North and South, Part 2

If you have not seen this movie, go out and find it now. I’m serious. Go forth now ~ you can come back and read what I think after you’ve seen it. I loved it so much I rushed to amazon.com to buy my own copy.

Where do I start? The cinematography is awe-inspiring. At the end of the first episode, when you see a cloud of cotton in the air that Margaret Hale describes as hell, and then through the mist you see John Thornton walking through the factory. It’s just ~ wow. Wow, wow, wow. The acting was terrific ~ there could not have been better casting for this. Then there was the contrast between the lush, green scenery of the south (Helston) vs. the dark, grey dullness of the north (Milton). You have to watch to see what I mean.

Now ~ John Thornton. That dark, smoldering gaze of his. (Yes, Richard Armitage is the perfect epitome of Derek Craven). The first time Margaret and John spy each other in the factory, I found myself holding my breath. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of John. I mean, he started beating a man senseless almost immediately ~~ and then he yelled “get that woman out of here”!! But, our Margaret ~~ she gave as good as she got. I don’t think John knew what to think of this little chit who was standing up to him.

Margaret stands up for what she thinks is right ~~ class doesn’t seem to factor into her decision making at all. I love how she can befriend the master’s family (John) and then spend her days in the home of the workers and be perfectly at home in either setting. I absolutely loved her friendship with Bessie Higgins, and through that the entire Higgins family. I have a bit of a crush on Nicholas Higgins as well. I really enjoyed his character and the fact that he always seems drawn to take care of everybody…whether it’s through organizing a union, or taking in the 6 orphaned children he feels a responsibility for after their parents kill themselves. He was an amazing character.

Going back to John again. How glad I was to see I had misjudged him. At first, I thought he was the harsh master, overseeing his cotton mill with no thoughts as to his workers are the environment around him. How wrong I was. I loved seeing the different layers of this character. Yes, at first, he does seem to be hardened ~~ I mean, he beating a man… Really beating him ~~ over the top beating him. But we later learn why, and the emotions behind the beating. Yes, he cares for his workers. Then we see him at the Hale residence, where he has become a private pupil of Mr. Hale’s (Margaret’s father). He values education ~~ another layer to Mr. Thornton. Then, there’s the quiet, watchful way he looks over Margaret Hale (and the hesitant way Margaret watches over John). That’s enough to make the knees go weak.

John and Margaret’s friendship seemed to be one that neither had control over. Margaret didn’t even like John, but that didn’t stop them from growing closer. At their first meeting in the Hale home, Margaret refused to shake his hand ~~ but, later when they met at a social setting, she offered her hand to him and the handshake lingered quite longer than what was proper at that time. (Yes, that was a sigh you heard).

Now, when John asked for Margaret’s hand in marriage it did remind me a lot of the same scene in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to marry him ~~ almost to the letter. John admits his love, Margaret rejects him and questions how he would have ever thought she would have him. She certainly had never intended for him to think that she felt more than an extreme dislike for him.

When circumstances cause Margaret to leave Milton and she goes to say goodbye to John Thornton and his family ~~ when he watches her carriage drive off and he keeps saying “Look back” it’s heartbreaking. He still loves her.

The end of the movie had me smiling for hours. Although the whole series was incredible, the train scene made is all worthwhile. I loved, loved, loved it. And John (er, Richard) has the most amazing smile. Whoulda thunk it? When he grabs her hand, then she holds onto his and then kisses it, then he leans in to kiss her ~ awww, right there. That’s why you should watch. To see everything come together so beautifully. It is just amazing. Beautiful. Excellent.

Thanks so much to Kristie, Sula, and Katiebabs for gushing about this movie. If they hadn’t, I would have missed it. And that would have been a shame. I loved every minute of it.

26 thoughts on “North and South, Part 2

  1. Happy Dance, Happy Dance! I’m so smiling at your gushing!! Isn’t it everything we said it was??? I too loved the character of Higgins and the friendship between Margaret and Bessie. I could so go on and on. And what about that scene where he’s standing there watching the carriage drive away and saying “look back, look back at me”. Didn’t you heart just about break for him? And the part where he says ‘it was her brother” And the way he’s looking at her in the train station scene – as if he’s not really hearing what she’s saying – he’s just so crazily happy to be with her again. I can just go on and on about this (and it seems I am *g*). The scenery, the music, the casting. I’m so glad we go you curious and interested enough to see if for yourself. Your happiness is our happiness 😉

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  2. Kristie ~ I could go on and on (and on) about it. I loved Higgins ~ and his friendship with Thornton later on in the movie. I liked Henry too, although he was never right for Margaret. He’s a little too uptight. Mr. Bell ~ loved him too. Everything was magnificent. I’m going to watch it again today because I’m sure there’s stuff I missed the first time around.

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  3. Oh there is. One thing I really noticed on second viewing is how Thornton covers his mouth when upset. Or how awful it would be to have his mother as a mother in law 🙂 Or how weak her parents are or tons and tons of things 🙂

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  4. Dev, you love all the scenes I do 🙂I love the cotton in the air scene where Margaret first sees John. sigh….Train scene will go down in history as one of the most romantic closing scenes in a movie ever!

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  5. Kristie ~ I’ll keep my eyes out for that 🙂 And yes, definitely one of the best kisses! Swoon-worthy, to be sure.Katiebabs ~ I think the train scene as got to be one of my favorites of any movie, ever. I could watch it over and over again.

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  6. yayyyyy!!!! *joins in happy dance*I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as we did. And do. And will continue to do. lol.All of the scenes you mentioned are awesome. I also love the bits between Thornton and the little boy that Higgins adopts. So cute! Dontcha just love his voice and accent? So rough and sexy and un-polished. mmm. “I want to marry you because I love you!” I should put that on repeat. *g*The train scene is so achingly beautiful and I can’t watch it without getting a lump in my throat. I feel like so often in period films we get to see the long drawn-out courtship but we don’t get the payoff at the end due to bein’ all historically accurate and behind closed doors and whatnot. Which is fine and dandy, but oh my word…that kiss! The looks in their eyes. His smile!!! His naked neck!! lol. Ok, I need to shut up now and go study for finals. hehe.Budapest or bust!

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  7. *sigh* It’s like one big N&S love fest. Must join in! The part that takes my breath away–asiede from the kissing and the aching “look back at me”–is when she says “I’ve seen Hell, and it’s white. Snow white.” The music swells and he strides right through the mill, strong, hot, in charge–but so damn alone. Goose bumps! Every time!! I think the director took one look at RA’s stern profile and decided to use it whenever he could. And what I loved about it upon repeated viewings was John’s relationship with Higgins and with his mother. There’s serious depth to his caring and the weight of his responsibility, giving us a glimpse of him that Margaret doesn’t realize until much later. Damn, I could talk about this all day. Must go work now (hoping my hero is 1/10 of what Thornton is to me)!

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  8. Sula ~ I just watched it again. **Sigh** Now, I’m smiling like a fool. I could watch this over and over again.Carrie ~ That’s exactly the part I was talking about at the end of the first episode. It’s fantastic.

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  9. Great post. And comments. I loved Nicholas Higgins. The strentgh and the similarities between him and Thornton. It was like maybe he was who John would have been if he hadn’t become so successful.Whoever mentioned the accent, oh man I loved it. It was a contrast with the fancy clothes, and just a reminder that John wasn’t like the other men she had known. And what a sexy voice!

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  10. Devon ~ I admit, I’m crushing on Nicholas Higgins also. I really loved him.I’m not sure who mentioned the accent, but I agree with you. The voice definitely gets me. I’m almost finished watching it again and will probably have another love fest this weekend.

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  11. me, me! *jumps up and waves hand* I mentioned the accent. lol. Because it’s so frickin’ sexy. He’s all polished on the outside, but the voice and the accent betray his roots. He’s no London dandy speaking polished refined Oxbridgian (is that a word?) English. I think the way his accent becomes even more pronounced when he’s agitated (exhibit A, failed proposal scene) is so raw and primal. Ok, how am I supposed to get any work done today…my mind is completely on North and South now. lmao!

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  12. Wena ~ You won’t be disappointed. I’ve watched it 3 times now in less than a week. Considering it’s 4 hours long and I work full-time plus, that’s saying something 🙂

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  13. Dev, had I read your blog I would have known you are among the growing list of North & South fans. I’m glad you ordered it because it so easy to watch over and over again. Oh, and I so with you on the Billy Idol thing.

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