it kind of undermines some of the seriousness that can be found in the story. While the up-beat nature of the songs is meant to make the movie less dark and dreary, a balance of up-beat and emotional songs would have worked better for the story.

169
Hand-written letter image created by Veraholera at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Veraholera – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/love-letter-pattern_1292902.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

I can’t believe this is my last movie review of 2018. Where has the time gone? Anyways, back to the review itself. I really enjoyed this film! As a musical and movie, Oliver! was such a delight to watch. Because I had seen Oliver & Company before I saw Oliver!, it made me appreciate the story as well as the original source material. Like I mentioned in my introduction, I have never read Oliver Twist. But, both of these films have encouraged me to want to read the book! Maybe I will read it in 2019. Speaking of the New Year, I’ve had a pretty good year when it comes to movie blogging. You, my readers and followers, are one of the reasons why 2018 has been great for 18 Cinema Lane. Thank you all so much for making this year such a memorable one for my blog. Here’s hoping 2019 brings more greatness for movie blogging!

 

Overall score: 8.6 out of 10

 

What are you looking forward to in 2019? Which movie review from 18 Cinema Lane has been your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Christmas at Pemberley Manor Review

Because I’ve been busy preparing my editorial for the 2nd Disability In Film Blogathon and getting my reviews ready for my Halloween Double Feature, I haven’t been as active on my blog as I usually am. But, I wasn’t going to miss a beautiful opportunity to start reviewing movies within either of Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups! Both networks made no delays as they began airing Christmas movies last Friday. To start this Christmas movie season off on a well-intentioned note, the very first movie to premiere this year was Christmas at Pemberley Manor. When I first read the synopsis for this film, it sounded, to me, like a lot of other Hallmark movies I’ve seen or heard of before. Because this movie seemed to contain some of the same tropes that are usually found in Hallmark movies (businesswoman visits a small town and just so happens to find true love there, for example), I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this film. When I found out this movie was a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, I was curious to see how this particular story would play out in the 21st century. Did this creative approach work in this movie’s favor? Did the tropes win in the battle of Originality vs. Formulaic? Let’s turn the page on my Christmas at Pemberley Manor review in order to find out!

Christmas at Pemberley Manor poster
Christmas at Pemberley Manor poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.hallmarkchannelpress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Christmas+at+Pemberley+Manor

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: The cast of Christmas at Pemberley Manor was great! Everyone was cast so well in their roles, with the portrayals of all the characters being memorably enjoyable. This is the second Hallmark Christmas movie of Jessica Lowndes’ that I’ve seen and I think her performance in this movie was much stronger than in A December Bride. This is also the second Hallmark Christmas movie of Michael Rady’s that I’ve seen and, just like in A Joyous Christmas, Michael’s performance was fantastic! I also think that Steve Larkin portrayed one of the best Santa-esque characters in Hallmark Christmas movie history!

 

The on-screen chemistry: I thought that Jessica and Michael performed very well together! The on-screen chemistry was one of the things that added to their performances, with this on-screen chemistry appearing very believable. As I watched Christmas at Pemberley Manor, I could see that Elizabeth and William’s relationship developed as the film went on. These characters looked like they truly cared about one another and their interactions were well-acted. I hope Jessica and Michael star in another Hallmark movie together again!

 

The writing: Even though there were some of the usual Hallmark movie tropes in Christmas at Pemberley Manor, there were times when it felt like the screenwriter was trying something new in terms of storytelling. For instance, in some Hallmark movies, there are two guys that, romantically speaking, like the same female protagonist. Out of these two guys, one of them almost always is portrayed as either a “workaholic” or not a nice person. In Christmas at Pemberley Manor, however, both of the guys that liked Elizabeth were genuinely good people. At one point, I honestly had no idea which love interest Elizabeth would end up with.

180564-OWVPWB-850
Adorable Santa image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/christmas-background-with-funny-santa_1324597.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Very little resemblance to Pride and Prejudice: When I heard that Christmas at Pemberley Manor was meant to be a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, I was interested in seeing how this story could be adapted for the 21st century, especially since the only re-telling of Pride and Prejudice I’ve seen is the “Mr. Darcy” series on Hallmark Channel. However, this movie didn’t feel like any form of the Pride and Prejudice story. The only connections I could find between the original story and this film were Elizabeth’s, William’s, and Jane’s name being the same as either a character from the book or its respective author and the “don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover” trope.

polish-manor-1221172-1279x1705
Manor with white colored porch image created by Arkadiusz Frankowicz at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Arkadiusz Frankowicz .”

My overall impression:

Christmas at Pemberley Manor was such a strong start to not only Hallmark’s Christmas movie line-ups, but also to the overall Christmas movie season! This movie was such a pleasant surprise that I ended up liking more than I thought I would! Looking back on it, this scenario reminds me of Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movie line-up from last year. The very first movie in that line-up was Marry Me at Christmas and before I watched this film, my expectations for it were low. This is because, just like how I originally felt about Christmas at Pemberley Manor, the movie sounded like a lot of other Hallmark movies I’ve seen and heard of before. When I did get the chance to watch Marry Me at Christmas, it became one of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies from last year! I hope that Hallmark’s Christmas movies continue to surprise me the way Christmas at Pemberley Manor did, with more movies being better than expected.

 

Overall score: 8.2 out of 10

 

Have you seen Christmas at Pemberley Manor? What Hallmark movie are you looking forward to this Christmas season? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen