'Northanger Abbey' - Movie Review

Jane Austen wrote a satire - a lot of people don't know that. Partly because it's not her best writing, possibly because - by modern standards - it's a bit difficult to identify as a satire. It might seem that it's just a bit ... silly. The fact that modern audiences possibly can't even tell that Austen's tongue is planted firmly in her cheek makes the story exceptionally hard to film ...

Catherine Morland is a young woman who loves her Gothic novels (Wikipedia defines them by saying they include "a threatening mystery and an ancestral curse, as well as countless trappings such as hidden passages and oft-fainting heroines"). Catherine is invited to Bath by her rich friends the Allens, where she meets many new people - among them Henry Tilney. She's invited to the Tilney house, Northanger Abbey - a large and forbidding place full of history, where her imagination leans to the books she's always reading. My biggest problem with the novel (yes, I read it) was that while Catherine is fairly sweet, Henry is a great deal more intelligent than her and I really thought it was a bad match ... who knows, maybe that's part of the satire.

This production with Katharine Schlesinger as Catherine Moreland, and Peter Firth as Henry Tilney, is a slight thing of almost no substance and decidedly poor acting. Plot points are given so little time that you really don't have time to register them before we've moved on, and a great deal of the book's content has been removed. It's an exceptionally weak production that's already well on its way to being deservedly forgotten.