Friday, June 10, 2011

Under The Greenwood Tree: A Movie Review

Here I am with another lovely TV movie review. (promise to do a theatre one soon) I just ought to get all of these out here.
I won't admit, I'm a sucker for sentimental period movies. This one takes the cake for me.
I love this movie. It's an adaptation of a Hardy novel, but never fear, there is not one ounce of depression in this sunny film. It's sweet, romantic, and fun to watch on a rainy day.
This movie tells the tale of a young woman named Fancy Day, who moves to the rustic village of Mellstock, to take care of her ailing father and run the village schoolhouse. She was raised away from home, so she is obviously the most fashionable and intelligent woman of the tiny hamlet. Still, she is a bit confused and occasionally unassertive, unsure about her new position in the the hamlet. She immediately catches the eye of three men. Mr. Shiner, the richest man in town, who is old and crass but promises a future for Fancy, Parson Maybold, the snobby, but well-meaning parson of the town who disrespects his parishioners, but is closer to her age and taste. The last is Dick Dewey, the son of a carrier in the hamlet, who is handsome and young, but poor, promising no future for Fancy, but who he loves dearly.
Dick Dewey, handsome as ever.
Another plot thread is Parson Maybold's idea to replace the rustic church choir (who bring most of the laughs in this film) with Fancy playing a harmonium, causing them to resent her.
Basically, Fancy is fighting passionate feelings for Dick, her father wanting her to marry Mr. Shiner, and Parson Maybold's quiet advances. Obviously, she picks one of them in the end. I won't tell you who, but the ending is definitely satisfying.
This movie is very beautiful, with some great English scenery and old-timey hamlets. The performances, for the most part, are pretty good. Dick and Fancy's chemistry holds the whole thing together, creating great romantic tension and dialogue.
Eww! Mr. Shiner and Fancy Day
As usual, I'll give you my two cents of the production design, specifically the historical accuracy of the hole affair, costume-wise. For the most part, lower-class costumes dominate this film. They're very nice. Fancy wears the nicest dresses, with some fantastic ruched-front dresses, fitting for the 1940s date of this film. She wears some cute fichu and chemisettes, which made me happy because most period films skip the neck-coverings part, showing exposed bosoms *cough* BBC Pride and Prejudice *cough*. My only complain for her is her hair, which is is curled bangs. Really, it should be smoothed over the ears and tucked into the bun. Also, some cute bonnets for the ladies. The costumer chose the "coal scuttle style", which is definitely pretty flattering on Fancy.
This movie is great, and very cute. Enjoy it for what it's worth: a romantic, sentimental period piece about a quiet hamlet in England. :D

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