Northanger Abbey 2007 // Review


I'm actually studying this novel for English Literature this year - I will be doing an exam on it, and all that official jazz - so these last months I've pretty much been in an everything Northanger Abbey mood. I re-watched the movie, of course. The movie's a jem. It's twinkly. It's sassy. It's charming. It's adorable. And I recommend it. :-)

Of course, it has it's faults. Also, Catherine Moorland annoys me slightly (more on her later). And also, why did they add all those weird dream-scenes? So unnecessary.

So, the story is about a seventeen-year-old girl. Young, 'almost pretty', and innocent. We follow her childhood in several minutes, seeing her baptism (don't you feel sorry for the baby who 'acted' Catherine? Next time you watch it, just look at the poor dears shocked face when the water splashes on her face. You'll feel so bad.) and then seeing her change into a teenager while playing tag with her siblings who never grow. (If you've seen this movie more than once you'll probably know what I'm talking about. Haha.)

We hear that she loves reading. Her mother says she reads 'too much.' But we ALLL know there is no such thing as reading too much. Not even if the books are all about gothic vampires and damsels in white dresses and heros in dark nights rescuing the damsels from said vampires and ghosts and murderers.

YOU probably might be asking me; Naomi, why did you mention in the beginning of this blog post, 'Catherine Moorland annoys me a little'? Because - pardon me for saying so; no offence and all thaat - she sounds a mighty lot like you. Loves reading. Believes there is no such thing as 'too much reading'. Young. A Teen. Part of a large family. No romantic experiences (yet).

Why, Naomi, you all say, you practically ARE Catherine Moorland.


Um, this is REALLY not how families take walks.
Well, for those up-mentioned reasons, I love my dear little Catherine. She's very darling, very innocent, and, yes, admittedly in many ways very similar to yours truly over here. (No, I did not just say that I was a darling. Haha.)

But - dare I say it? - Catherine can be rather... um, silly. Well, she CAN be. Mrs Radcliffes novels did seem to turn her brain inside out, somewhat. She's very naive and... well, silly, in some aspects. I roll my eyes at her sometimes (not that that says much, for I roll my eyes at many-a-people.) For instance, she's rather gullible, and she often lets other people take the rules.

But she's not a doormat or anything like that. She does say what she thinks, and she can tease back and reply wittily. She's not silly silly. She's just not super super brilliant in the brain, is all. But she's still delightful and I do love her. :-) Just, the obvious no-Catherine-ness annoys me now and then. That's all. :-)

Anyways. I've talked about Catherine Moorland, back to the story.

So her Uncle and Aunt Allan propose her to come to Bath for a visit. After all, she's seventeen and must start having her share of balls and hello's-to-society's. T'must be done, you see, quite important. It's all very exciting, and Catherine goes off, with a book in her hand. (The movie annoyingly makes the journey very exciting because Catherine's imagination imagines the carriage to be attacked by robbers. But it's just her imagination getting the better of her. Mrs Allan's faint is hilarious, though. Someone, gif it.)

Aunt Allan is the aunt of everyone's dream, because she goes and buys stacks of new frocks and bonnets and pelisses and whatnot for Catherine the next day. Seriously, I Want to be Catherine. Which girl doesn't?!! To be brought to Bath, to go to balls, to receive a new wardrobe?!!

Catherine meets several people. I'm going to talk about my favourite last, because yes, SAVE THE TREATS. :-D

Isabella - humph - she actually drives me nuts. Not only because her dresses are scooped SO disastrously low (argh) but also because she's flighty and impossible. I like Carey Mulligan's performance, though, she does an excellent job. Carey Mulligan looks very good in Regency, and she has the most adorable dimple ever.

Then we have John Thorpe, who's - pardon me - a humbug. That's all I'm going to say. :-D

And then we have HENRY TILNEY.

I know, I've talked about him before. But I must again. Henry Tilney is one of my favourite heroes ever. He's so cheerful, so funny, he teases, he has such a TWINKLE. And I really want to see him preach - I always forget he's a clergyman. Also, he's SO HANDSOME. And he's sensible. AND kind.


And, say whatever you want to say, he can give a smirk like NO-one else can. And also, oh, I forgot to say - He understands MUSLIN. So of course he's great.

(It's so hilarious how Mrs Allen is so impressed about his 'understanding of muslin.' "And Mr Allen can't even tell my gowns apart!")

And then we also have Elinor Tilney, Henry's lovely sister. She's so sweet - although that long flat bonnet of hers (the almost-see-through-one) is pretty ghastly. One of my favourite bits in the movie is when Henry Tilney comes with three drinks - one for Elinor, one for Catherine, and one for himself - and by the time he's back, Isabella has gone and grabbed Catherine. This pretty much describes the relationship between the Tilney's and the Thorpes haha.

I think Jane Austen must have had a lot of fun writing this novel. It's all very jovial and adorable. Witty hero, jazzy conversations, noisy ball-rooms, sparkling story. I love it, and I think this movie does the book a very good credit.

There are some weird/annoying scenes concerning Catherine's dreams, and one scene between the oldest Tilney brother and Isabella (I skipped it - so I have no idea what they actually show.)

Some other things I love about this movie:

1. When Henry Tilney talks about what Catherine will write in her diary. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THAT BIT SO MUCH. Seriously, when I reach that bit in the book, I re-read it about five times because I think it's so adorable and funny and cute. :-D
2. When Henry Tilney climbs the tree.
3. When Mrs Allen and Catherine and the servants all line up with hatboxes and boxes and more boxes. I love that shot of them all walking down Bath.
4. I want to visit Bath again. I visited it once when I was very little (so that doesn't count) but I HAVE TO GO AGAIN. And visit the Assembly rooms and everything. Ohhhhhh. *Squeals and moans to dad like Lydia Bennet.*
5. Some of Catherine's dresses are really cute. I actually don't really like her first ball-dress - I think the cut is very weird around the top. But her blue pelisse and some of her other dresses are adorable.
6. Northanger Abbey is SO gorgeous.

7. I love that we get a view of Catherine and Henry married and with a baby. I LOVE THAT. And we also see Elinor all finally happy. AWWW. Happiness alore, people. That's what I love about Jane Austen - always those gorgeous happy endings.
8. The conversation between Catherine and Henry on their way to Northanger Abbey. I just loves it.
9. Henry's CLOTHES.
10. I love it when the Father Tilney ships it. :-D (Not for the right reasons, I know, but still. It's funny. And also, I'm laughing meanly at the end, when we see him walking all miserable in the gardens of Northanger Abbey. Mwhahaha.)
11. "But you can see the house from the window!" "Sssh. Mr Tilney, I'm sure Catherine would be delighted to show you."
People who've seen this movie know what I'm quoting. :-D

I both dislike and love the rubbing-mud-off-the-cheek scene. I don't really know what I think of it. It's definitely cute though. I was aww-ing. But it's also awkward. Like the kiss. That was also cute and awkward. :-)

Have you see this movie?
Do you like it?

And a question for Jessica and Rosie: Even though Henry Tilney isn't your favourite, do you want to watch this movie? And do you think Henry Tilney is handsome? (Sorry, couldn't resist asking. Hahaha.)


  1. Wow. This looks amazing. I can't wait to see it!!!! :-D And Carey Mulligan - aww, she looks so sweet. I've only seen her as Kitty Bennet, but I thought she was a good actress. (I remember her saying in the interviews that she made herself cry by thinking of her mother's funeral, and when her tears had dried out, about thinking of her funeral.....she said the latter didn't work as well. :-P)
    I love the clothes, and Catherine's hairstyle. And Henry Tilney looks amazing. ;-D
    Yes. You've convinced me to watch this movie. ;-)
    Also, do you remember the ball I told you about ages ago - the one I was going to? It was a pre-1900s masquerade ball. Well, we went to it, about a month ago, actually, and it was SO amazing. Basically like what it is in those movies. Live music, chandeliers, punch bowls in crystal cups and bowls, people wearing jaw-dropping costumes (several women wore huge hoop skirts, lots of people went for the Regency look, most guys had top hats, or wore those white stockings they used to wear, with a remarkable suit etc) and we danced until close to midnight! :-D I got asked out on the first dance by a young man I'd never met - we later both found out we are neighbours, haha! (A few houses away, that is.) Also, one young man there looked a lot like Dominic Cooper, except a lot nicer looking (his eyes were better proportioned, haha) but he was actually very nice, hehe. ;-) He came up and introduced himself to me later.
    I must be going now, so cheerio!
    ~Miss Meg

  2. I haven't seen this, but would like to soon. NA was the first Austen novel I read, and one of the Literature professors where I teach uses it as the introduction to Austen and fiction of that era. Thanks for the review.

  3. Love your blog and I love this film - even the dream sequences! I know they're ridiculous but I think they do fit with the whole theme of Catherine being overly imaginative. And if I'm remembering right they don't actually show anything between Isabella and Frederick - I think she just sits up in bed and says something like 'are we engaged' and he gives her a snotty look - not strictly in the book, but it could have happened! People are always getting seduced in Bath in the other novels, haha.

  4. I remember watching this movie a while back and being rather confused by Cathrine's "imagining scenes". Cathrine also annoys me a bit...for the same reasons you mentioned. ;) Still, I thought both the book and movie were cute! I enjoyed this review Naomi!

  5. Do I want to watch this movie?

    Well. Now you're asking ME. ("Winnie-the-Pooh," aka best source of quotes ever.)

    That depends. Meaning, it really depends on Henry (or rather, on the actor who plays him). Because I really, really, REALLY dislike Henry in the novel--for reasons already mentioned :) But Olivia tells me that he's sweeter and less annoying in the movie . . . so maybe. If he's the same in the film as in the book then I don't really want to watch it.

    Also. I'm not too keen on watching all the weird "imagining" stuff that they appear to have put in this movie. I know you can skip SOME of it but I don't see how you can possibly skip ALL of it . . . and I think it would just annoy me.

    Yeah. Basically. There's my answer for you :)

    I do love the pictures you included, though--they're very cute :)

    1. Jessica and Rosie, I really do think you'd like this movie;) Henry doesn't really have the rather condescending air that he does in the book. I mean, he teases Catherine, but Catherine herself is not quite as doe-eyed and "ditzy" as she is in the book, so she parries, and it all comes across as just an ADORABLE banter. Aside from that, he's just so dang lovable in the movie. And the skip-able parts...they're silly and unnecessary, but they are shown to be Catherine foolishly letting her imagination get the better of her, so it's not TOO bad. Still up to the two of you, of course, but I think you'd both enjoy it:)

    2. Thanks, Olivia! I'm glad to know that it's better in the movie. Because that was what reall bothered me in the novel--Henry was teasing Catherine in this "condescending" kind of way and she wasn't really able to understand/keep up and it was all just BLECH. So if they're more on an "equal level" in the movie I wouldn't mind so much. Maybe I will watch it sometime, after all :)

      Oh, Naomi--I just realized I forgot to answer your "is Henry Tilney handsome" question. Okay, so, personally I don't reeeeeeeeeally consider him handsome. He's not bad-looking, you understand; he just doesn't appeal to me PERSONALLY. (I think it does have a lot to do with what Rosie mentioned, about how a LOT of guys where we live look like that and so to us it's just "same old same old." If that makes sense.) But of course YOU can think he's handsome if you want to. I mean, obviously, there's no "right" answer here :)

  6. I have mixed feelings about this :P Yes, I don't like Henry Tilney. Catherine Morland is one of my least-favorite Austen heroines. The whole novel-immersion/dream-business puts me off. And a movie that has "skippable scenes." (or so I've heard, please correct me if I am wrong) . . . But at the same time, I am rather attracted the light-hearted feel and the colors and costumes. And I am curious to see Henry Tilney's sister . . . I am neutral right now I guess.
    That was a rather confused answer. Sorry 'bout that :P

    Oh and you wanted to know if I thought Henry Tilney was handsome. Now I don't want to offend you - but he seems rather ordinary to me *sorry* You see, he's pretty average compared to most people I see where I live - the norm, if you follow me. But it's not like I think he's ugly or anything. I like his grin, I do . . . I definitely see why people like him. He's got a likeable air about him I must say :P

    Great review Naomi! I feel like I know more about the movie now. I know my answers don't really show that but I do :) :) :)

  7. Very nice review, Naomi! I really want to see this movie sometime--though I'm very much annoyed that they added some objectionable scenes. That's just not right for a Jane Austen movie. :(

    There's a scene with Henry and Catherine married at the end...with a baby??? Aww! That's so cool! You don't see those kinds of scenes very often. Most times the movies just end with a wedding.

    I like both Catherine and Henry in the book. Catherine does have a pretty wild imagination, but I don't think she really annoys me. She's too cute for that. And Henry is such a dear when he finds out what she has been thinking. He's so understanding.

    Oh, I agree. Jane Austen must have had a lot of fun writing this novel. I know I would have enjoyed it. The opening is excellent!!!

    ~Miss March

  8. How have I never seen this movie before? It looks absolutely lovely! This Jane Austen week is currently the most delightful thing on the internet! Oh, and by the way Naomi, I LOVE your header and background. Do you think you'll have it up after Jane Austen week?

    1. Abby AWW THANKS. I'm so glad you're enjoying this!!! :-)
      I might keep the header for a while after this. But then I've got ideas for a Christmas blog "do." Sooo, we'll see. :-)

  9. I don't think I've read NA. I've watched two versions (including the one with JJ Fields). Yes and yes - Catherine is somewhat annoying as are the dream scenes. :) Do you think it would be alright if I quoted you about random people? "She's just not super super brilliant in the brain." Hahaha! I didn't remember the Allans being her aunt and uncle! Do they mention it in the movies? I guess I thought it was just some friends/acquaintances. That makes more sense now that they would shower her with gifts. Isabella is a dreadfully flirty girl and needs some help in the wardrobe department. Seriously. Her brother - shudder. Kind of creepy. Henry is funny - teasing Catherine about her diary and society rules and all. :) But I'm not exactly sure why he falls for her. Elinor seems sweet, maybe like the girl version of Henry without his sarcasm. How did the two of them come from their father? The other brother (whatever his name was) could easily be related to his father - they are both not very nice. I also don't remember the Catherine and Henry and baby scene. Maybe it's time to watch NA again? :)

    1. The Catherine and Henry with the baby scene is REALLY short. Like, just basically see them walking and that's it. :-) Maybe that's why you forgot.

  10. Lovely review!:D

    Just yes. Yes to it all.

    (Oh, and the scene with the Older Brother and Isabella doesn't really show anything graphic: we see them go behind a closed door, and then we see her lying in bed ("after the fact") with the coverlet over her, and he's standing by the fireplace in less-than-formal attire. I mean, we know what happened, but it's not explicit. It's also not really worth watching, though, so...except that we get a sliiiiiiight feeling of pity for Isabella over her own naïveté due to some of the dialogue. This was a really long explanation. I'm going to end it now;))

    Eleanor is so delightful! I loves her:) And yes, they have so many awkward-but-cute love scenes, don't they?

    Apparently I've missed a part where Henry climbs a tree. I DO NOT LIKE THAT I MISSED A PART WHERE HENRY CLIMBS A TREE! I'll have to remedy that;)

    Thanks for the review!:)

    1. You MISSED HENRY CLIMBING A TREE!!!! Well, you must rewatch it quickly. :-)

  11. Oops! It looks like Catherine already explained that one scene in her own comment. Sorry about that, Catherine! I didn't mean to copy you:D

    1. haha that's okay! You remembered it better than I did :)

    2. Thanks for telling me, Catherine (fitting name! Haha) and Olivia!

  12. I LOVE Northanger Abbey sooooooo much!!! The things that you don't particularly like about the movie I would agree whole heartedly with. Also, Mr. Tilney is just perfection:) Don't know if you have ever seen Austenland? Mr. Tilney/JJ.Field is in it also as a splendidly wonderful character (there are a few things in the movie I an not a fan of) but over all it is about a girl who is a HUGE fan of Jane Austen and the movie is quite funny at parts at how obsessed with Jane Austen the characters are:)

    1. Madison, no, I haven't seen Austenland! I've seen little bits of it, and I LOVE the look of JJ.Field's character. OF COURSE. :-D I think it looks a bit weird, though. :-P

  13. This review was so sweet! I loved this movie, it was so warm and fuzzy and sweet...

    And Henry Tilney. Oh my. I love him to bits and pieces, he is so sweet!

  14. Besides those couple things you mentioned (WHY DID THEY PUT THOSE IN?!?!?!?!) I love this movie so much! Northeranger Abbey is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels and Henry Tilney is AWESOME and hilarious! JJ Fields plays him to perfection and YES THAT SMIRK!!!! Cutest thing ever! :) I need to watch this movie again!!!!!

  15. I just showed this movie to my friend last week-it's so fun introducing favorites to your friends!
    And, I'm proud to say, she is now part of the Henry Tilney fan club. Who wouldn't love him???
    And YES! I want to see him preach, too!!
    Ahaha, the drink scene. Pooooor Henrrrryy. Isabella is so annoying. Ugh.
    The part with Henry and Catherine at the end with their baby! YEEESS. I actually never noticed it till the second time I saw the movie and it was SO CUTE.

    Anyways, I do love this movie, despite its faults, and no I don't love it JUST because of Henry. hee


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