Where I Watched it: Netflix
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Narration Written By: Carrie Kennedy (?)
Narrated By: Marsha Bartenelli (?)
Things I know to be true. Typically, British romantic period pieces are not my jam. They fall into the section of films that walking in the door I’m not seemingly inclined to enjoy. If it’s great, then i will. I’m not saying I’ve never enjoyed a single damn thing in this arena. I watch Bridgerton just fine. But most of the stuff that ends up on Masterpiece bores the shit out of me. So, that’s one perspective coming from me. A guy. Reviewing a Jane Austen adaptation. Who has never read Jane Austen.
Maybe I’m not the right critic for this, or maybe we totally relate because you’re also a dude who doesn’t normally like this thing either, and you’re curious. I know Jane Austen fans are in a tizzy over the changes made, the modernization, breaking the fourth wall, and whatever else didn’t happen in the book. I know British folk will be annoyed that American Dakota Johnson was chosen for the lead. Like there are no British actresses who could have accomplished this. So everyone is hating on this for different reasons.
Truth is, I didn’t totally dislike this. Yes, I started to doze off, but because this is streaming, I paused the film, got up and made some coffee and came back. Yes, my favorite performances aren’t from the lead characters, but rather the supporting characters. Richard E Grant is hilarious playing the father to Johnson’s character. My favorite line was when he said he couldn’t stand the idea of someone else enjoying his shrubbery. And, I know that the character of Mary is apparently changed from the book, but the girl delivering her lines, and whoever wrote them, deserve an honorary Oscar. I wanted a movie with just her. Just her character. She was hilarious. Everything she said was so out of touch, so biting, so offensive, it was perfection. Again, Jane Austen fans are not pleased.
So will you enjoy this? i don’t know. It seems like probably not. Even I didn’t enjoy this for the right reasons. I know I was supposed to be caught up in the love triangle between Dakota Johnson, A Cardboard Box, and Henry Goulding, but it really wasn’t that interesting. Johnson was Ok with her fake accent and carrying a bunny around, but the supporting cast made this entertaining, and I’m not sure that was the point.
The Blind Perspective: This damn rabbit. I watched this film with a sighted person who let me know that this rabbit was in far more of the movie than was mentioned in the audio description, and now its driving me nuts. Because, the damn bunny doesn’t matter… AT ALL, but I still feel like I’m missing out somehow. Like, I should have been appraised of its whereabouts at all times, and I’m not even sure it had a name. She just carries this fucking rabbit around the whole movie, for no discernible reason. It’s not a plot point. It means nothing. But my knowing that the amount of screentime it got is disproportionate to how much it’s mentioned in the actual audio description has left me feeling left out. But yet, I totally agree it’s not important enough to include. So, I can’t explain it either.
Final Grade: When I went to grade this in my YouTube video, I found myself at a conundrum where a B minus felt too high, but a C plus felt too low. So I said it’s either a B “minus minus” or a C “plus plus”. Neither are real things, and I think I might be losing my mind.