Period Drama Movie Recommendations
March 8, 2019 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Period/Costume dramas were always a genre I avoided, but I've recently watched and enjoyed The Favourite, Mary Queen of Scots, and Colette. What are your favourites in this genre?

Clearly there's a strong feminist bent to the above! I don't like movies that are too violent.
posted by ellieBOA to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Forgot to say, I felt like this had been asked more recently but the only previously is a decade ago.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:26 AM on March 8, 2019

Cold Comfort Farm
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 9:34 AM on March 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

Frock Flicks is a good resource. They mostly snark on costuming errors, but they also have a strong feminist ethos, and sometimes focus on things like POC in period dramas (which needs to be more recognized as a thing).

My personal period drama faves (I tend toward longer miniseries over 90 min films):
the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, which is the One True Period Drama. Whether it could be considered feminist is a matter of debate; some people (*cough*Mrs Bennet*cough*) would view the "prize" as having the heroine marry a Really Rich Dude, but I view the prize as Elizabeth and Darcy coming to see each other as equals.

Wives and Daughters (1999), about a teenage girl learning to deal with an idiot stepmom and a nice-but-flighty stepsister, all in the context of the sociocultural transition between Romanticism and Naturalism. Most of the dudes in this one are foolish or abdicate responsibility to Molly, who rises to the occasion again and again.

Outlander; I don't have Starz but I've seen a few episodes and its very good. Some violent moments.

The Madness of George III, mostly because Nigel Hawthorne is amazing.

On preview: Yes to Cold Comfort Farm, but I think it might need a passing familiarity with period drama tropes to get the humor.
posted by basalganglia at 9:42 AM on March 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

Gosford Park! And it's not usually my genre but I love this one.
posted by wellred at 9:52 AM on March 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

Ang Lee and Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility is a masterpiece and, even better, a total delight. I have seen it dozens of times and it still makes me laugh and cry.
posted by minervous at 9:54 AM on March 8, 2019 [7 favorites]

Agree with Madness of King George and Gosford Park!

Also, Love and Friendship
posted by sk932 at 9:57 AM on March 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

My Brilliant Career [1979; Judy Davis, Sam Neill. Set in 1890s Australia. IMDB: A young independent woman who lives with her grandmother and aunt in the countryside rebels against being pressured into marriage and chooses to solely focus on having a career as a writer. Nevertheless, two suitors propose to her.]
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:25 AM on March 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Belle is a fictional British period drama based on the very real Dido Elizabeth Belle. It was well-received and won several awards.
posted by suri at 10:35 AM on March 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

Elizabeth. Blanchett is so good in this role. I haven't seen the 2007 follow-up.

North & South is a BBC miniseries (4 episodes) that I loved. Fascinating portrayal of an industry of the period, something you don't get to see often. Based on an Elizabeth Gaskell novel.
posted by CiaoMela at 11:11 AM on March 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

I see that the last thread mentioned the above, so I'm sorry to overlap! I can't think of any more recent movies that fit this, but there are of course two (oft-recommended) TV shows: Downton Abbey, and Call the Midwife.
posted by CiaoMela at 11:15 AM on March 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Something slightly different: Orlando is a loose adaptation of the Virginia Woolf novel, starring Tilda Swinton as an immortal gender-shifting Elizabethan (and Quentin Crisp as the Queen).
posted by theodolite at 12:18 PM on March 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

If you are on Facebook, there is a wonderful and active group called Period Drama Appreciation Society. There are over 17,000 members.
posted by Hop123 at 12:24 PM on March 8, 2019

This one is less of a period drama and more of a period rom-com: Impromptu. Starring: Hugh Grant, Judy Davis, Emma Thompson, Mandy Patinkin, Georges Corraface, Bernadette Peters and Julian Sands. At the time, Peters and Sands were probably the biggest names in the film and most of the rest were unknowns or up-and-comers. It is HILARIOUS, and very much about the strength of women.

Seconding Outlander. There are some aspects of the books that have not aged well and the TV show fixes most of that.
posted by rednikki at 2:03 PM on March 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

There’s some violence in it, but Mysteries of Lisbon is so, so great.
posted by juv3nal at 2:10 PM on March 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Barry Lyndon (Dir: Stanley Kubrick) The lighting is particularly nice...and also artificial lighting, only fire, candles, daylight, moonlight. This required borrowing special custom lenses from NASA.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:16 PM on March 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

Funny you should mention that, sexyrobot, Kermode makes a passing comparison of Mysteries of Lisbon to Barry Lyndon.
posted by juv3nal at 3:48 PM on March 8, 2019

Mozart's Sister is a nice period drama from France about Nannerl Mozart. I'd call it a quiet film though there's plenty of music, including a soundtrack by Marie-Jeanne Séréro. Along with many other historical dramas, it's free on Kanopy to anyone whose library subscribes for them.
posted by cpound at 7:59 PM on March 8, 2019

Beautiful, amazing, feminist Korean period drama: The Handmaiden.
posted by coraline at 3:11 AM on March 9, 2019

I love The Portrait of a Lady.
posted by heatvision at 4:13 AM on March 9, 2019

The Charterhouse of Parma.
posted by james33 at 7:45 AM on March 9, 2019

Most all my favorites have already been listed above, so here are some bonus ones, which are not perfect, but definitely worthy of viewing:
Far From the Madding Crowd
If you can find the 1989 version of Precious Bane, it is worth a watch.
The Lady's Not For Burning, I'm a fan of the 1974 version
posted by gudrun at 8:08 AM on March 9, 2019

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