In this section, I would love to bring attention to love stories that you may not have seen.
More will be added in the future
North and South
Set in the 1850s, Gaskell’s novel tells the story of Margaret Hale, a vicar’s daughter from the south of England, whose family moves to the northern industrial town of Milton. There she meets the owner of one of the largest local cotton mills, John Thornton. Used to the genteel society of the south, she struggles to adjust to the grime and poverty of the busy mill town at the heart of the Industrial Revolution. She clashes repeatedly with Thornton, critical of his manner of doing business and his treatment of his workers. But gradually they grow closer and come to understand each other. It’s a ‘social problem’ novel with a compelling love story at the heart of it.
An industrial novel by a lesser-known 19th century writer is an unlikely subject for a popular period drama and the BBC can be forgiven for having had modest ambitions for their adaptation.
But it was an unexpected success. Broadcast in four episodes on Sunday evenings in November and December 2004, it was watched by more than 6 million viewers – many of them women who fell in love with John Thornton, as portrayed by Richard Armitage.
Hundreds of them overwhelmed the BBC Drama message boards with messages about the drama and in particular, its hero. Soon the BBC had to set up a separate message board for North and South discussions. The phenomenon of so many women taking to an Internet message board for the first time because of their love for this programme became the subject of an article by Anne Ashworth in The Times. She wrote,
The BBC Drama website contains the outpourings of hundreds of thirty and fortysomething women for this year’s romantic hero. He is John Thornton, the northern millowner in Mrs Gaskell’s North & South, recently serialised on BBC One. Thornton was played smoulderingly by the previously little-known Richard Armitage as a blue-eyed, dark-haired
The Greatest Showman
Synopsis by Jack RodgersThis musical about the life of entrepreneur P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) depicts how he found fame and fortune by starting a circus in 1870s America. The Greatest Showman posits Barnum as the creator of modern show business, and a man who believed in celebrating those who were different instead of scorning them. Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, and Rebecca Ferguson co-star. Directed by Michael Gracey.
Anne Elliot fell deeply in love with the handsome young naval officer Frederick Wentworth at the age of nineteen. But with neither fortune nor rank to recommend him Anne was persuaded to break off her engagement. Eight years later Anne has lived to regret her decision. She never stopped loving Wentworth and when he returns from sea with a fortune and rank she can only watch as every eligible young woman in the district falls at his feet.
Our Mutual Friend
Perhaps because this is a Dickens novel, it has been overlooked as one of the great love stories. There are many twists and turns, but through it all, you see two independent love stories, their suitors and another suitor who will not be denied. Truly a romantic novel unexpected by Dickens, but has romance all through it.
One of several British miniseries adaptations of Charles Dickens‘ novel Our Mutual Friend, this four-part version debuted over the BBC in 1998. The production’s generous running time (total: six hours), enabled scenarist Sandy Welch to include virtually every important detail in this complex Victorian-era saga of how a mysterious waterfront death inextricably linked the lives of two young women, Lizzie Hexam (Keeley Hawes) and Bella Wilfer (Anna Friel). The richness of the Dickensian prose was complemented by the visuals, which incorporated everything from documentary-style handheld camerawork to Eisenstein-ish montages, and by the eerily polytonal musical score by Adrian Johnston.
This BBC miniseries brings the epic book to life, recounting the sweeping tale of two turbulent love affairs that play out amid a web of wealth, corruption, passion and betrayal in 1860s London. The ensemble cast includes David Morrissey (Hilary and Jackie) and Steven Mackintosh (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). Our Mutual Friend was Charles Dickens’s last completed novel before his death in 1870, and some say it was one of his greatest.
Also starring: Paul McGann
Falling for a Dancer
Set in 1930s Cork, nineteen-year-old Elizabeth has a brief fling with a young actor and dancer and becomes pregnant. With no chance of finding the father, and trying to avoid entering the Magdalene Laundries, she chooses to marry an older man who she first meets on her wedding day and moves to her new life in West Cork. The series follows Elizabeth through this marriage and her new life on a farm in West Cork. It is here Elizabeth has her baby but her choice of marriage has its darker side; resentment from her step children, moments of tragedy and a longing for young love and passion that she does not get from her husband, Neeley.
An outstanding performance by Liam Cunningham, the neighbor across the way, who falls in love with her from the first time he saw Elizabeth. You can feel the love that Liam (plays Mossie Sheehan) has, but feels unworthy to offer.
One of the greatest films for feeling the love. Also stars a young Colin Farrell as one of her secret admires.
Tristan and Isolde
One of the most dramatic love stories outside of Romeo and Juliet.
Set in Britain in the Dark Ages, just after the Romans ended their occupation, the barons are fighting among themselves much to the glee of Ireland’s King Donnchadh for it gives him power over Britain. But one of the English barons plan a treaty that will unite all the powerful English lords and thereby bring an end to Ireland’s power. But the Irish king foils their plan leaving the Lord of Aragon dead and his son orphaned. Fast-forward to nine years and we see Tristan of Aragon in the care of Lord Marke who raised Tristan like his own son. One day, after slaying the Irish warrior who killed his father, Tristan was badly injured and thought dead by his clan. Set adrift in the sea, fate takes his boat to the Irish coast where the beautiful Irish princess, Isolde, finds him and nurses him to recovery. Along the way, the couple falls in love only to be separated when almost discovered by Isolde’s father.
But it seems that fate hasn’t finished playing her joke on the star-crossed lovers. With the Irish king’s offer for a truce comes his daughter’s hand in marriage along with a large dowry. Now Tristan fights in a tournament on behalf of Lord Marke, unaware that the woman he fights for is the same one whom he fell in love with. And so begins the epic story of betrayal, passion and forbidden love. >>trailer
Synopsis by Jack RodgersAn SS captain (Jai Courtney) is assigned as the new head of security for Germany’s former ruler, Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer), who was exiled to the Netherlands after the defeat of World War I. However, the position is really a cover for his pursuit of a spy who is sabotaging the Nazi war effort. Lily James, Janet McTeer, and Eddie Marsan co-star. Directed by David Leveaux, The Exception was adapted from the novel The Kaiser’s Last Kiss by Alan Judd.
Don’t let the above synopsis fool you, it is a lovely romantic story.
Far From the Maddening Crowd 2015
Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.
A Room with a View 1985
Synopsis by Hal EricksonAdapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from the novel by E.M. Forster, A Room with a View is a shining example of Merchant-Ivory’s ability to achieve maximum quality and opulence at minimum cost. Set during the Edwardian Era, the film stars Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch, who like all proper young British ladies is compelled to tour Europe in the company of an older chaperone — in this instance, her spinster cousin Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith). While in Italy, the ladies make the acquaintance of a wide variety of personalities; the most fascinating of their fellow tourists — at least in Lucy’s eyes — is free-spirited George Emerson (Julian Sands). Aware that her cousin is becoming too familiar with Emerson, Charlotte demands that Lucy return to England posthaste. Lucy complacently settles for the tiresomely traditional courtship of nerdish Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis) — and then Mr. Emerson moves into the neighborhood. Lucy now finds herself on the horns of a dilemma: Should she opt for a safe, proper marriage to Cecil, or the bohemian unpredictability of the charismatic Emerson? A winner of three Academy Awards, A Room with a View is not what one could call fast-moving, but fans of the Merchant-Ivory team will enjoy luxuriating in the film’s leisurely pace and stimulating cast of characters
The Abduction Club 2002
Based on actual events that took place in Waterford, Ireland, in the late 1700s, director Stefan Schwartz’s romantic comedy-drama concerns itself with a group of abductors who kidnap usually willing young women in order to persuade them to wed. Set during an era where law dictates that the eldest sons inherit family estates and younger siblings are left to either enter the priesthood or the military, young noblemen decide to take matters into their own hands by abducting the young heiresses and charming them for a night before releasing them to make their ultimate decision. As Anne (Sophia Myles) is subjected to the uninvited advances of Power (Liam Cunningham), Abduction Club member Byrne (Daniel Lapaine) schemes to kidnap Anne’s older sister Catherine (Alice Evans). Though the kidnapping plan is foiled when Anne decides to tag along, Byrne’s friend Strang (Matthew Rhys) finds himself attracted to the younger sister despite Abduction Club rules stating that abductees must be at least 18 (Anne is 17) and that no more than one member of the same family is to be abducted at any given time. Strang is subsequently expelled by Abduction Club leader Sir Myles (Patrick Malahide), and the fledgling affections of the mismatched couple face a formidable challenge as the local militia is tipped off to their scheme. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Biography of playwright James Matthew Barrie, the scribe who penned the children’s classic Peter Pan. Johnny Depp stars as the turn-of-the-century writer as the film follows Barrie as he struggles to write and have his play produced while he cares for his down-on-their-luck neighbors who inspired the story in the first place. J.M. Barrie’s Neverland also stars Dustin Hoffman, Kate Winslet, and Julie Christie. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi
More to come