Northanger Abbey: a review

If you are male, or a female who doesn't like Jane Austen (do those exist?) you should stop reading because this will be very boring to you. It might be very boring to those of you who do like her but that is a risk you can decide for yourself whether to take or not.

Anyway, on to the review. Northanger Abbey is actually one of the (or maybe the only) Jane Austen book I have not read so I can't really say how well the movie followed the story but I can say that I like it. It probably was not as good as the book but now I want to read the book so I’ll know for sure later. It was pretty obvious that it was her first book because it was much simpler than her later works with less characters, simpler plot, etc. I actually liked that because it gave the characters a chance to develop in the short 90 minutes they had. And Austen's characters are really the best part of the books, imho. I adored Catherine, especially since even though she was young and naive to begin with, she was able to learn and develop without being hit over the head by the lesson unlike others (cough, cough, Marianne, cough…sorry, but she gets on my nerves sometimes, and yes, I know she isn’t a real person).

Other, more trivial but still important, aspects of this movie I liked:

1) Costumes were very well done. Here is an article all about the bonnets in the movie. The movie did have exceptionally nice bonnets.

2) Characters were not ugly. Nothing is worse than a homely actress who is supposed to be playing a pretty young girl whom all the gentleman adore. Except perhaps an ugly actor playing the love interest, see here (but before you click on that link, promise me you will not judge me by my former Xanga). Or when the initial love interest that turns out to be a scoundrel is hot but the new love interest is not. Tragic. But nope, in this movie, Catherine was quite pretty and Henry Tillney (aka – good guy) was cute, even with the elf feature, while John Thopre (aka – bad guy) is, well, ...not. In fact, he reminds me of Jemaine from FOTC , although I'm not quite sure why. Weird.

3) I could understand what they were saying. In some of the older versions, they seem to try too hard with the accents, leaving me unable to interpret the dialogue, which is really quite frustrating.

In short (or long), I hope that the other productions that I haven’t seen but will be watching in the upcoming weeks will be as good.


  1. I agree that ugly actors can be a problem. I thought that was the biggest advantage the Keira Knightley Pride & Prejudice had over Colin Firth Pride & Prejudice (I'm sorry, but in the Colin Firth one, Jane looks like a dude A pretty dude, but a dude).

    Question: have you read Persuasion? Did you like it? (I ask because I didn't so much.)

  2. On an (almost) unrelated note: thanks for introducing me to Flight of the Conchords. They have changed my life, and have brought great mirth to every human being with internet access that I have encountered since then (with the exception of one couple, who I was pretty sure we weren't going to hang out with again before I gave them the FOTC test, which they failed miserably by not laughing AT ALL.)

    I can't comment on the Jane Austen topic because I didn't much care for any of her books when I tried to read them, but I did love Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley.

  3. Ha, I can't comment on this thread too much because I am a guy, and we are not allowed to like Jane Austin books and movies. But I laugh because he reminded me of the guy from Flight of the Conchords also--in fact, it bothered me a bit while watching the movie last night. Oh wait, while mom watched the movie last night...

  4. Rachel - With her "other novels" (my way of refering to all but Emma, S&S and P&P) I often get confused about which is which but I do believe I started Persuasion but half way through watched the movie so didn't ever finish the book. I don't remember NOT liking it but since I didn't finish it, I obviously wasn't enamored either. But I tend to give her the benefit of the doubt, thinking it would have been improved with editing had she not died.

    Tina - haha, I have never though of using them as a couple test but maybe I should start. I have also made a huge fan outta my mom, which I guess means her and I can still talk.

    Dad - sure, mom made you watch it.

  5. The similarity between John and Jemaine . . . it's the lips, check out those lips! LOL

  6. Northanger Abbey was a pretty good adaptation compared to the book, much better than the previous week (Persuasion) which was just awful. The only significant change in this adaptation was making the gothic novel that Catherine reads "The Monk" which is much more scandalous than Udolpho.

    The bodice-ripping segments of this adaptation were a bit over the top but I really enjoyed the actors for Catherine and Tilney. They actually seemed likeable.

    (By the way, I found your blog through WFMW. I stuck around because of your Fred 08 button. My husband and I were Fredheads and aren't sure who we want to support now, if anyone.)

  7. Yeah, Fred's departure is sad. I think Mitt will end up being our best option, at least by Feb. 5, when I get to vote.