2 Best Movies to Watch by Charles Edwards

Staff & contributors

An inspired by true events tale about an elderly Irish woman trying to find the child she was forced to give up many years earlier. Steve Coogan co-wrote the script and, though the base story is a tragic one, his special brand of very subtle, wry wit is apparent in the dialogue throughout. Judi Dench plays the mother who had kept her “sinful” past a secret for fifty years and, being Judi Dench, I don’t need to bother going on about her exemplary talent, suffice to say she’s charming beyond measure in the role. Steven Frears directs, as usual, deftly, and keeps the story compelling scene after scene, intensifying the emotions inherent to each, whether they be heart-warming, comedic, or outright enraging. Whoever decided to let Steve Coogan have his way with the script, it was a brave and wise choice and together this cast and crew have produced a wonderful and important piece of cinema.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Amber Batty, Amy McAllister, Anna Maxwell Martin, Barbara Jefford, Cathy Belton, Charissa Shearer, Charles Edwards, Charlie Murphy, Elliot Levey, Florence Keith-Roach, Frankie McCafferty, Gary Lilburn, Judi Dench, Kate Fleetwood, Mare Winningham, Marie Jones, Martin Glyn Murray, Michelle Fairley, Nicholas Jones, Nika McGuigan, Paris Arrowsmith, Peter Hermann, Ruth McCabe, Sara Stewart, Sean Mahon, Simone Lahbib, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Steve Coogan, Wunmi Mosaku

Director: Stephen Frears

Rating: PG-13

While better known for Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austen wrote Mansfield Park, a novel that garnered differing critical interpretations, but still intrigued readers even today. The 1999 film adaptation does capture some of the original novel’s ideas, such as Fanny’s modesty, the Cinderella-like submissiveness as means for survival, and the quiet strength to remain as herself, but it also expands on certain elements that were mostly only alluded to in the original, such as the elements pulled from Jane Austen’s actual life and her own sympathies for anti-slavery. While the film isn’t fully faithful to the original novel and should be considered its own, Mansfield Park does retain some of the essentials that makes it distinctly Austen.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Alessandro Nivola, Amelia Warner, Anna Popplewell, Bruce Byron, Charles Edwards, Danny Worters, Elizabeth Earl, Embeth Davidtz, Frances O'Connor, Hannah Taylor-Gordon, Harold Pinter, Hilton McRae, Hugh Bonneville, James Purefoy, Jonny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell, Lindsay Duncan, Philip Sarson, Sheila Gish, Sophia Myles, Victoria Hamilton

Director: Patricia Rozema

Rating: PG-13