Fluffy Period Romances

Ah, the last moments of my break are slowly ebbing away and I’m not at all wanting to get back to work. I miss Yale, of course, but do I miss cafeteria meals, deadlines, and stress? Ehh, no, no.

I finished reading Swann’s Way yesterday (Volume 1 down, 6 to go, In Search of Lost Time will be conquered) and I guess I have to go back to Yale soon because I’m running out of books in my immediate vicinity. And I’ve also been watching buckets of movies, both the weighty and fluffy lovely.

Today was a fluffy lovely day. I watched Bright Star, which is being added to one of my personal favorite niche genres- the fluffy period romance.  Fluffy because more about love and emotions and affairs of the heart than tense external drama and machinations.  Period because gorgeous and exciting costumes.

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Bright Star: First things first, Ben Whishaw is adorable. He plays Keats, so Keats is adorable. And his muse/mistress Fanny Brawne is also an excellent and beautiful character.  The movie is about the relationship between the two (in the 19th century, so lots of empire waists) and the challenges it faces- namely Keats’ acerbic friend Mr. Brown, their lack of means, and Keats’ own ill health (And does it count as a spoiler if it’s real life? Keats dies.) It’s a very tender and beautifully rendered film.
Fluffiness: 5/5 

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Marie Antoinette:  Full disclosure: I’m not the biggest fan of this movie- I’ve watched it only once and that was years ago.  Because of the political intrigue and… well, the guillotine, this is the least fluffy movie on the list.  But I seem to remember montages of clothes, hair, shoes, and dainty delicacies all in bright pastels. I mean, rococo France is good for a fluffiness point.  Watching film characters live beyond their means stresses me out even when they aren’t destined to be decapitated (I almost made a de-Capet-ated pun but that would have been entirely too nerdy). I would like to see the 1938 Marie Antoinette film with Norma Shearer sometime. This Marie is Kirsten Dunst, who I’ve liked in other films.
And speaking of Maries, can we please get a Maria Theresa biopic?
Fluffiness: 3/5

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The Duchess:  This one is a holdover from the time before I got seriously involved with movies.  I saw it when it came out in the theater.  I was in 8th grade and a fool for dresses, English royalty, and Kiera Knightley. Not much has changed except now I’m also a fan of Ralph Fiennes. Not super familiar with Hayley Atwell (because I don’t like Captain America) but she’s amazing too.  It’s a very luxurious and pillowy film with romance of the homo- and hetero- erotic varieties, tension, hair, dresses… and betrayal and politics and doomed romance. So maybe minus one star, yes?  There’s also a pretty good book that this is based on by the same name.
Fluffiness: 4/5

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Shakespeare in Love: I love the name Viola. And young Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes are pretty people. Geoffrey Rush is in it and I absolutely adore Geoffrey Rush.  Shakespeare is a struggling poet. Viola is a lover of the theater but, alas, a woman (and the stage is not a profession fit for women). So she dresses as a man Mulan-style, but Shakespeare discovers her and romance ensues.  Lovely romance, hijinks, a soupçon of conflict, colors and clothes (even the men’s fashions are colorful and puffy). Plus a guest appearance by Elizabeth I (my celebrity crush).
Fluffiness: 5/5

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Dangerous Beauty:  No one expects the Spanish inquisition! Except this inquisition is not Spanish, because the movie takes place in Venice, but still unexpected. Like Bilbo’s party in The Hobbit.  Wallow in Venice. Wallow is the glamorous and plush lifestyle of a courtesan (veronica Franco), at first reluctant and later bomb ass and successful in a businesslike and intelligent way. There’s a bit of political drama (hello witch-hunting church) but something is needed to add a little edge to all the sumptuous. Watch it for the sword fight.
Fluffiness: 5/5

Similar, but not fluffy/romantic/period enough: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Dangerous Liaisons, A Royal Affair, Cold Mountain, The Painted Veil, Gloomy Sunday, Atonement, Moulin Rouge, Anne of the Thousand Days, Enchanted April, The English Patient, The Age of Innocence, Memoirs of a Geisha, La Reine Margot, Jane Eyre, A Room With A View, Phantom of the Opera.

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