movies

Period Films to Watch if You Love Downton Abbey ...

Lauren Chadwick

Period Films to Watch if You Love Downton Abbey ...

What are you going to watch when Downton Abbey finishes? Don’t worry! There are plenty of movies to get your fix of period drama. So many in fact, that once you start looking for them, you’ll be wondering what to watch first. Here are some of my favorites:

1 An Ideal Husband

I adore Oscar Wilde’s writings. I had a hard choice picking between this one and The Importance of Being Earnest. Both are heavy on the wit and tangled and complicated personal relationships but I think it’s the cast of An Ideal Husband that wins it for me. With Cate Blanchett, Julieanne Moore, Minnie Driver, Rupert Everett and Jeremy Northam as the main protagonists, it’s a feast of drama and a jolly good story that draws you in.
Get it here itunes.apple.com

2 Gosford Park

This movie is written by Julian Fellowes – the same man who penned Downton Abbey. Considered good enough to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Gosford Park is a whodunit set during a weekend party in a large country house. It has all the right ingredients for a classic upstairs downstairs drama. And the cast list reads like a who’s who of great British actors.
Get it here itunes.apple.com

3 Belle

I found this a little slow but there are some very important messages in this based-on a true story movie. In less than two hours, it raises the issues of illegitimacy, slavery, fraud, and female status in 18th century England. She may not be the most forceful heroine but there’s much to admire in Belle and she’s easy to love. And watch out for Tom Felton who plays someone who’s portably a nastier little toad than Draco Malfoy! The backgrounds and costumes are lush, but the messages are over-riding.
Get it here itunes.apple.com

4 A Room with a View

No list of period dramas would be complete without an offering from Merchant Ivory. Again, it’s hard to choose – A Passage to India, Howard’s End, The Remains of The Day –all are sumptuous with excellent storylines, but I like A Room With a View. Set in the heat of Florence and the fields of Tuscany and Southern England, the brilliant visual atmosphere tells a simple story of love following the heart – in the end.
Get it here itunes.apple.com

5 The House of Mirth

Ok, I have to admit, this is a pretty depressing love story, but not all romance is hearts and flowers. This movie is an adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel and I think it is severely underrated. Battling with the expectations of women at the turn of the 20th century, Lily is caught between her head and her heart. I’m sure you’ll agree that the on-screen chemistry between Gillian Anderson and Eric Stoltz just sizzles, white hot.
Get it here itunes.apple.com

6 Gone with the Wind

Does this really need me to say anything? 1939 Best Picture Oscar winner is sublime in so many ways. It doesn’t matter that it’s 4 hours long because every minute is a charm. Margaret Mitchell’s characters of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara are perfectly portrayed by Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh and we are drawn completely into a story that weaves together the US Civil War and human love, loss and triumph.
Get it here itunes.apple.com

7 Much Ado about Nothing

Yes, you read it right – it is indeed the Shakespeare play. I cannot tell you how much I love this adaptation. Apart from the stellar ensemble cast which includes Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, and Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh has done a great job of directing one of The Bard’s funniest plays. Even if you’re not a fan of Shakespeare, I’m convinced you’ll love this.
Get it here itunes.apple.com

There are so many period dramas I just know that you have your own favorites. Please tell us which they are!