Tag Archives: Darcy

March Madness: Jane Austen Style, round five– Men’s Semi-Finals

basketball court copyThe action was fast and furious on the court this week as the LADIES Darling Dozen bracket narrowed down to the favorite character for each Austen novel. As with the gentlemen, there were no real surprises in this bunch.  Here’s how we currently stand…

Austen March Madness both sides4

Now the competition gets REALLY hard as you have to get all inter-book and pick your fave between…

  • Brandon and Darcy (good luck there)
  • Edmund and Knightly (ugggghhhh!)
  • Henry and Benwick (hmmmm)

BAsketball hoop-- men

You have until Thursday at 6:00 pm EST to get in your votes.

Jane ball

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Ahhh the Regency Life for me.

Austenland

Hold on to your bonnets ladies, Austenland is almost here. The film, which stars Keri  Russell as an uber  Jane Austen fan who travels to England for the vacation of a lifetime — a chance to live the Regency experience — won high marks at the Sundance Festival  and enjoyed a strong limited release this weekend. While the rest of us wait with bated breath for the film to come to our local movie house I thought I’d take a closer look at what life was really like in Jane’s day.  I was inspired by the August 15 HuffingtonPost.com article by Roy and Lesley Adkins which list 13 Reason You Wouldn’t Want to Live In Jane Austen’s England.

  1. Forced Marriage
  2. Infant Mortality
  3. Fetching Water
  4. Dangers of Fire
  5. Child Labor
  6. Chimney Sweeps
  7. Dubious Medicines
  8. Dodgy Dentistry
  9. Shocking Surgery
  10. Press Gangs
  11. The Bloody Code (Criminal Courts)
  12. Punishment After Death
  13. Injustice After Death

I’d like to humbly add my own warnings to coveting a life in an Empire dress.

An 1833 engraving of a scene from Chapter 59 o...

An 1833 engraving of a scene from Chapter 59 of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Bennet is on the left, Elizabeth on the right. This, along with File:Pickering – Greatbatch – Jane Austen – Pride_and_Prejudice – This is not to be borne, Miss Bennet.jpg, are the first published illustrations of Pride and Prejudice. Janet M. Todd (2005), Jane Austen in Context, Cambridge University Press p. 127 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First… forget about Darcy. If you are like me  (solidly in the middle class)  you’ve got about as much chance as marrying the Master of Pemberley (or  Donwell or Delaford or Mansfield) as you do of winning PowerBall. As Austen makes perfectly clear MONEY likes MONEY, and if you don’t have it you’re not likely to attract it. Maybe, if you are very, very pretty you might temp an unwary man (assuming there’s not an eagle-eyed sister, mother or aunt looking out for just your sort). However, with out the aid of modern dentistry and plastic surgery I hope that your beauty is God-given.

Be prepared to get sick. The food is going to totally suck. With out the benefit of an Amana French Door stainless steel refrigerator — the Regency cook’s best method  for preserving food is salt. Yum. The water is unfiltered and filled with lovely microbes and the milk is unpasteurized.

Ladies hush your mouth. If children were meant to be seen and not heard, members of the fairer sex weren’t expected to say much more. Certainly they weren’t expected to say anything that contradicted with the men around them. That may make Elizabeth Bennet all the more extraordinary, but don’t you go trying it.

Lady Catherine confronts Elizabeth about Darcy...

Lady Catherine confronts Elizabeth about Darcy, on the title page of the first illustrated edition. This is the other of the first two illustrations of the novel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Granted, it’s fun to don a Regency dress, long gloves and hat every once in a while, but I can’t imagine doing it every day. Summers must have been brutal (and aromatic) with all that fabric and no air conditioning.

Then again…I guess fantasy is part of the appeal of Austen’s novels. And every time I pick up one of Jane’s six novels (or one of the many Austen inspired books on my shelf) I’m a very willing participant in that fantasy…. As I will be when I go to see Austenland… if it ever makes it to a screen near me.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Pride and Prejudice Characters: Lizzie and Darcy

LIZZIE AND DARCY

Is there anything more delightful than a well written story of personal growth and discovery? Pride and Prejudice, Austen‘s “own darling child,” is a story of first mis-impressions that eventually resolve into true understanding, appreciation and love. The journey to that self discovery is the juiciest part of the novel. And that means that both Darcy and Lizzie must be willing to change the way they look at the world and at each other.

Jennifer Ehle is beautiful as Elizabeth  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Jennifer Ehle is beautiful as Elizabeth in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Elizabeth Bennet is a pretty, charming, intelligent, self-assured 20-year-old. She is the second eldest daughter of the Bennet family. She takes second place to sister Jane in beauty as well, but she bares it well. She has a lively, playful disposition and a good-natured impertinence that is the delight of her father and the bane of her mother.

Cropped screenshot of Greer Garson from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Greer Garson from the trailer for the film Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lizzie prides herself on being a good judge of character. But when it comes to Darcy and Wickham that is hardly the case.

Keira Knightly as Lizzie in the 2005 Movie

Keira Knightly as Lizzie in the 2005 Movie

Lizzie’s first road block of prejudice is the snub she receives from Darcy at the Assembly Room Ball. At first everyone thinks Darcy is a major catch because he’s tall, handsome and rich. But then

… his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.

It was decided that he was “He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world.” The icing on the cake is when he refuses to dance Lizzie, saying“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”

Matthew MacFadyen in the 2005 movie.

Matthew MacFadyen in the 2005 movie.

Although outwardly she takes the comment in stride, and even jokes about it with her friends, from that moment on she is prejudiced against him.

Darcy was …haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well bred, were not inviting…Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared; Darcy was continually giving offence.

(It is a prejudice that Wickham easily manipulates.)

Had Darcy’s opinion of Lizzie not changed it would have been a very different book indeed. But shortly after the snub he begins to appreciate her  “fine eyes,” “light and pleasing figure,” and “easy playfulness.” He tries to shake it, but he falls completely in love with her.

Daniel Vincent Gordh and Ashley Clements tackle the proposal scene in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Daniel Vincent Gordh and Ashley Clements tackle the proposal scene in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

He swallows his pride and familial duty and offers Lizzie the second of her two horrible proposals.  Basically he tells her that he likes her against his will, against his reason, and even against his character.

She refuses him, of course — He’s separated Jane and Bingley and ruined Wickham — how could he think for a moment that she’d accept him.. She calls him on his un-gentleman-like manner then tears into him…

“You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it…From the very beginning, from the first moment I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, … and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”

It is a life changing moment for Darcy. He writes her a letter explaining his position on the Jane / Bingley situation and on his dealings in the Wickham narrative and then he leaves Kent. But he’s also forced to face the fact that he is a snob.

Upon reading the letter Lizzie recognizes that prejudice has colored her emotions to Mr. Darcy. She begins to question her assumption of Wickham’s innocence and his guilt.

Colin Firth, the ultimate Darcy, starred  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Colin Firth, the ultimate Darcy, starred in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

At Pemberly she’s presented by a completely different Darcy. Not only does the housekeeper, Reynolds, praise her master, but Darcy actually seems to have transformed. He is kind and welcoming even to her relatives the Gardiners, who he previously thought himself above.

He completely saves the day with the Lydia / Wickham elopement, and he does it all for Lizzie.

By the time Bingley and Jane reunite both Lizzie and Darcy have come 360 in their feelings toward one another. What was once intolerable is now precious. And all was happily ended.

Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoulin in the 1980 BBC series [This one's for Joyce]

Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoulin in the 1980 BBC series [This one’s for Joyce]


Pride and Prejudice characters: Jane and Mr. Bingley

BINGLEY AND JANE

Ahhh. Jane and Bingley. Of all the characters in Pride and Prejudice these two deserve to be together — and deserve a happy ending — the most. If Austen had been a lesser writer I think Jane and Bingley would have been the main characters in the novel. Pride and Prejudice would have been a more straightforward romance of two beautiful nice people meeting, falling in love, being separated by circumstance and malevolent people, but coming together at the end and, against all odds, getting that happy ending.  Not a bad story. A charming story, no doubt, but not one, perhaps, that we’d still be re-reading 200 years later. (And one, no doubt, that would have had a different title.)

Suzannah Harker in the 1995 series.

Suzannah Harker in the 1995 series.

I have absolutely nothing critical to say about Jane. And I am sure she would have absolutely nothing bad to say about me. She is beautiful, shy, kind, reserved, humble and believes the very best in everybody. She is a most loving sister and devoted daughter. We all deserve at least one Jane Bennet in our lives. (And maybe we should all strive to be a little more Jane like — how’s that for a New Year’s resolution?)

Roamund Pike in the 2005 movie

Rosamund Pike in the 2005 movie

Bingley is a pretty wonderful guy too. Charming, handsome, rich — everything a gentleman ought to be.  He shoots, he rides and I know not what.

Crispin Bonham-Carter played Bingley  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Crispin Bonham-Carter played Bingley in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Sure, Bingley could be a tad more decisive, and have a bit more backbone. But to misquote Jessica Rabbit– he’s not wimpy, he’s just drawn that way.

Simon Woods in the 2005

Simon Woods is funny and charming in the 2005 and in Cranford. If you want to see the other side of Simon check out his performance as  Octavian Caesar in ROME.

Mr. Bennet sums up the couple towards the end of the book with…

“I have not a doubt of your doing very well together. Your tempers are by no means unlike. You are each of you so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and so generous, that you will always exceed your income.”

Naveen Andrews and Namrata Shirod Karar as Balraj and Jaya (Bingley and Jane) in Bride and Prejudice

Naveen Andrews and Namrata Shirod Karar as Balraj and Jaya (Bingley and Jane) in Bride and Prejudice

The adorable Cristopher Sean and Laura Spencer as Bing Lee and Jane in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

The adorable Cristopher Sean and Laura Spencer as Bing Lee and Jane in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

 

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Blogger’s note: Hey how are your liking these P&P character studies? Drop me a line and let me know. Tomorrow is Darcy and Lizzie and Monday — on the big anniversary we’ll discuss various adaptions of the novel. So please weigh in!

And don’t forget to send in your entry to the Jane Austen “Essay” Contest for everybody. (Deadline is also on Monday.)

Cheers, Rita


Catching up on P&P Characters

I hope you’ve been enjoying this week’s look Pride and Prejudice characters.
Coming up we’ve got:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Bennett
  • Charlotte and Mr. Collins
  • Jane and Bingley
  • And, of course Darcy and Elizabeth

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite characters (or least favorites) and why? When did you discover Austen? What is your favorite adaptation? And how do the characters speak to you in your modern life?

Cheers, Rita

Image

 


Pride and Prejudice Characters: Lydia and Wickham

Today is the third installment in a week’s worth of Pride and Prejudice character studies leading up to next Monday’s 200th anniversary of the Austen novel.
 
Lydia and Wickham

Was there ever a sillier, more insipid, selfish little sister than Lydia Bennet? One would need a thesaurus to accurately describe how crass she is… if Austen hadn’t painted such a wonderful picture for us.

On the kind side of the Lydia spectrum I could say she had an exuberant spirit. From there the rainbow of Lydia character trait runs from “Vain, ignorant, idle, and absolutely uncontrolled!” to selfish, reckless, and just a little bit mean. (Though she’s got nothing on Caroline Bingley in the Mean Girl department.)

Jena Malon took on the Lydia role for the 2005 movie

Jena Malon took on the Lydia role for the 2005 movie

Although Jane and Lizzie attempt to “check the imprudence” of Kitty and Lydia their efforts have little effect. The girls are indulged by their mother but are …

“always affronted by their advice… Lydia, self-willed and careless, would scarcely give them a hearing….”

Lydia has no filter. She says what ever thought floats across her vapid mind, no matter how rude or inappropriate it might be.

Julia Sawalha in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice [Image courtesy BBC Home]

Julia Sawalha in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice [Image courtesy BBC Home]

“Lord” she tells Jane, “how ashamed I should be of not being married before three and twenty!” Likewise she does what ever she wants without regard for decorum or consequence.

Mary Kate Wiles embodies the 2012/13 party girl Lydia in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries VLOG [Image courtesy @TheLydiaBennett Twitter page]

Mary Kate Wiles embodies the 2012/13 party girl Lydia in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries VLOG [Image courtesy @TheLydiaBennett Twitter page]

She is…

“the most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family ridiculous. A flirt, too, in the worst and meanest degree of flirtation; without any attraction beyond youth and a tolerable person; and from the ignorance and emptiness of her mind, wholly unable to ward off any portion of that universal contempt which her rage for admiration will excite.”

Lizzie warns their father not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton, but Mr. Bennet, knows that there will be no peace at home if he doesn’t concede. He justifies the decision by saying…

“Colonel Forester is a sensible man, and will keep her out of any real mischief; and she is luckily too poor to be an object of prey to any body. At Brighton she will be of less importance, even as a common flirt, than she has been here. The officers will find women better worth their notice. Let us hope, therefore, that her being there may teach her her own insignificance. At any rate, she cannot grow many degrees worse without authorizing us to lock her up for the rest of her life.”

Lydia, of course, does not disappoint. She manages to do the least appropriate thing possible… she runs off, unmarried with a man. That man is George Wickham and it takes some doing to get the couple to the altar.

A triumphant Lydia returns home with her husband in the 1940 movie. With Ann Rutherford (Lydia), Edward Ashley (Wickham), Maureen O'Sullivan (Jane), and Greer Garson (Lizzie).

A triumphant Lydia returns home with her husband in the 1940 movie. With Ann Rutherford (Lydia), Edward Ashley (Wickham), Maureen O’Sullivan (Jane), and Greer Garson (Lizzie).

When they return to Longbourn …

“Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless. She turned from sister to sister, demanding their congratulations…”

She even insists that Jane take walk behind her as she is a married woman now, and therefore holds a higher rank.

Peeya Rai Chowdhury and Daniel Gilles as Lakhi Bakshi (Lydia) and George in Bride and Prejudice

Peeya Rai Chowdhury and Daniel Gilles as Lakhi Bakshi (Lydia) and George in Bride and Prejudice

“I find Lydia to be tiresome” says Austen fan Mary Baldauf Wiedel, “and Wickham is a true cad.” She adds that the two are ”fairly unlikable characters, although no one deserves to be with Wickham.”

Sometimes when I’m rereading the novel* or am watching one of the adaptations I try to remember back to my original impressions of Wickham. Was I suspicious? Did I like his easy manner and winning smile as much as the ladies of Longbourn? Or did I know right away that he was trouble?

Adrian Lukis as Wickham in the 1995 series.

Adrian Lukis as Wickham in the 1995 series.

Not even Lizzie gets an accurate bead on Wickham’s character at first. She spends about a third of the book enjoying his company and listening to his poisonous tales about Darcy.

George Wickham is handsome. He has “a fine countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address.” An officer in the militia, Wickham makes quite a dashing figure in his regimentals. But Lizzie observes that he has something more in his “person, countenance, air, and walk” than this companions. And he could make the “commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic” interesting.

Rupert Friend in the 2005 Movie [Image courtesy: AustenAuthors.net]

Rupert Friend in the 2005 Movie [Image courtesy: AustenAuthors.net]

He may not be rich, but, as he explains, that is not his fault. Its Darcy’s. Darcy has cruelly denied Wickham the church living promised to him. So now he must make his way as an “honest” soldier.

In reality he’s a gambler, a womanizer, a slacker and a liar. He uses his good looks and his social ease to manipulate people. He even manipulates Lizzie, who is usually a keen judge of character, into taking his side against Darcy. He leaves a trail of debt and broken hearts where ever he goes.

Wes Aderhold updates Wickham in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Wes Aderhold updates Wickham in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

So why does Wickham elope with Lydia? For her part it is probably a romantic lark, an adventure. She seldom looks past the moment and he is fulfilling her immediate needs. But what does she have to offer him? Not money. Not status. Not love. My guess is that he initially does it as a lark too. Lydia is pretty and is certainly willing to run away with him. He can always leave her when he gets tired of the situation and travel to another country to find a rich wife. But, then he realizes that he can make a little money off this deal. When Darcy finds them he realizes he’s hit pay dirt. If Darcy cares enough to come looking for Lydia he’ll care enough to pay Wickham’s gambling debts and pay his overdue tavern bills and more.. All he has to do is marry one of the silliest girls in the country.

Ahhh marital bliss. [Image courtesy BBC]

Ahhh marital bliss. [Image courtesy BBC]

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* for the record… I am not in a CONSTANT state of rereading one or the other of Ms. Austen’s novels. I just thought you should know.

The LY-Di-A Bennet  on Lizzie Bennet Diaries has her own VLOG. Here’s a taste:


Thought of the Day 9.10.12 Colin Firth

“Colin is the sort of name you give your goldfish for a joke.”

Colin Firth

Colin Andrew Firth was born on this day in Grayshott, Hampshire, England in 1960. He is 52 years old.

He spent much of his first four years in Nigeria where his parents, Shirley and David Firth, were missionaries.They returned to England where his parents took up University posts and Colin and his younger  siblings, Kate and Jonathan grew up. In 1972 the family moved to St. Louis, MO,for a year. The transition did not go well and, he says, he reacted badly, becoming rude and defensive.

The family settled in Winchester when they returned to England with David at King Alfred’s College lecturing on History, and Shirley at the Open University teaching comparative religion. Colin’s rebellion streak continued.

He was a troubled teen, scruffy and cocky, and often railing against a middle class whose children progressed via academia while the working class were pushed towards carpentry and other manual skills. [TalkTalk, Colin Firth-Biography]

At 14 he declared that he wanted to become an actor, and by 18 he had joined the National Youth Theatre in London. S-L-O-W-L-Y he built his career, at first doing grunt work, like fetching tea and answering phones, then enrolling in more acting classes — this time at the London Drama Center and learning the Stanislavski method. After 3 years of study he started to see lead roles — including Hamlet — come his way at the school.

[Image Courtesy Probert Encyclopaedia]

In 1983 a talent scout saw his portrayal of the great Dane and offered him a spot replacing Daniel Day-Lewis in the West End production of Another Country. He went on to play another role in the movie production of the play, his first film. Though the movie was a success, and his role it was critically acclaimed, he went back to the theatre  — working at the Churchill Theatre and  the Old Vic. He also did some television, including Camille with John Gielgud and Ben Kingsley, and the mini-series Lost Empireswith Laurence Olivier.

Firth and Tilly in Valmont [Image Courtesy: Pure Cine]

He stepped easily from stage to screen (small and large). Another film of note from his early career is Valmont, “An earthy, physical take on the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses…” [TalkTalk]He co-starred here was Annette Bening, as

 ‘Lustful, manipulative aristocrats in 18th Century France, they would toy with the affections and bodies of others, until real emotions leads to the downfall of them both.’ [TalkTalk]

During the film ing of Liaisons he fell in love with actress Meg Tilly who played Madame de Tourvel. They dropped out the acting world, moving to a cabin in  the wilds of British Columbia. The two had a son William.   After the two-year hiatus he returned to the stage, Almedia, the small screen Hostages, and the indie film circuit, The Hour of the Pig (aka The Advocate).

If you want to see Firth as a creepy bad guy you can rent Playmaker (a film not even he likes) or The Deep Blue Sea (in which he plays a no-good cad.) He also plays a bit of a cad in Circle of Friends.

But nobody wants to see Colin Firth play a cad…am I right? In 1995 he was offered, and REFUSED, the role of Fitzwilliam Darcy in Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  There is a certain Darcy-esque story behind Firth’s refusal of the role. For a serious actor trying to build a serious career — an actor who was NOT trying to make it on his pretty face — the role “seemed tiresome and predictable.” [Talk Talk] He was as aloof about the role as Darcy is about  society in Meryton. He just wasn’t looking for a role that simply required that he throw on a Waist coat, snarl in a period costume, and pick up a pay check. He also didn’t think that Austen’s story was too female centric, and that just wouldn’t be enough for him to do. But Sue Birtwistle, the show’s producer, was persistent. She got him look at the script and rethink what he could bring to Darcy.

Firth as Darcy [Image Courtesy: Period Dramas.com]

Filming began in June 1994.

“As Mr. Darcy in the acclaimed 1995 television adaptation of Pride and PrejudiceColin Firth induced record increases in estrogen levels on both sides of the Atlantic. Imbuing his role as one of literature’s most obstinate lovers with surly, understated charisma, Firthcaused many a viewer to wonder where he had been for so long, even though he had in fact been appearing in television and film for years.” [New York Times, Movies & TV]

The series was wildly popular and is THE standard against which all other Jane Austen adaptations are judged. Firth’s stock as both movie star and sex symbol sky rocketed. But instead of taking on another leading role, his next turn on the silver screen was a relatively minor role as Kristen Scott Thomas’ lightweight husband in The English Patient. He looses Scott Thomas to Ralph Fiennes in that movie. He played an even bigger cuckold (and a less amiable one) in Shakespeare in Love, where he looses his screen love — it’s Gwyneth Paltrow this time — to another Fiennes brother, Joseph. Speaking of Shakespeare…He’s an American farmer in A Thousand Acres which is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, then does a comic turn AS Shakespeare in Blackadder: Back and Forth. 

From Shakespeare in Love [Image Courtesy: My Favorite Things]

It must have felt like he was looking in a mirror when he took on another Mr. Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason, (especially as the former loosely echos the plot of P&P.)

Here’s a rundown of most of his other post Pride and Prejudice work:

  • Other Rom-Com work includes… Hope Springs, Fever Pitch, Love Actually, The Accidental Husband, Relative Values, Four Play, Then She Found Me and Easy Virtue.  I suppose you can add Mamma Mia to that list as well. (I can vouch for Firth’s performances in the first three. I think Hope Springs is his best Romantic Comedy, Fever Pitch is funny if a bit too sporty for me, and he was the best thing in Love Actually, actually.)
  • For period pieces you can choose from… Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Importance of Being Earnest, Nostromo, The Turn of the Screw (briefly) and Dorian Gray. (Pearl Earring was excellent, if a little slow-moving — in a beautiful kind of way. Earnest was funny — but it’s Wilde, so, you know, that’s kind of a given. Dorian Gray was based on a Wilde novel too… but I didn’t like that one nearly as much.)
  • Looking for more modern drama? Try… My Life So Far, Conspiracy, Born Equal, Trauma, Where Lies The Truth, Main Street, And When Did You Last See Your Father? and Genova. (Of this lot I’ve only seen Conspiracy, which is a chilling drama about a Nazi conference where officials discuss the “Final Solution.” It is a beautifully acted film all around with Firth in a lessor role.)
  • He seemed a little out-of-place in the family films What a Girl Wants and Nanny McPhee  and the historical action flick The Last Legion. 

Then came A Singe Man in 2009, and suddenly Colin Firth went from being movie star (small caps) to MOVIE STAR (big caps) all over again. His performance as George Falconer (in the movie based on the Christopher Usherwood  novel of the same name) was understated and amazing. It’s 1962 and Firth’s George plays a university professor who is in mourning after the accidental death of his long time partner, Jim. Firth was nominated for an Academy Award, and won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor.

Firth in A Single Man [Image Courtesy: Talking Movies]

The next year, 2010, was golden, and Firth finally got his Oscar for The Kings Speech. On the brink of WWII King Edward VIII abdicates the throne of England, leaving the job to his ill prepared brother “Bertie” (Firth). Bertie must overcome a terrific stammer and self-doubt to lead his country in its time of greatest need.

Satisfaction! [ColinFirth.com]

In 2011 he took a supporting role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spyas Bill Haydon (the “Tailor”) to Gary Oldman’s George Smiley.

Next month Gambit co-starring Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci and Cameron Diaz will hit theaters. This remake of the 1966 Shirley MacLaine/Michael Caine comedy caper is a Joel and Ethan Coen project.

Firth also hasArthur Newman, Golf Pro, The Railway Man, Bridget Jones’ Baby and Devil’s Knot on the way. 

Still from the upcoming Arthur Newman, Golf Pro with Emily Blunt [Image Courtesy: Best Movies Ever]

The actor has rather famously down played his sex appeal.

“I think it’s quite extraordinary that people cast me as if I’m Warren Beatty: until I met my present wife, at the age of 35, you could name two girlfriends.” [Colin Firth  on Brainyquote.com]

Besides his romance with Tilly, he had an affair with Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice) and has been married to Italian film producer/director Livia Giuggioli  since 1997. The couple has two sons, Luca and Matteo.


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