I watched this British mini series twice over the weekend and I LOVED it! It is a great love story and the British, in my humble opinion, translates love stories to films the best. I loved this movie so much that now it is my favorite movie of all time.
North & South is the love story of Margaret Hale and John Thornton that unfolds in four-part episodes. Margaret is from the south and Mr. Thornton is from Milton, a dirty smokey industrial city in the north. Margaret finds Milton cold and depressing. It doesn’t help that her mother’s health is failing. Mr. Thornton is in love with Margaret, but she misjudges his true character which causes her to dislike him immensely. Mr. Thornton’s mother cannot stand Margaret.
Sandy Welch did a great job writing the screenplay, however, I do wish that she did not add the scene in the beginning where Mr. Thornton beats up on a worker. In Elizabeth Gaskell’s book Mr. Thornton is not violent. Adding that scene puts an unpleasant spin to Mr. Thornton’s personality that I think does an injustice to Mr. Thornton of the book.
There are subplots to the story which helps to bring the movie along. The workers strike against all of the mill owners. Margaret has much compassion for them which causes friction between herself, Mr. Thornton and his mother Hannah Thornton.
The musical score is by Martin Phipps and it is one of the best things about this miniseries. The music is quite haunting, yet beautiful and stays with you after the movie is over. For some reason a CD for the music was not released even after this miniseries exploded on BBC television.
John Thornton is played by actor Richard Armitage and he is PERFECT in the role.
Mr. Thornton usually has a scowl on his face.
No matter what their differences, Mr. Thornton’s love for Margaret is constant.
Margaret begins to soften towards Mr. Thornton as she gets know him.
Mr. Thornton’s mother (played by Sinead Cusack) tries to comfort her son after Margaret rejects him.
Hannah Thornton played by Sinead Cusack.
Brendan Coyle of Downton Abbey plays Nicholas Higgins.
North and South starts out a little slow, but it quickly picks up speed and you get drawn into the story. A huge part of that is the chemistry between Daniela Denby-Ashe who plays Margaret and Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton. The chemistry between Daniela and Richard can be seen and felt profoundly.
The ending in this miniseries is not the same as in the book. I love the ending in the miniseries better than the ending in the book. Richard Armitage gives one of the best onscreen kisses in history.
Fans of the BBC North and South miniseries would now love to see a sequel.