A Student of History

January 2, 2008

Period Pieces

Filed under: Movies — John Maass @ 5:59 pm

Yesterday, I saw two period piece movies, one in the cinema and one on DVD.  Both were excellent, and I highly recommend seeing them.

The first was Atonement, based on Ian McEwan’s recent book of the same name.  Cinematically, this was a well-done film shot on superb locations (mostly England) in which the feeling of the 1935 upper-class world was achieved.  Casting was great (especially James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan) and the story was true to the book in most ways.   In fact, the story is an awesome one and really hits hard at the very end.  Not a happy ending, but to see such a well shot and well told tale on the big screen was truly a stunning experience.

The second movie I saw was The Queen, starring Helen Mirran as Queen Elizabeth II.  I thought this was going to be a life and times thing, but actually the story is about QE2 during the crisis over Princess Diana’s death in 1997.  Mirran is great, to say the least and the locations in Scotland are fun to see as well.  She well-deserves the Oscar she won for the role.  In addition, Michael Sheen did a terrific job as Tony Blair.  In fact the story is just as much about Blair as it is the Queen, and is far more sympathetic to him than it is to HRH.  Nonetheless, this one should not be missed either.


  1. Hey John, Thanks for the tips . . . but how do you pronounce “Saoirse”? Yikes!

    Comment by elektratig — January 5, 2008 @ 11:02 pm | Reply

  2. It is pronounced “SEER-shuh.” One of those great gaelic names that a child would spend a lifetime telling Americans how to say it! Like Siobhan…

    Comment by John Maass — January 7, 2008 @ 2:10 pm | Reply

  3. I’m allowed to make fun of Gaelic names, since my wife is (was) Irish. And I even know how to pronounce “Siobhan” (former colleague). So there!

    Comment by elektratig — January 8, 2008 @ 1:50 am | Reply

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