Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it...yet.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Film Review: The Secret of Moonacre

Have any of you (aside from my beloved Oddette) read the magic that is Elizabeth Goudge's The Little White Horse? Because if not, you really need to. It is lovely in every sense of the word. Fantasy--magic, adventure, even a little romance. Remarkable characters and a plot somewhere in between Beauty and the Beast, The Magic Flute, The Lion and the Unicorn, and The Secret Garden.  That being said, this is a movie review, not a book review.
The Secret of Moonacre is based off of The Little White Horse, and when I heard of its existence I was thrilled because frankly, this book deserves a whole lot more recognition. And a movie! Sadly, I heard that a lot of the plot was changed, so I was a little wary, but in the end I really liked it. The ratings aren't particularly good, but I think you enjoy it more if you're read the book, because it's just that delightful to see that world onscreen. So read the book, and then watch the movie. (And then come back and read this again once you have any idea what I'm talking about.)
I'm not really going to go into the plot of either the book or the movie because they're so different and very complex. Just take my word for it that they're good, ok? Here are my thoughts.
Many of the characters are rather changed--in personality and their relation to each other--from the book. (I'm trying not to give anything away.) However, this was obviously a very conscious choice to make the book more suited to this new medium, and I considered it to work very well. Sir Benjamin is very different from how he is in the book (Much more of a Moon (or even a De Noir!) than a Sun.) but for this version, Ioan Gruffud is the perfect choice to play him.

Miss Heliotrope and Digweed are spot-on, and Marmaduke Scarlet was very in character--I just didn't like his rather silly special effects.

Maria was well played by that charming Dakota Blue Richards.

Loveday was very different, and I'm still not sure about how I feel about her character. I loved her so much in the book that any change to her is a little disconcerting.

What I really can't get over is Robin. They changed my beloved Robin from the Dickon-meets-Peter Pan that he ought to be to the Moonacre version of the super-creepy-beyond-belief snatcher from Harry Potter.
What's up with that?!
Still, in the end he turned out rather fabulously. Really, though? Why does he need to be fixed when "there was nothing wrong with [him] to start with?" Thank you, Char. Your eloquence is appreciated.
The costuming was fantastic. In my humble opinion, it struck the perfect balance between historically accurate enough to fit Victorian London and fantastic enough to fit the world of Moonacre. Just tons of fun and an exquisite amount of detail. 
The set was very well done when it wasn't being poorly green-screened. :P Maria's bedroom was incredible. I want to live there. 
My favorite bit of dialogue, which really seemed to capture Elizabeth Goudge's writing was this:
Maria: "How can I live in the country? It's full of countryside." 
Miss Heliotrope: "There's only one thing to save us now: classical French needlepoint."

Overall, I'd give it four out of five moon pearls. And it would be higher but for Robin.


  1. AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! are. are. are. I cannot make out my feelings for this. I am exceedingly attached to that marvelous book with marvelous writing. Should I go see it? The MOVIE? I'm still thinking. If I do, I refuse to go with anyone except you so that you can guide me through possible tears of distress.

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  3. Really? Didn't like the movie at all. But I do like your Ella quote. Prince Charmont is the ultimate man! (except, of course, for Mr. Darcy, Mr. Thornton, and Colonel Brandon)

  4. One of my absolute favorite books. Was very reluctant to watch the movie. Now that I have, I love the movie as well! I think the best thing is just to like the movie because it's so nicely done. I think it's more of a thing where the movie makers really liked "The Little White Horse" and just made their own movie as inspired by! The costumes? Oh, my!