Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Doctor Thorne // movie review

I watched this movie for the second and third time just the other week so while the memory of it is still fresh in my mind, I thought I'd give you some of my thoughts on it. 

I realize this is the soundtrack case not the dvd case, but I liked
it so I decided to use it anyway.  :)
~The Story~

(Following summary taken from the back of the DVD)

Doctor Thorne lives a quiet life with niece Mary in Greshamsbury, home of the Gresham family.  Unbeknownst to others, the Greshams have lost their fortune and the snobbish matriarch Lady Arabella has a scheme to regain it via an arranged marriage with her son and an American heiress.  However, her son is in love with Mary, which complicates Lady Arabella's plans. 

(Poor Lady Arabelle.  <cough>  Not.  Actually, seeing her plans thwarted was an absolute delight and pleasure.  ;))

Doctor Thorne is based off of the novel by the same name written by Anthony Trollope, a contemporary of Charles Dickens.  I'd never actually heard of Anthony Trollope until my brother introduced me to the movie, but apparently he wrote an enormous amount of novels.  And apparently they're really good, too, because he is now a new favorite author of my brother and sister-in-law.  :) 

Anyway, about the movie.  I like this movie.  It doesn't come up to the standard of Pride and Prejudice and Emma of course (for one thing it really should have been longer), but there's a lot of excellent characters in it and the story itself is entertaining.  It has a bit of a comedic feel to it, some of the characters being more exaggerated and caricatured than in other period dramas, but there are definitely some serious and touching moments as well. 

The main plotline is centered around Mary and Frank's romance and Lady Arabella's attempts to keep them apart (as stated in the above synopsis).  Mary has known the Gresham family all her life and has practically been an adopted member of the family, which makes it all the worse when Lady Arabella suddenly turns against her because of her love for Frank.  It was all right for Mary to be a childhood playmate for the Gresham children, but to be the wife of the Greshams' only son?  Never. 

Despite the fact that Mary and Frank's romance takes center stage throughout the film, Doctor Thorne would really be considered the main character.  (Which is cool because how often do you have a middle-aged single man as the main character?  Am I right?)  I guess you could say that the story is sort of seen through Doctor Thorne's eyes, and as he's involved in all the characters lives he naturally becomes involved in all their secrets and intrigues. 
There's much more to story than what I'm mentioning here, but I don't think it's quite the thing to tell the entire story in one's review so...I'll refrain. 
~The Characters~   

Mary Thorne

I like Mary, though I do think her character could have been a bit more fleshed out.  She's very sweet and very kind (which is how she's supposed to be of course), but sometimes her reactions to things seemed a bit cold to me (like her response to a certain gentleman's death for instance?).  Perhaps though that's simply in keeping with her character and personality, as she does seem to be the sort of person who stuffs her feelings in an attempt to be strong for everyone else.   (Still, I would have liked to see a bit more emotion from her all the same.)
Frank Gresham

Oh!  I love Frank.  He's just cool.  The first time I watched the movie I admit I thought of him as more of a one-dimensional Mr. Nice Guy, but on a second viewing I discovered a lot more depth to his character.  He's actually quite funny.  And I love how doesn't care a fig about money.  He wants to marry Mary.  So she's poor.  So what?  <spoilers> And even when he discovers she's a rich heiress it makes no difference to him whatsoever.  He doesn't get awkward and start the whole "now I'm not worthy of you because you're richer than me" thing.  No indeed.  <end spoilers>  He loves her and if she'll have him he'll marry her.  It's as simple as that. 
Augusta Gresham
I didn't care for Augusta at first.  For one thing, she's a tattler and sides with her mother against Frank and Mary.  But as the movie goes on I do start to feel for her somewhat and to root for her.  And yeah, they definitely could have had a more satisfactory ending for her in my opinion.
Beatrice Gresham 
She's the nice sister.  She stands up for Frank and Mary from the first and doesn't seem to be overly concerned about the family's position or whether they're able to save the estate or not.  
Lady Arabella Gresham
Everybody's favorite person.  (Not.)  She's a very strong-willed woman with a  very high opinion of herself and her family's position.  Which is why it's so hard for her to come to terms with the fact that they owe practically the entire value of their estate to the neighboring baronet, Sir Roger Scatcherd, who could call in the debt at just about any moment and take over their home without a second thought.  That is why Frank must "marry money".  It's essential to the well-being of the family.  And Lady Arabella will not rest until she sees that mission fulfilled.  (Poor Frank.)
Francis Gresham
Squire of Greshamsbury.  Father to Frank, Augusta and Beatrice.  Husband to <gulp> Lady Arabella.  (Such a happy couple they are.)  (Yes, that was sarcasm.)  Mr. Gresham has unfortunately spent his money recklessly and foolishly over the years and is therefore much to blame in the family's present uncomfortable circumstances.  He's a kind hearted gentleman though.  And a good friend of Doctor Thorne's.  He feels badly about his wife's treatment of Mary but doesn't have the gumption to stand up to her, especially as their ill-fortune is the root of the problem, and that was mostly his fault.
Countess de Courcy
(That other lady we all love so much.  Ha.)  She's married to Lady Arabella's brother, the Earl de Courcy, and has made it her mission to help Lady Arabella in saving the Gresham family from ruin.  In other words she's picked a wife for Frank and she's going to keep at him until he "does his duty."  Some of the scenes with her are actually quite funny because she treats Frank like a little boy that must be guided in his every move and Frank, finding it hard to be patient with her, can't keep the sarcasm out of his voice much of the time.
Earl de Courcy
(Sorry.  Couldn't find a very good picture of him.)  Anyway, this is the Earl de Courcy, husband to the Countess de Courcy, brother to Lady Arabella, and...that's about it.  There's not much more to know about him really.
Lord Porlock
Son of the Count and Countess de Courcy.  Cousin to Frank.  Admirer of Miss Dunstable (who I haven't mentioned yet), and yeah, I think that pretty much covers it.  I haven't much of an opinion on him because there isn't much to have an opinion on.  (But pray, what kind of a name is Porlock?!  Sounds like "potluck" or "pork chop" or "poor luck" or something.)  (Did you have poor luck finding a pork chop at the potluck my good Porlock?  Mwahaha!  I'm so funny today.  ;P)
Lady Alexandrina
Daughter of the Count and Countess de Courcy, and *shivers*...just as bad as her mother.  Such an annoying person.  Let's not even talk about her.
Mr. Moffatt
Augusta Gresham's rich fiancé.  (Temporarily at least.)  (Ooops.  That was a spoiler, wasn't it?)  Anyway, he's a "thorough-paced reformer".  (A "thorough-paced reformer.")  A horrible public speaker.  And I don't know.  I don't really care about him that much, but I do feel sorry for him when he steps up to make his speech.  *gulp*  Poor man.  That was so incredibly awkward.
Miss Dunstable
A rich American heiress and Aunt de Courcy's chosen bride for Frank Gresham.  She's great though.  She jokes about her lovers and all the proposals she's expecting to get and then comes right out and tells Frank to admit it, it's not her beauty but her dollars that is so attractive to men.  She's very down-to-earth and refreshing, and she and Frank actually become friends.  But oh! poor Aunt de Courcy.  She sees them talking and laughing together and is sure everything is going according to plan.  How was she to know that Frank was telling Miss Dunstable all about Mary and Miss Dunstable actually encouraging him not to give her up?  To come so close and to fail so dismally.  Sorry, Aunt de Courcy.
Sir Roger Scatcherd
He's a complicated character.  Rough and prideful and not much caring of other people's feelings.  He drinks too much and is harsh and rude to his wife; and yet now and then you do see some glimmerings of a kind heart underneath.  There's a lot more to his story but I'm not sure how much to say for fear of spoilers.  I don't mind spoilers myself but some people seem to think they ought not to be revealed.  So.  We move on.
Louis Scatcherd
A charming fellow.  (Okay, maybe not.)  He likes to think he's charming but I'm afraid he does very little to prove it.  Sadly he takes after his father in the matter of drink and being rude to his mother, and for most of the movie he makes you very nervous because you're not sure what horrible thing he's going to do.  Naturally he decides he wants to marry Mary, and (naturally again) she doesn't share is enthusiasm.  So he's mad.  And jealous of Frank.  And all that.  And we just wish he could go jump down a well, right?  Uh, yeah.  That is until you start to realize that he really did have a lot stacked against him growing up with a father like Sir Roger.  And then when his last scene comes...but, 'hem, no spoilers.  All that to say I was totally feeling sorry for him by the end and I wish things could have been different for him.
Lady Scatcherd
Such a sweet, adorable person.  She has a hard time of it, considering the men in her life, but she's a sweet soul.  And what's really cool about her is that she loves her husband and son very much despite their ill treatment of her.
Doctor Thorne
Last, but certainly not least!  Doctor Thorne.  Ohhhhh!  He's the best!  Literally my favorite character in the whole movie.  (Well he is the hero after all.)  He's such a wonderful person.   So calm and reasonable and considerate.  And yet at the same time, he's not perfect.  He does get angry and he's not entirely immune to holding grudges--for a time at least.  But then he's so forgiving too.  His friendship with Sir Roger is a huge example of that.  <spoilers> Because Sir Roger killed Doctor Thorne's brother, but Doctor Thorne is reasonable enough to look at the case from all angles, to concede that Sir Roger didn't mean to do it, and to look past it and see the good in Sir Roger despite everything.  That's just really amazing to me.  And I love that about Doctor Throne. <end spoilers>  He's very tender-hearted and considerate of other people's feelings.  When Louis Scatcherd tells of his plans to make Mary his wife, Doctor Thorne doesn't douse him right off the bat, he merely cautions him to take his time and not rush into anything.  (Even though we all know that the doctor would never want Mary to marry Sir Louis.)  He let's things take their course and gives advice only when he thinks it's absolutely necessary. 

Well, I guess that covers just about all the characters.  I hope that proved somewhat interesting.  And now I find I haven't much else to say so I'll draw this post to a close.  I highly recommend this movie if you're looking for a new, fun period drama to watch.  And if you're one of those people who watches movies more for the costumes than for the story itself well, here's a few pictures to get you interested.  :)
I'd say there's some pretty dresses in there, wouldn't you? 
Caution: On the subject of dresses, there are a few with very low necklines.  Just wanted to make you aware of that in case that's something you're uncomfortable with.  (Of course if you watch movies like Pride and Prejudice and Amazing Grace I think I can safely say this one would be okay, too.  :))
A final picture of Mary and Doctor Thorne because it seems fitting to end on them.

 And now, have you seen this movie?
What did you think of it?
Do you have any good suggestions of other period dramas I should see?


  1. This looks such a beautiful movie! Fantastic review and I love your blog, need to keeping reading for more film recommendations haha :D following you on GFC! xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
    (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

  2. Replies
    1. Oh, I hope you can sometime! I think you would like it. :D

  3. AAAHHH!!!! My mom and I just watched Doctor Thorne. We were excited because Julian Fellowes made it, and he's the amazing mastermind behind Downton Abbey. I liked it, but it wasn't my favorite period drama.... It kinda felt like a let down to me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much and will have to check out more of Trollope's works!

    Micaiah @ Notebooks and Novels

    1. Oh, I know what you mean. It wasn't my favorite either and the first time I watched it--though I enjoyed it very much--I still came away feeling like it was too short and that the characters weren't as well developed as they could have been. I think it's grown on me with a second and third viewing though. :)

      I take it you're a fan of Downton Abbey. :) How did you like the ending of it? I thought the ending was really good. There was a lot I didn't like in the show, but the ending sort of made up for most of it in my mind. :D

  4. "Oh, okay, another period drama: [ex]rich boy loves poor girl, but family needs him to marry an heiress for the whole family's sake; fortunately the poor girl turns out to also be an heiress! Celebrations all round, except for the bitter women in the [ex]rich boy's life!"

    *reads review section on Miss Dunstable*

    The family's chosen heiress. Is nice. The family's chosen heiress. MAKES FRIENDS WITH THE GUY AND TELLS HIM TO MARRY THE GIRL HE ACTUALLY LOVES. What is this.

    Okay. You got me. ;P (Plus the costumes are pretty cool...) I'll have to see if I can get my hands on it. ;)
    Jem Jones

    1. Haha. I know! It's so typical isn't it? Sometime I'd really like to find a story where the "[ex]rich boy" actually goes ahead and marries the girl when she's poor, and where there is no surprise fortune at the end. Because you're telling a story about a man and woman who value love over money, why can't we see them actually living it out? That would just be cool. :)

      I KNOW RIGHT?!! How often do you see that? Definitely a refreshing twist to the story, in my opinion. :D

      I will say it is a pretty predictable, straightforward, typical sort of romance, so don't except to be surprised by anything that happens. ;) It's a fun watch though so you may enjoy it even though it's nothing crazy exciting. And like I said, I liked it even better the second and third time.

      Thank you so much for your comment, Jem!! Have a marvelous week! :)

      ~Miss March

  5. AND YOU SAY YOU CAN'T WRITE MOVIE REVIEWS. Miss March, this was great!!! I've never heard much about this, but now I REALLY want to watch this. :D (Of course, even if you just said, "This is a good movie. Watch it." I'd want to, because you're my friend and I trust your judgment. ;) But still. It was a very good review!)

    Hahaha the Porluck-Pork Chop-Potluck thing made me laugh. ;D

    *I* didn't read any spoilers. :P Aren't you proud of me?

    I'm off to see if I can request this from the library. :)

    1. Okay, so maybe I'm not always right then. Haha. ;) No but seriously, I really didn't think I could write reviews, but then this one just sort of came together. Don't ask me how. I'm so glad you liked it!! :D And you should definitely watch the movie sometime if you can find it, because I think you would enjoy it. (Awww, "because I'm your friend and you trust my judgment?!" That's so sweet!! <3 <3)


      Oh! Well hurrah for you! ;) But dear me. *slaps forehead* Don't you know that "spoilers" means "READ THIS"? Really, Natalie. After all our years of friendship have I taught you nothing??! Hahaha. ;P

  6. Just to clarify... the girl marries the young dude, right??? Because I was so confused by all the pictures of her opposite the old man????

    Also... is the older guy played by Tom Hollander?????

    1. Of course, Kate! Really now. Didn't you read this? The old man is her uncle. I'm sure I mentioned that. Haha. (I'm teasing you. No offense. ;)) But yes, you are absolutely right. She marries the young guy. And all is love and happiness! :) (That sounds like it should be a quote, but it's not.)

      He is! And I still can't get over the fact that he's Mr. Collins in that--coughcough--movie-whose-name-I-will-not-mention. Haha. (He was much better in this movie. ;))

    2. I reread it and the only place it says that is the summary in italics in the beginning, which I skipped because it wasn't written by YOU. (Now isn't THAT flattering??) Tease away, my dear!!! :))) I guess that last picture had me wondering. Don't ask me why. Sometimes there ARE awkward age gaps in these movies - Sense and Sensibility, for example???

      EWWWWWW!!! I will never be able to like Doctor Thorne now!!!

    3. REALLY? Oh dear. That wasn't very well done, was it? I shall have to make a note of that for future reviews. No wonder you were confused if I only mentioned their relationship once!

      You skipped it because it wasn't written by ME? Awww!! That is indeed most flattering! What a sweet thing to say. (Ahem. Yes. But I suspect that is really just a clever, sugar-coated excuse. Because really, Kate! You shouldn't be skipping ANYTHING in my posts!! Not a word, not a letter. And the synopsis really was important and you should have known that! Haha.) Yup. Very true. And Sense and Sensibility is a good example. :)

      No, no!! YOU WILL! Because he is so totally different from Mr. Collins! They're hardly even comparable. :)

    4. Entirely my fault!! I'm a terrible skipper/skimmer of things I think will be boring or repetitive. (Never your actual posts, though.)


    5. Haha. Really, Kate, that's quite all right! And don't feel bad if you do ever skim my actual posts either. Because that's a perfectly legitimate and necessary thing to do sometimes, especially when you're running short on time (which is something that can happen even to the best of us, you know. ;))