At the Cinema

We are BBC Fanatics. Here's our favorite:

North and South (2004) is a 4-part adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's 1855 novel (read it for free with Google Books). In a very Austen-ian way, it tells the classic tale of love across a social divide. The very independent Margaret Hale and her family moves from the quaint Southern country life to the industrialized Northern factory town of Milton. Here she meets John Thornton, proprietor of the town's cotton mill. He becomes a student of her father's. After an unexpected encounter with Thornton, where she witnesses him beat a factory worker, she is sure he will never regain her good opinion...Or will he? Fabulous cinematography and wonderful acting round out a hauntingly beautiful love story that you are sure to love as much as we do!

Looking for other amazing BBC movies? Try these!
Bleak House
Jane Eyre (2007)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Wives and Daughters (1999)

We're always suckers for movies about teachers, and Anna and the King (1999) is just that. Schoolteacher Anna Leonowens arrives in Siam with her son with the daunting task of educating the King's sons. Anna's relationship with the King begins rocky but tempers with time and begins to blossom into something more as the two begin to respect one another.

"I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string." ~ L.M. Montgomery 

Anne of Green Gables is a series that does just that-- it reminds you of the beautiful simplicity in every day life, & our movie reviews would not be complete without dear Anne (with an 'e') who is so close to our hearts. We watched & re-watched these three classic movies when we lived in the dorm.

The Anne Series:
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables: the sequel  (This one is our favorite!)
Anne of Green Gables: the continuing story

I never expected to identify with an Orthodox Jewish woman or a Muslim woman. Arranged (2007) is astonishing. Meet two women who meet as first year school teachers in Brooklyn. They soon discover they have more in common than they think-- they are both going through arranged marriages. The struggle for modesty is especially poignant in this movie as Rochel is rebuked by her "forward thinking" principal for her dress. Finding God's Will is a major theme in the movie as both women are troubled by making the right choices-- especially when it comes to finding the right spouse. I (Violet) especially connected with this film as it deals with being an "outcast" in the school system. Give it a try, and you might identify with these characters more than you think!

Bella means beautiful, and that's what this movie is. A pro-life movie about Jose, a  famous soccer player, who is down on his luck. Working as a chef in his brother's restaurant, he meets Nina, a struggling waitress who feels unprepared for a big change coming in her life. On a whim, they spend the day together and discovering how "one moment can change your life forever." One interesting fact is that we learned Jose (Eduardo Verastagui) is the Brad Pitt of Mexican films...They asked him to get scruffy for this movie by growing a bushy beard so he wouldn't be so "distracting" for viewers. Verastagui also happens to be very active in the Pro-Life movement.

Rick Penning lives life just like he plays rugby; fast, hard-hitting and intense. When life on the edge lands him in jail, prison ward Marcus Tate offers him a chance to get back in the game by playing for his rival, Highland Rugby. Reluctantly Rick joins the team where he must adopt the grueling training schedule and unique code of conduct that Coach Gelwix enforces, or finish out the season behind bars. Egos clash as bitter competitors struggle to become a team. An unlikely brotherhood is formed with his Highland teammates, just as Rick is released from jail and sent back home to rejoin his former team, coached by his overbearing father. Heading into a face-off with Highland at the National Championship, Rick is forced to choose where his loyalty lies.  Excellent film for displaying strength in character, friendship, and the need to do what's right over what's "easy." Starring: Sean Astin, Gary Cole, and Sean Farris

Foyle's War is another of our favorite BBC mysteries. Revolving around the cases investigated by Chief Inspector Christopher Foyle in Hastings, these stories are based on actual mysteries during World War II. Espionage, theft and murder are no match for the great Foyle. Prepare to get addicted-- there are 6 seasons...

From the high seas comes Horatio Hornblower, another A&E classic mini-series based on the the books by C.S. Forester. Ioan Gruffudd, plays the title British midshipman who encounters "roiling sea battles, mutiny, plague and love, but always proves himself equal to the task."Along the way, we follow the courageous Hornblower as he can't help but advance his career in the British Royal Navy. These are beautifully shot, superbly cast, and full of adventure!

I Confess! is a classic Alfred Hitchcock mystery from 1953. When Fr. Logan (Montgomery Clift) hears a murder in the confessional, he is bound to silence by the Seal of Confession. His silence on the murder's identity soon makes him Prime Suspect #1...This is a nail-bitter, and it's always interesting to how Hitchcock, a Catholic, infused his films with Catholicism!
Other Hitchcock movies we like:
The Wrong Man

Deanna Durbin. Is. Amazing. Why more people don't know about her is beyond us, but we love her many musical films! Blessed with a golden set of vocal chords, Miss Durbin sings in most of her movies-- sometimes pop and sometimes opera! If you want a good starting place, try our favorite: It Started With Eve! In this 1941 movie, Deanna plays a humble coat check girl who is sweet talked into posing as a Robert Cummings' fiancee. He wants to make his father's last moments happy, and his father is taken with the beautiful Deanna. Things get sticky when his father recovers...and Cummings has to explain that he's actually engaged to someone else. No one can resist Deanna's charm and grace for long though!

Want to see some other Deanna favorites? Try these!
I'll Be Yours (1947)
Lady on a Train (1945)
Something in the Wind (1947)

Something about Jeeves and Wooster tickles the Catholic funny bone. Almost every Catholic (including priests!) we know has a soft spot for the British comedy series based on the P.G. Wodehouse books. They follow the crazy adventures of clueless playboy Bertie Wooster (Hugh Laurie) and his remarkably intelligent valet, Jeeves (Stephen Fry) who constantly gets him out of jams. The quick wit and sly one-liners are sure to please!

Lorna Doone (2000) is based on the 1869 novel by R.D. Blackmore. Set in the late 17th century England, the movie tells the story of young John Ridd, whose father is brutally murdered. The boy vows to take his revenge on the culprits someday -- the notorious Doone clan. Fast forward a few years, and John finds himself falling in love with the beautiful Lorna...whom he later discovers bears the last name Doone. Thus ensues an adventure of the two star-crossed lovers as they manage to incite war over their relationship!

A city girl adjusting to life in the country is something we can relate to! In The Magic of Ordinary Days, well-educated Livy Dunne agrees to marry soft-spoken farmer, Ray Singleton. Her father has made the arrangements for her seeing as she is about to be an unwed mother.  Skeptical about Ray's reasons for going through with the marriage, Livy is surprised to hear her God-fearing husband answer that he "thought it might be God's Will." Set against the backdrop of WW2, Livy must decide where her future lies. We're suckers for a sweet love story-- especially anything WW2 related! 

"Look at His adorable face.
Look at His glazed and sunken eyes.
Look at His wounds.
Look Jesus in the Face.
There, you will see how He loves us." ~ St. Therese of Lisieux
The detailed account of The Passion of the Christ is without question a film every Catholic should have on her movie shelf. While at times gory and difficult to watch, this honest portrayal of Christ's Passion is a moving account of God's love for us.

This 1983 movie is based on the true story of Fr. Hugh O'Flaherty, the "Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican." The Scarlet and the Black details this fiery Irish priest's successful covert operations to hide downed pilots, escaped prisoners of war, and Italian Resistance families within the safety of the Vatican walls during WW2. Like Bl. Miguel Pro, O'Flaherty uses a variety of disguises to continue his work after he discovers the S.S. has been instructed to kill him on sight outside the Vatican. This is an exciting film about those who risked their lives to save others. If you enjoy this, try the book: The Vatican Pimpernel.

Based on the classic novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, this 1982 movie adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel features a lovely young Jane Seymour. Set in the terror of the French Revolution, the movie shows her as the wife of the rather silly aristocrat Sir Percy Blakeney, who is secretly masquerading as The Scarlet Pimpernel. This elusive character is disguising himself and rescuing people from the fate of the gallows. Both an adventure and romance, this movie is practically a comedy with Blakeney's faux snooty aristocratic air. You are sure to love it as much as we do!

 Strike Up the Band is another film from a famous duo: Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. The two made several movies whose plot lines all hovered around the idea of 2 talented kids showing some Yankee ingenuity and throwing together a musical show for some good cause. In this case, it's trying to raise money to go a televised high school band contest. This is the grandfather of High School Musical. Life gets in the way of their plans, and of course love is in the air. These are such feel-good movies about wholesome kids out to have some fun!

 We love Fred and Ginger! Swing Time (1936) is just one of the many movies they performed in together. Some consider it the best! In this one, Astaire plays a gambler trying to raise $25,000 in a bet to marry his fiance. In the meantime, he runs into a beautiful dance instructor (Rogers) and of course, falls in love.

Want more Astaire and Rogers?
Follow the Fleet
Top Hat
Shall We Dance

What would your ultimate gift be? Playboy Jason Stevens expects his will be a hefty inheritance from his fabulously rich grandfather, Red. Based on the book by Jim Stovall, The Ultimate Gift chronicles the gift...or gifts Red leaves to his pampered grandson. Instead of a cache of cash, Jason is left with a series of 12 "gifts" or missions that are meant to teach him valuable lessons in life. For example, he is shipped to Texas to do manual labor on a ranch to learn the value of work. If he completes all of them, he will be rewarded with "the ultimate gift." This movie has great acting, a cute plot line, and a wonderful message!

We both agree The Young Victoria is one of the most touching love stories we've seen in a long time. Queen at 18, Victoria is wary of Albert, the German cousin who has been encouraged to win her for political motives. But when the two begin to truly fall in love, it begins one of the most moving relationships in England's history. Inspired by her husband's charity toward the people and bravery (he took an assassin's bullet for her!), their deep respect forms a wonderful partnership that lasts until Albert's untimely death. Victoria continued to lay out his clothes every morning for the rest of her life in his memory.