Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Making of a Lady review

I recently came across The Making of a Lady while going through the new movie releases at the library. The first thing that caught my immediate attention is it is based off a literary piece of work by Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of the popular books The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. Although the titles differ, the basis for the film is taken from The Making of a Marchioness.
Image from
Aside from James D'Arcy - who plays Captain Alec Osborn, one of the leads - I was unfamiliar with the rest of the cast. Lydia Wilson plays the leading lady, Emily Fox Seton. When we are first introduced to her, she is working as a secretary to Lady Maria, an upperclass woman during the 1890s (sources point to the year being 1901, I beg to differ but that's for later) and ekes by in a ramshackle boarding house when not working. Although she has hopes for a permanent position, she abruptly dismissed soon after a fancy dinner party.

At said dinner party though, she meets her employer's widowed nephew, Lord James Walderhurst, played by Linus Roache. Despite only meeting once, he comes to her soon after with a proposal of marriage, which she accepts with some hesitation.

While this may initially seem like one of those contrived, two strangers who marry for convenience then grow to love one another stories, there's another aspect. Lord Walderhurst leaves soon after and his cousin, Captain Osborn, comes to live at the house with his Indian wife. Slowly but surely, they begin to take control over the household and then Emily's life.
Image from Pinterest
The unfolding romance between Emily and Lord Walderhurst is well-paced, but it is the later interactions with his overbearing cousin and his wife that seem to be rushed. At almost every turn, there are brief mentions of why Emily shouldn't concern herself with Captain Osborn, but the full story of why was never actually revealed (unless I missed something while my head was buried in petticoat pinning).

Emily's actual reactions to how these oddball relations treat her paint her as a very naive woman as well. A bit conflicting since part of the reason Lord Walderhurst married her was he knew she was an educated woman who knew her way about in life.
Image from Pinterest
The acting throughout the film though I found to be superb since each person managed to make their character very believable. There has been some criticism from others about changes from the original work, but have no comment at this time since I haven't read the original.

The Making of a Marchioness is available for free via Amazon kindle download for anyone who is interested.
Image from Pinterest
Now to my favorite - costumes! As mentioned above, they have pinned the movie at taking place around 1901 (the same year the book was published). However all the costumes point to it being around 1889 through the mid 1890s. Emily wears a few directoire revival fashions, and her wedding dress has the famous hourglass shape of the 1890s with the large leg-o-mutton sleeves and flared skirt. These costumes are also great because they provide a good example of what someone from the upper middle class would have worn - nothing is too extravagant, it's simple but detailed. For being only an hour and a half, there are a number of wardrobe changes throughout so there's great opportunity for finding costume inspiration from this period.

Overall review - 4 out of 5
Costumes - 5 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment