Movie Review: North & South (2004 version) Starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage

by Keira G on March 2, 2011 · 18 comments

in 5 Stars, Big Misunderstanding, Entrepreneur, Great Britain, Movie Reviews, Spinster, Victorian

Have you worn out your copy of Pride and Prejudice? Are Colin Firth and Matthew MacFayden in need of a little healthy competition? Richard Armitage is just the man to sooth your hunger for another hunk of delicious brooding male. You will melt. Mr. John Thornton is a new Darcyesque figure to fall in love with over and over again.

Richard Armitage is not only singularly fine; he’s also a terrific actor. When he proposes, you’ll die. Loved Mr. Darcy’s fumbling attempts at wooing Elizabeth Bennet? You’re going to enjoy watching Mr. Thornton try to win over the forthright Miss Margaret Hale. Daniela Denby-Ashe does a beautiful job portraying the vicar’s headstrong opinionated daughter.

The story is about a retired vicar and his family moving to the North to Milton, a fairly large factory town. Here they confront illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, and social mores their life in the South leave them unprepared for, especially the mother and daughter. Mr. Hale befriends Mr. Thornton soon after Mr. Thornton makes a singularly bad impression on Miss Margaret Hale. Misunderstandings and stubbornness are rife throughout the miniseries as the protagonists dance around each other trying to understand one another.

If you come into this knowing nothing, you will love it. If you have read the Elizabeth Gaskell novel by the same name, you will love it. Trust me, if you borrow this instead of buying it outright you’re going to be bummed at the thought of returning it. Sandy Welch’s screenplay is phenomenal—four hours of 100% heart-warming goodness can’t be beat. This may just have replaced the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries as best BBC miniseries.

Buy: North & South

Rating: ★★★★★

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carmen March 24, 2009 at 7:39 AM

thought for a minute someone redid North & South by John Jakes. Can’t replace Patrick Swayze! :)

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2 Keira March 24, 2009 at 8:03 AM

Ooo tell me more! Civil war?

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3 Marg March 24, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Isn’t it just the most delicious mini-series. And that ending…sigh!

I do have a small problem at the moment though. I seem to have misplaced disc 1, and so I can’t rewatch it. I know it will be in another DVD case, but which one!

I wouldn’t mind watching the John Jakes version either – I remember watching it when it first came out and then devouring the books!

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4 Karin March 24, 2009 at 7:42 PM

I want to watch it!

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5 KristieJ March 24, 2009 at 8:19 PM

I just have to jump in here. I seem to almost a built in radar when it comes to North and South.
To Carmen and Keira – this is in no way shape or form related the the John Jakes miniseries. It was produced by the BBC in 2004 and it the story of Margaret Hale and John Thornton. Margaret Hale is the daughter of a vicar who leaves his profession behind. She has lived in the very pastoral countryside in the “South” of England. When her father takes the family to the Northern industrial town of Milton, she makes the acquaintance of John Thornton a mill owner. Although he is immediately smitten with Margaret, she has many reservations about him based on a rather rough first meeting. But over the course of the 4 hour miniseries, she gradually begins to see beneath his rough exterior to the person underneath – a man who loves and takes care of his family, who wants the best for those working for him.
The backdrop of the movie is the labour unrest; the workers demanding higher wages and the mill owners resisting for different reasons. At heart it is a love story and a story of two people overcoming their prejudices against each other.
Everything about this production is stunning, from the scenery, the music, the first memorable meeting between Margaret and John and the casting. As mentioned, Richard Armitage, an incredible actor is magnificent in his role as John Thornton, able to convey a wealth of emotions with just the look in his eyes alone. I honestly can’t say how many times I’ve watched this – but without question it is simply stunning.

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6 Keira March 24, 2009 at 8:43 PM

I only wish I had heard of North and South earlier. I just ordered my copy from Amazon. Too bad there’s no such thing as instant shipping – buy now, doorbell rings in 30 minutes or less or your money back. lol

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7 Lady of the Review March 24, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Oh, North & South. Le sigh! I’m soooooo into Richard, it’s not even funny. That voice! Those eyes! *wipes up drool* I am so bad. LOL!

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8 Wanderer March 25, 2009 at 12:22 AM

I loved North and South too. Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Mr. Thornton is right up there with Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy. I do admit one part in the movie always makes me laugh: the rock throwing/hitting scene. But it’s definitely one to add to the keeper list!

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9 BookMoot March 25, 2009 at 8:43 AM

I watched this last night because of your recommendation. I only knew Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisbourne in BBC’s Robin Hood.

I loved North and South. Splendid. So romantic at the end. Le sigh indeed.

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10 Keira March 25, 2009 at 8:49 AM

Hands Lady a bucket and a towel. It’s totally understandable – I mean yowza! Does Richard brood like a demigod or what? Sigh!

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11 Sasha March 25, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Ahh, I love North & South.
Mr. Thornton is simply….amazing.

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12 Keira March 25, 2009 at 10:13 AM

BookMoot- Yay! Are you a new N&S fan like me? I saw it for the first this last weekend.

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13 KristieJ March 26, 2009 at 5:23 AM

Us Crusaders are always thrilled to pieces when we see another convert!! I have a list of crusaders on the sidebar of my blog and I’m just thrilled to add your post to the links!
And if anyone is wondering how to become a North and South Crusader – it’s easy as anything – watch & post about it :)

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14 heidenkind February 20, 2010 at 4:48 PM

I’ve heard a lot of gushing about North and South, but I have to admit I haven’t watched it yet. Maybe some day… :)

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15 Keira February 27, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Oh you must see it. Seriously, the gushing is not exaggerated. Hell it’s probably 100% underwhelmed in comparison to what it should be. lol If you don’t believe me just check it out from your local library asap.

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16 Small Potato March 25, 2010 at 8:40 PM

North and South is excellent and strangely addictive. As for Richard Armitage, he is incredibly beautiful and a stunning actor as well. Check out the many videos on YouTube if you want to see more of him…

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17 Jane March 3, 2011 at 7:01 PM

I saw it on BBC America a few years back and I loved it and at the same time I discovered Richard Armitage.

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18 Paige March 4, 2011 at 12:15 AM

Own it. Love it. Watch it over and over again. I enjoyed the book as well. Also love Wives and Daughters (another movie based on an Elizabeth Gaskell novel) — and that book is very good too although unfinished as the author died before completion.

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