The Wonder’s of Period Pieces

Period Pieces are some of the most coveted films and TV shows that have spanned for years as being some of the greatest movies. In this article, I will be listing some of my favourite period pieces from movies to TV shows that I have watched over the years that I feel are worth checking out. Mind you I love a good romance period piece you could not. 

The Pride and Prejudice (2005) 

Starting strong with this first one “Pride and Prejudice” the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s most coveted novel directed by Joe Wright offers a refreshing and aesthetically captivating take on the book. Starring the period piece queen Keira Knightley as our Elizabeth Bennett and Matthew Macfayden as Mr.Darcy would you believe that is the same guy from the hit TV show “Succession”? Matthew’s Mr.Darcy is a brooding and reserved character which adds a major addition to their romance. Because it contrasts with Elizabeth’s wit and independence which produces undeniable chemistry. Through this we see pieces of Mr.Darcy start to unravel because of Elizabeth’s influence that aids in his character transformation reflected in the novel. 

The way the movie is filmed is one of its most intriguing aspects of it. Cinematographer Roman Osin utilizes natural light and sweeping landscapes to set up the English Countryside environment that surrounds the story of both beauty and isolation. Their use of long takes and smooth camera movement emphasizes the film’s romantic and introspective tone. My favourite scene is the morning encounter that Elizabeth and Darcy share the way the sunrise perfectly emulates the love dreamlike quality that just exudes the characters’ emotions for one another. 

The score for this movie is also a huge factor as it would be for any other film highlights and captures the scenes in such a way that will make you not want to miss a moment. Dario Marianelli is the musical genius behind it and the music compliments the movie’s visual experience. This is through the piano compositions that take on both the period setting and the character’s inner thoughts. The music grows in key moments like ballroom scenes and the quiet inner moments of the protagonists. 

In summary, Joe Wright’s take on “Pride and Prejudice” is a wonderfully filmed and emotionally strong take on the novel. It successfully brings Jane Austen’s legendary story to life through the balance and respect of the original story but still has that sense of a modern take in the best way possible. Through the actor’s performances, this is one of those movies that is perfectly cast and the chemistry between Knightley and Macfayden is such a thrill to see and will most definitely have you swooning. 

A Knight’s Tale (2001) 

“A Knight’s Tale” directed by Brian Helgland is a fun and unconventional take on a medieval adventure. Starring 90/2000s heartthrob Heath Ledger as William Thatcher, a peasant who finds himself rising to knighthood. What I love most about this movie is that it mixes historical elements with contemporary music and themes that create a unique yet entertaining cinematic experience. Don’t you hate it when you’re watching a period film and they have made it unbearably modern? This film does it flawlessly and is not cringeworthy in the slightest. 

The film’s main narrative follows William’s journey from his poor life to becoming a favoured and celebrated knight driven by his eagerness to “change his stars” by capturing William’s perseverance, charm, and vulnerability. His chemistry with his fellow castmates including Paul Bettany Geoffrey Chaucher and Rufus Sewell as his enemy Count Adhemar adds depth and dynamics to the story. 

One of the most captivating moments of the movie is the way it incorporates modern rock music like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and David Bowie’s “Golden Years” during the jousting tournaments and ballroom scenes. This choice of infusing the film’s energy and music made me fall in love with the film so effortlessly all while being entranced by the romance, action, and humour the movie possesses. 

This film also shines in its visuals. Richard Greatrex the Cinematographer captures the vibrancy of the medieval atmosphere from busy marketplaces to the intense jousting scenes. The choreography of the jousting and action scenes is also captivating because of its blend of authenticity and aggression. 

“A Knight’s Tale” wonderfully balanced humour and action gives a refreshing take on this period piece. Followed by its vulnerable and inspirational themes throughout the film, it explores the idea of self-determination and the pursuit of dreams against all odds and society rankings making it heartfelt and incredibly captivating. 

In conclusion, ever since my dad made me watch this movie I have come back to it every time I am a sucker for period pieces and this one holds a high spot in the ranks. Heath Ledger’s talents combined with the film’s innovative mix of old and new, ensures the film’s long-standing appeal. 

The Buccaneers (2023) 

I fell absolutely in love with this show immediately. It can be found on Apple TV and it is one of the most refreshing period dramas I have ever seen. Set in the 1870s based on Edith Wharton’s unfinished novels. The show follows a group of wealthy American women who travel to London to secure husbands and titles; however, they find themselves facing cultural clashes between their progressive attitudes and the rigid English aristocracy. 

The show surrounds the St.Georges family, more specifically the two sisters Nan and Jinny who navigate the constricting lives of London’s high society. Kristin Froseth is as radiant as Nan, when I saw her familiar face pop up on the screen I was delighted her beauty is as comparable to a sweet fairy I would say. She captures Nan’s outspoken nature and defiance against the expectations of society and provides a modern yet reliable take on its period atmosphere.

If you’re into aesthetics as I am, this show is right for you. Visually The Buccaneers” is truly beautiful.  The production design led by Amy Maguire, and costumes by Giovanni Lipari and Kate Carin all create the immersive experience. As well as the Scottish locations used to set the scenes were incredibly delightful to see. The series’ attention to detail makes up for the show’s authenticity. The entire crew brought that 1870s vibe to life. 

Once again, the show takes on a unique way with the music composition; they also incorporate modern music similar to the show “Bridgerton” and “Knight’s Tale”.  My favourite artists like Taylor Swift and her music make an appearance throughout the show. This incorporation is incredibly appealing especially to a wider audience all while maintaining a historical backdrop. The blend of old and new balances the elements of love, ambition, and societal pressures. 

Fair warning there is a love triangle within this show though it can be incredibly vexing it makes the show all worth it. Overall The Buccaneers” is one of my top recommendations especially in the most recent shows that have come up. They have been renewed for a second season and I am so excited at what is yet to come. 

Each of these pieces all have their unique embellishments that make them incredibly captivating and I will constantly recommend them probably to the day I die. It is incredibly wonderful how even after centuries and centuries passing by we still create period pieces. I wonder how the 1800’s would react now. But again these are only a few period pieces that I would recommend. I probably have about 10 more to touch on but for now, I’d recommend giving these three a shot. 

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