North & South (TV Mini-Series 2004) Poster

(2004)

User Reviews

Review this title
102 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
10/10
Gorgeous adaptation
quilttn20 August 2005
I'm a history teacher so I'm very critical of adaptations, especially those that sentimentalize the past in any way. This is a superb rendering of the spirit of the industrial age and the many facets of class struggle within it. It's also a richly romantic love story. The acting by all the cast is uniformly excellent but Richard Armitage as Thornton is a stand-out. The BBC is well-known for their meticulous attention to detail with locations and costumes. The working 19C mills used in the film are like watching a Jacob Riis photograph springing to life. The cinematography is gorgeous and the music is outstanding. This is the best historic fiction on screen I've ever seen.
161 out of 168 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Unexpected Treat
parthenos6920 July 2005
North and South took me completely by surprise when it was aired on BBC America. I was flipping through channels and thought I was going to be tuning into the American version based on the John Jakes novels. But Elizabeth Gaskell's work on which the film is based is far more than a mere period romance. This is social commentary and a love story, the struggle of workers and masters/managers as well as the misunderstanding of the intellectuals that forms a triangle in the film that is still alive today. The lead characters all take on a social conscience that grows with their love for each other to an understanding of the different worlds that lived together in this time of radical change. But the true success of the film lies in the actors abilities to show the true emotion and change that takes place around them and in them during the course of the tale. It is unfortunate that the BBCA chose to cut out so much of the film and hopefully the DVD will be available soon for US viewers to force others into watching. A true diamond being lost in the rough. Do yourselves a favor and sit back and enjoy the excellent acting and story, then sit back and watch it again and take note of all the layers of social history being shown. Or just to watch Richard Armitage ;), sooooo good!
131 out of 137 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Brilliant - great Sunday evening entertainment!!
sarah16028 December 2004
Just what you need for a cold winter Sunday night! It's nice to have something to really get into, but the 4 weeks it was on went way too fast! The sets, costumes and acting were excellent, especially Richard Armitage's performance as mill owner John Thornton. He's got a brilliant deep, brooding sort of look about him, but with a softer, kind side too that is gradually revealed as the story goes on. The way Richard Armitage portrayed these two sides of Thornton's character was amazing. And as well as being a great actor, he's also very, very good looking! Nice smile (though we don't see it very often - so it's lucky he looks good when being moody/troubled!!)and a lovely voice. (sounds a bit like Sean Bean as a matter of fact!) Oh I'm going to miss this series! But honestly, not just because of Mr Thornton; it really was a gripping story and a great drama. The music was brilliant too, really capturing the mood and feel of the dark, industrial setting.
122 out of 130 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Hollywood NEEDS Richard Armitage
bufferuskers26 July 2005
I hope there are high profile producers and directors who will seek out a DVD of North and South to see the outstanding performance of Richard Armitage. His charisma and talent are FAR, FAR BEYOND anything hyped up in Hollywood in recent years (he makes Jude Law, just to take one example, look like a grade school amateur).

This amazing performance should not be missed. I wish I had the means and knowledge to send copies of the DVD to all of the big independent producers, the studios, and directors.

This guy has "it" - talent, stature, intelligence, charisma. Anyone serious about acting should not miss Richard Armitage's performance.
178 out of 197 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Social relevance for today
jhsteel14 December 2004
Elizabeth Gaskell may have invented the concept of the North/South divide in British society - some commentators think so. The adaptation of her novel makes it clear that although the North is viewed as a scary place for young Margaret Hale as she is forced to move there, she eventually falls in love with the working people she meets and with a mill owner, John Thornton, played movingly by Richard Armitage. I hope that people will find the social message of Gaskell's story relevant for today even though many viewers will be caught up in the central love story. The story deals with the infancy of the trade union movement and for those of us who had ancestors in the cotton industry, is very important in its portrayal of the dangerous working conditions. Reading the book is well worth the effort because it provides more insight in to the motivations of the characters and explains why they eventually grow to love each other. This is a very enjoyable TV drama and is worth repeating - hopefully the BBC will do so!
73 out of 79 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
simply excellent
wynne11 December 2005
Excellent rendition of Elizabeth Gaskells book.

The production is authentic - set in an impressive, historic working mill - with Edinburgh filling in for Manchester (Milton). The camera work is fluid and modern, and the story is told easily, not stilted, like some period dramas.

The acting is superb - the lead characters John and Hannah Thornton, Margaret Hale, and union man Nicholas Higgins are so natural that you forget that you are watching a movie, and get simply enthralled in their story. The supporting characters are also strong making this an unexpected gem of a movie.

Some of the dialog is taken directly from the book; some scenes are new but feel authentic. Overall I think that the story is very well told - the story of owner vs. worker in the industrial revolution - as well as an unexpected romance between social classes.
48 out of 51 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Top Twelve Reasons North and South is a Ten
Danusha_Goska15 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Top Twelve Reasons "North and South" is a ten: PRODUCTION VALUES: Historic looms weave again. Lemon-yellow sunlight floods a garden's translucent petals and leaves. Made me cry. Gave me chills.

MARTIN PHIPPS' HYPNOTIC SCORE: reminiscent of Gorecki; minimalism that drills past the kapital-K-krap of the last hundred years of pop culture and reaches something as fundamental as the beat of a human heart, the lungs' breath. Honors both one of the most wrenchingly intimate on screen moments ever and yet also the sweep of the Industrial Revolution.

SINEAD CUSACK: breathtaking as a ruthless matriarch; better, even than Nancy Marchand as a Mafia queen in "The Sopranos." POSTURE: Never has so much drama been milked out of actors' vertebrae. Helen Hayes' czarina pose in "Anastasia" was good, but Sinead Cusack's carriage and Richard Armitage's spinal column earn special Academy Awards.

PLOT TWISTS: I did not know where this one was going until the very last moment of the very last scene. Twists pulled me into the issues the plot engages, and made me engage them myself.

IT'S COMPLICATED: Leftist academics' pinko-tinged glasses depict the workers as beautiful and bosses as diabolical. But tycoon Andrew Carnegie, who brutalized his workers, was an epic philanthropist; workers scabbed, drank, and beat their kids. N&S depicts historical complications with its heroic/brutal workers/bosses. All characters are sometimes sympathetic, and sometimes utterly alienating - just like real life! A complex script works to earn our understanding, and our love, for complex human beings, the service, art, at its best, performs.

CHICK FLICK: "Fight, flight, or fix it" is a male response. Guy flix: explosions, chases, gadgets. "Tend and befriend" is a female response. We restore the world by ministering to its root: human hearts. N&S presents its heroine and its viewer with misunderstandings she must address; doing so, she matures, and we mature with her. Margaret's blossoming is an integral cog in a shock striking the world even today: the journey from tradition and pastoral beauty to sharp-elbow competition and industrial ugliness. Margaret's flailing culture shock and attempts to find, remain, and cultivate her best self under a rulebook she hasn't yet seen mirrors millions' struggle. Daniela Denby-Ashe limn's Margaret's triumph with honesty and grace. She's not afraid to be unlikeable; she's not even afraid to be noble.

MISOGYNY-FREE ZONE: We are so awash in misogyny, often fed by women themselves - who can forget the blow struck for women's dignity by celebrities who go out without their underthings? - that N&S is almost shocking in the respect it shows women. Margaret Hale has a front-row seat to one of the greatest upheavals in human history: industrialization. She takes on its rewards and woes. She makes decisions, engages with the powerful, grows and changes. And she does all this without once trivializing herself, or allowing anyone else to trivialize her. *And* she's accompanied by interesting women and girls, both rich and poor. That, alone, makes N&S worth more than a hundred critical darlings in which misogyny is an inescapable ingredient.

MORALITY. Christianity. HOPE. REMEMBER THOSE? Gaskell's book and this adaptation take on really hard challenges: workers v. capitalists, traditional rural life's poverty and its beauty v. laissez-faire capitalism's new opportunities, ugliness and anomie. N&S could have just exploited the Industrial Revolution as colorful backdrop; it didn't. N&S attempts to offer solutions and hope, based on fundamental Christian values like non-violence and sharing. Gee, what if the folks who had made the nihilistic downer film "Syriana," about our dependence on petroleum, had tried something similar? When the N&S boss and his workers sat down to a meal together, I cried cynicism-free tears. But . . . what WERE they eating? It looked like sludge. The redemption in the movie's key kiss is not just about eros, it's also about agape. And that made me cry. (Cried many times.)

BRENDAN COYLE AS NICHOLAS HIGGINS: Let's import Higgins, making sure he keeps that snazzy, puffy-sleeved shirt that displays his chest hair. He'd be a greater boost to the trade union movement than locating Jimmy Hoffa.

NOT A SINGLE WASTED CHARACTER, PERFORMANCE, OR SCENE: A bereaved husband converses with his late wife, as a maid looks on, her facial expression speaking volumes. A desperate man gazes at running water dyed purple. The most amazing scene of all, every bit as stunning as the famous crane shot in GWTW: a woman, her straw hat and bumpkin gait rendering her an agrarian silhouette in an industrial landscape, drawn by a seductive, menacing, thrum, walks up to a large wooden door, pulls it back, and steps into the Industrial Revolution. "I have seen hell, and it is white, snow white." Mebbe so. But that scene is cinematic heaven-on-earth.

RICHARD ARMITAGE: I don't even want to go there. Let's just say that I've just purchased the latest ticket to his crowded harem of adoring fans, and this: even if I had watched N&S with the sound turned off; Armitage's performance was so exquisitely articulate I could have transcribed pages of dialogue and backstory just from studying his face. But if I watched with the sound turned off, I would have missed the most arresting screen voice since Orson Welles, and the dreamiest since Ronald Coleman . . . Ladies, cave. Resistance is futile.
64 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
a great adaptation
minerva-1124 March 2005
With "North and South" the BBC has continued its fine tradition of producing great adaptations. Indeed "North and South" is one of the very best the BBC has done, capturing the nuances of the novel perfectly and bringing out the latent eroticism of the book. The only quibble is the way the screenwriter has changed the ending from that of the novel. Although this will irk some, I thought the new ending was in keeping with the story as a whole. The acting throughout is superb, especially from Richard Armitage as the brooding Mr Thornton - he captures exactly the character's pride, brutality, warmth and passion. I think Richard Armitage would be a very good James Bond.
56 out of 62 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Superb
cooperhmc30 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I am a English woman by birth - I have lived in NZ for five years and I absolutely love it here. However, the one big criticism I have is it takes SOOOOOO long to get the great British dramas here. This wonderful adaptation of a book that I lovingly studied at University, has yet to be aired here on terrestrial television and, knowing the standard of TV we get here, I doubt it will air...the best I can hope for is the SKY Channel UK TV. No sign of it yet.... Still, I saw the DVD in my local library and hired it for a dollar for the week ( thats 33p to you UK dwellers - not bad huh?!) And so that is how I come to be writing these comments.

It was the best dollar I have ever spent! I thought it very brave subject matter for the BBC to attempt as Mrs Gaskell does not enjoy the fame that Austen or the Bronte sisters names carry. In fact, to most, if you mentioned " North and South" before this wonderful production aired in the UK, they would probably think you were talking about a 1980's American Civil War drama with Kirstie Alley and Patrick Swayze!!! I have read a lot of the comments on here and there seems to be a general consensus that Richard Armitage rocks! I won't disagree. As a part time actor myself, I am critical when I watch dramas - If I see an actor playing the part and not the actual character, I lose belief. Perhaps it helped that I had not seen him before but, somehow, I feel that, even if I had, I would still have been totally ,mesmerised by his performance. Never has a character ever drawn me in so completely - not even when I read the book. In fact, I recall not liking him much at all when I first read it. However, Armitage played the role beautifully. As the episodes unfolded, we saw the layers start to peel away and, beneath the harsh exterior, a sensitive and painfully lonely man appear. Armitage was not merely acting the part - he BECAME John Thornton. He has a truly special quality that you don't often see in actors and he could say more in a look than ever any words needed. The scene where Margaret rides off in the carriage in the snow, leaving Milton, leaving Thornton watching her leave, yearning for her to show him a sign and look back, was one of the most beautifully shot scenes I have ever seen on the small screen. I have lost touch with the BAFTAS these past few years but that was a BAFTA worthy performance in that one scene if ever I saw one.

Onto the other actors. Dramas like these are ensemble pieces and succeed because of the power of the combined performances. I frowned when I saw Daniela Denby Ash for the first time in this production. Perhaps because we get a nightly dose of "My Family" here in NZ and I had the spoiled, bombastic, "Janey Harper" image in my head. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the restraint in her performance. It is so easy to be all heaving bosoms and fluttering eyes in these period dramas but she played the strong willed Margaret Hale to perfection and the chemistry between her and Armitage on screen was electrifying.

The amazing Sinead Cusack. I didn't like her accent at first I will admit, I thought it overdone but, the power of her performance as the protective mother soon made this pale into insignificance and I thought she played the role to perfection.

The wonderful Tim Piggott Smith. He is always good value and he conveyed all the goodness and gentleness of Mr Hale that I remembered from the book (and ironic that 30 years before, he played Frederick!). The scene where he is talking about one of his pupils to his newly deceased wife had tears in my eyes. As did the scene where he greeted his long lost son Frederick.

I LOVED Pauline Quirke as Dixon. She is a wonderful actress who I feel is really beginning to flourish and show just what a strong performer she is. She was utterly believable and her relationship with Mrs Hale was touching and evocative.

Finally, I would like to mention the wonderful Brendan Coyle - an actor who,in my opinion, has not enjoyed the recognition that he deserves. He totally captured the dignity of the working class man trying to improve life for his family and fellow workers and the despair when things spiral out of his control - the death of his beloved Bessie, the breaking of the strike by the desperate Boucher and the way that, despite all the suffering and the heartache, he sees beyond the barriers that Thornton throws up around him and puts out the hand of friendship and support. The scene where Thornton goes to Nicholas's house to ask him to come and work for him was wonderful. So touching to see two very proud men make such concessions. Beautifully played.

Finally, yeah, I know it was poetic license, but the scene at the rail station was the perfect climax to the piece. I had tingles down my spine just watching it ( and a few tears). If only life were that romantic! And I am sure there was not a red blooded woman watching that didn't wish a man would look at her with half the longing that Thornton looked at Margaret nor kiss her with half the passion that he kissed her with. Nobody does drama like the " Beeb " and, to me, this production rates above " Pride and Prejudice" and I would have Mr Thornton over Mr Darcy any day!!
31 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Great Stuff!
camillahopkin1 January 2005
I thought this production was great - I highly recommend it to anyone especially if they enjoyed Pride and Prejudice - It took you back to another era and was thoroughly entertaining. The actors were great and any red blooded woman would have had their pulses sent raising with Richard Armitage's performance!

I also thought the sets and locations were fabulous - such details especially the 'snow' scene in the factory at the very beginning- spell binding!. So all in all even though certain details of Victorian conduct etc were thrown out of the window this production was brilliant!! I can't wait for the DVD to come out... It was so great I immediately read the book
62 out of 70 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A diamond in the rough
eliza_gaskell8 January 2011
It's been a while since the BBC has given a outstanding period drama. I've seen North and South when it was first aired in Australia on the ABC TV, where there was very little promotion about it. And what a surprise it was. I brought it immediately once it was available on DVD in Australia.

I've just finished watching it (for the hundredth time) and is still stands the test of time. How on Earth did the BBC managed to get a near perfect cast for this production is simply miraculous and the lead actors were virtually unknown at the time! Elizabeth Gaskell works may not be well known, however Mrs Gaskell is to be given credit. She was one of the first to write how exactly the common man, at the time, spoke with imperfect English. She witnessed the decay and filth, breathed the smoke of industry and saw the poverty of the workers, when she lived in Manchester with her preacher husband; North and South, the novel, depicts all this.

This adaptation of Mrs Gaskell's North and South is faultless and the acting is sublime.Some lines and scenes are from the book, while others parts are adapted to suit the small screen and modern audiences. For example, Margaret in the book never went to the mill, where as she does in the TV mini series. Nevertheless it does follow the book closely, far closer than Mrs Gaskell's other novel turned into a mini series Cansford (2007).

Daniela Denby-Ashe is absolutely ideal as the beautiful, privileged and head strong Margaret Hale who is uprooted from her beloved Helstone to the industrial town of Milton by her father Mr Hale. It is in Milton where Margaret's middle class ideals are challenged and she slowly grows as a person of real character; along this journey she slows admires and eventually falls in love with the local mill owner John Thornton (a self made man who has successfully, raised his family and himself out of poverty, whom she considers to be socially inferior) . This challenging role allows Ms Denby-Ashe to stretch her acting abilities, develop her character and her portrayal as Margaret is simply stunning. There are scenes, combined with great lighting and the Victorian costume, where Daniela is gorgeously beautiful. What a contrast to see her in this, then the dumbing character of Janey in My Family.

Richard Armitage is John Thornton! He breathed life in to this character and gave him dimensions. Mr Armitage portrays him as man with many facets: flawed, ruthless, angry, intelligent but also with a honest and frank countenance. Cannot think of any other English actor to portray John Thornton as Richard Armitage has. Not many actors can pull off expressions that can convey a range of emotions with a look and not uttering a single word. His screen presence is charismatic and riveting, but well balanced, as to not overwhelm Ms Denby-Ashe presence on the small screen. Simply put, the man has TALENT! which puts to shames his contemporaries thespians in Hollywood.

And the chemistry between the two leading actors makes watching the end worthwhile. (Puritans would gasp in horror, but if you read the book, you'll know what I mean, when I state, although I loved the book, I prefer this modern updated ending). But lets not forget the supporting cast.

Sinead Cusack, a delight to watch as Mrs Hannah Thornton. To witness Richard Armitage and Sinead, having similar characteristics and as well as mannerisms, even looks, you'd be lead to believe they are related. And Mrs Thornton's love for her son John, is beautifully enacted, in the scene before and after the proposal.

Great to see Tim Piggot-Smith as Mr Hale (a weak character) in a role that does not stereo cast him as villain. Leslie Manville as Mrs Maria Hale, another weak character, is virtually unrecognizable. Brendan Coyle does justice to the character of Nicholas Higgins; notice the twinkle in his eye when he reveals some truths to Thornton.

Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessie Higgins, Pauline Quirke as Dixon, Jo Joyner as self absorbed Fanny Thornton and Brian Protheroe (Mr Bell) all have their moments in the spotlight. Finally, Rupert Evans, surprising to see him cast as Frederick Hale, and he does look a bit like Daniela Denby-Ashe.

Sandy Welch script is placed in the careful hands of director Brian Percival who manages to film N&S beautifully. Edinburgh as Milton in the 1800 gives a wonderful feel, for the the industrialization of England, the cotton mills and the Union movement. Locations and set design are a treat, which give the feel of the Victorian era. The rigid social structure is highlighted not only in the actors accents, speech and manner of dress but also where they live. Just look at the difference between the household of the Higgins, Hales and Thornton not to mention London, where Edith lives.

The costumes give depth and assist the actors with their character; delightful to see Daniela in a wide brim hat than a bonnet. Richard Armitage look devilishly handsome with or without a cravat.

Lastly music by Martin Phipps, this man can compose and it shone in N&S. The score plays beautifully to important moments in the story. Margaret and John's simple piano tune, subtly overlaid, when there is an emotional development in their relationship or when they are both internalizing their feels for each other; to the swelling music when something dramatic has happened, all fits in well with the overall production.

North & South is proof that you don't need state of the art special effects, million dollar budgets and overpaid actors with star power or sex scenes. A simple story can touch a thousand souls...for it connects to the emotional human side and you feel for the characters as they travel on their journey, and North & South has all that.
21 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
rocks
thortonpoppyluke22 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
it was really good. Richard Armatige was a great John Thornton and the whole thing was wonderful. It was a beautiful story of love and family. This is the best thing the BBC have put on TV for years and I cant wait until it comes out on DVD in April. It has made me read the book which is as good as the dramatisation. Your heart went out to the poor families and in some placers it made me cry. Magret Hale and John Thornton do not immediately get on but go through a mixture of her disliking him, to his refused proposal, to their eventual love at the end. This was well acted with wonderful musical additions. The show was widely applauded.
40 out of 46 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Brilliant adaptation
yorkiegirl166 December 2004
I had never read this book, but enjoy watching period dramas. I'm going to read the book now. I got into this in the first episode and I was gripped all the way through. I was rooting for Margaret and John to get together as it just had got to happen. Great portrayals by Sinead Cusack as John Thornton's mother and Jo Joyner as sister Fanny, she was funny. Brendan Coyle was great as Nicholas Higgins, showing us the worker's side of the story and what the unions were trying to do. Very believable acting from Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe was lovely as Margaret. Thornton reminds me of similar sort of characters - Mr Rochester, Darcy. We need men like that.
56 out of 66 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
An excellent adaptation of the novel
joie_de_vivre8229 November 2005
I have to admit, I am soooo critical when books I've read are adapted into film, but North & South impressed me! The movie preserves Gaskell's depiction of Northern England during the Industrial Revolution, and captures the suffering, industry's affects on "Milton", as well as hope and the daily struggles of the factory workers. However, in maintaining the gloomy 19th-Century atmosphere, the movie does not appear stuffy or superficial.

Can't complain a/b the casting, the characters John Thornton and Margaret Hale were brought to life beautifully! As for the ending...could it have been any more romantic?! :) It was soooo intense!!! :) Great movie, it now rivals w/ Pride & Prejudice and Lorna Doone as my 2 fave BBC productions!!!
21 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
The Best Drama the BBC has ever Produced
susan_cartwright_6820 August 2005
Sandy Welch's dramatisation of Elizabeth Gaskells' North and South was one of sheer brilliance....followed by the ground breaking production and direction of Kate Barlett and Brian Percival.

All the actors were polished in their performances, but in my book the accolades go to Sinead Cusack for her performance as Hannah Thornton, Brendan Coyle as Nicholas Higgins and of course not forgetting Daniela Denbeigh Ash as Margaret Hale......but the one actor who wore the part of John Thornton to a degree of sheer understated brilliance was Richard Armitage....lets pray that this is the start of something really big for this young talented British actor.
21 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Fantastic
Astrophel24 May 2005
Absolutely gorgeous period drama! As a huge fan of BBC's Pride and Prejudice this has quickly become my favourite! Accurate casting, fantastic costumes, authentic settings and the soundtrack really adds to the quality of the series.

It has all the passion that Pride and Prejudice (Bless it!) lacks.

The story centers around Margaret Hale who moves from Helstone (the South) to Milton (the North). To begin with Margaret hates the bleak and industrial north and especially dislikes Mr Thornton who appears to Margaret to be cold and controlling, or are things not as they appear to be?
62 out of 76 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Very Enjoyable
eastbergholt200211 March 2006
I bought the DVD version for my wife; she liked the book and enjoyed the BBC version of Wives & Daughters. I've probably seen far too many BBC costume dramas, but we were both gripped immediately and watched the whole thing in one sitting - all four hours. The story is set mainly in England's industrial North West during the 1850s, a time when even the rich seemed on the verge of destitution.

The hero is John Thornton (Richard Armitage) a self-made mill owner, who initially appears to be an aloof and brutal tyrant (Mr. Darcy with a Northern accent). The heroine is Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe) a clergyman's daughter from Hampshire who finds it difficult to fit into northern society. Hale's family don't have a lot of money and seem out of place. She befriends the family of a union leader and causes controversy by speaking her mind about working conditions in the mills.

The story is based on a novel by Mrs. Gaskell, and the central characters go through some hardships and misunderstandings before they reach the predictable happy ending. The BBC is very good at this sort of thing. The story was well told with excellent acting, especially from Armitage, Sinead Cusack and Tim Piggott Smith. The characters were articulate and the plot was both credible and absorbing. Overall, it was an enjoyable series.
14 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Not that bad, but not a good adaptation either
inega27 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I know adaptations can be different from the original stories but this... I think it some of the "improvements" (or alterations) North and South suffered in this case were not only unnecessary, but they made it more difficult to understand the story and the characters. For example: when Margaret first sees Mr. Thornton, he is brutally beating a man, one of his "hands", who is already lying defenseless on the floor. How can she get to like him at all, when she knows he is capable of doing something like this? I think the way they originally meet in the book makes much more sense and it would have been better to keep it like that. Then, Margaret and Mr. Thornton barely speak to each other in the series!! It makes it very confusing (and almost ridiculous) when he suddenly decides to propose to her. As another reviewer already said, it makes you wonder "when did they fall in love??!!". It also looks like somehow Margaret started having feelings for him almost from that day on. Why? The ending felt quite weird for me (the scene in the train station), and not credible at all. I would have preferred it if they kept it a little bit more similar to the one in the book. I think the underdeveloped relationship between Margaret and Mr. Thornton is the worst part of this adaptation. Both characters change a lot throughout the story (in the book), not only because of each other, but because the people around them and they end up completely changing their minds about many things. Thus, in the book, the feelings they have for each other are perfectly understood. As for the rest, the actors were quite good and I really liked how they recreated this small industrial town and the rest of the characters. The relationships between Margaret and Bessy and Mr. and Mrs. Thornton were particularly good.
9 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A Stunningly Romantic Vision of Repressed Love
Charmaine_Mitchell19 August 2005
This recent 2004 BBC production of Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South is a stunningly romantic vision of repressed love between two charmingly stubborn people and introduces Richard Armitage as the broodingly handsome John Thornton. Mr. Armitage breathes fiery life into this magnificent character, in turn creating for himself a legion of adoring fans around the world, demanding the release of a DVD by the BBC. Aided by an excellent cast, the story unfolds in a mesmerizing and totally addictive manner, with an unforgettable soundtrack, drawing the viewer back again and again to relive the experience. You will not be disappointed in this movie.
17 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Most Romantic Ending EVER
wickedialogue19 April 2006
What a wonderful adaptation of a rather dry novel.

This mini series propelled me to read to book. I doubt I would have been able to finish the novel had I not envisioned Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton and heard his fantastic voice while reading his lines.

This series is a little slow out of the gate, but hang on to your hats after you get started. I bought the DVD from Amazon and watched it in one sitting. I would have never heard of it had it not been raved about on the Pride and Prejudice 2005 message board. Repeatedly. I've had friends over to see it who have bought it off Amazon before leaving my house. It is that good.

Where are you hiding these fantastic actors? While we are stuck here the states hearing drivel and ultrasound reports about Pitt/Jolie and Cruise/Holmes (gag), the British have actors like Richard Armitage and Matthew Macfadyen. While not considered pretty boys these are the most devastatingly handsome, chocolate-voiced, talented actors I've seen in many years.

I just thank all involved in a wonderful, inspiring and beautifully filmed show.
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Yet again, BBC delivers! :)
amity_00729 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Very good period drama that BBC can always be expected to produce. I've never read the book but like most adaptations, i'm going to soon! I absolutely adored this TV mini-series! The first two episodes were so bleak and John Thorton was an absolute git! But sure enough, Margret left an impression and the better side of his nature shone through! The ending was so romantic is right up there with my other favourite BBC adaptation 'Pride and Prejudice.' The delicate and unexperienced kiss so full of love just had me grinning inanely - so romantic! *happy sigh* I agree one-hundred per cent with the other reviewer - Thorton did remind me of Mr. Darcy but we do need more men like that! If you want a drama that mixes historical facts (the development of workers union) and the personal journey of a young women (Margret Hale played by the lovely Daniela Denby-Ashe who has such gorgeous facial expressions) with a splash of romance then 'North and South' is definitely for you!!
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
stellar performances and story
MaryK-24 February 2006
This is one of the best, if not the best period mini-series to come out of Britain in recent years. Being an avid Pride and Prejudice (and Colin Firth fan), this is better. Seeing the previews, I initially thought it was stuffy and just another period piece.....boy, was I wrong. I decided to give it another chance, rented the DVD and watched it in peace. It is amazing...acting, scenery, story, etc. It is simply mesmerizing. I read the book after watching the series and personally liked the series better. It was tighter and had more of Mr. Thornton than the book...and OH! can Richard Armitage convey more emotions in one look than in a hundred pages. Go rent it...better yet buy it. You will not be disappointed.
15 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Moving and accurate
history_girl21 August 2005
This is my favourite mini-series from the BBC yet. As a direct descendant of Lancashire cotton workers in the area this movie is based, it helped to me to connect what my ancestors lived like.

The casting on this mini-series was perfect, not one role had been cast wrong.

Daniella was engaging and convincing as Margaret Hale, who moves from the South to the industrial North when her father gives up his post as a minister.

Richard though is just superb as John Thornton. He is very convincing and for once we see a good actor, with talents (and in my books very good looking), without having the traditional 'pretty boy' look.

Basically Margaret comes to learn that while things are different in the North, it doesn't make the South any better. She finds that there is a stronger sense of family unity and bonding and she begins to make friends with people below her status, because plain and simple - they're good people.

This is a must watch. Congratulations to the BBC on a fine movie, which is even better than the book it was based on.
18 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Still relevant today
johnbol30 May 2005
This very good adaption tells a story set in Victorian England but it's issues are still relevant today and all over the world. First of all there are the misunderstandings between the new and old citizens . The new comers are from the south and the city is in the north. Nowadays we have new comers from India ( we in Holland have them from Morocco and Turkey)and we all have problems with communication between the two groups. Secondly there are the deplorable working conditions in the factories and we see how many of their owners hardly care for the people. First they were the slaves ( well... almost ) of the rich - as farmers or servants, then they became the slaves of the factory owners ( and if we are not carefuller we will now become the slaves of the 24 hour economy). This all is told in the form of a love story and that works very well to bring those issues to the attention to people who would not be interested had it been told in a too grim a manner. Our admiration must go to the writer, Elizabeth Gaskell. To those who liked The Jane Austen books / movies and who might think that this one will be too dark for them, i would like to say : give it a try. I'ts very well acted and you'll get your love story.
18 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Sorry this TV show is now finished
kathryn-498 December 2004
This is the first time I have commented on anything that I have viewed on television, but I feel that this 4 part adaptation of North & South has produced marvelous performances from all of the cast. The two leads in particular. The official site on the BBC has proved that I'm not alone in this, and just check their drama message boards for literally hundreds of comments about the production. They will entertain you for hours. Must add that the man of the moment just has to be Richard Armitage. His portrayal of John Thompson is terrific. If I had a comment to make, it must be about the disappointment of not being able to buy the DVD yet! Hopefully it will be available SOON.
18 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed