Open Thread: The English Period Piece Edition

Published in: Just For Fun


I watched the best movie last night, and I liked it so much that the first thing I did this morning was start it at the beginning again while I had my coffee (I’m still on the decaf kick).


It’s called Far From the Madding Crowd and stars Carey Mulligan and a dude named Matthias Schoenaerts, whom I can’t remember seeing before, but note to self: I like the name Matthias.

There’s intrigue; multiple love triangles; a lamb as an engagement gift, which, not gonna lie, if a strapping farmer dude rolled up with a lamb and said, “Marry me,” I’d say yes (assuming I wasn’t already married); a smarmy soldier — basically all sorts of drama. Highly recommended.

Well, the funny thing is, a few years ago I wasn’t into English period pieces at all, and I think it was leftover trauma from college. I was an English major and at one point took an obscene number of British literature classes. I was just reading a whole bunch of 19th-century British lit over a matter of months, and by the end of it, I was so exhausted that I stayed away from period pieces for a long time…

But now I’m back! πŸ™‚

I blame Downton Abbey

So, open thread. I feel like doing one today because I’m in the mood to chat. Topics are your choice (we don’t have to talk about English period pieces, unless you want to).

See you in the comments!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Carolyn says:

    Hi Karen. I’m kinda loving this post. I’m a big English period piece addict. I work with a real Brit and he just gave me a bunch of shows and movies to watch on my staycation next week. One of my favourites is called North & South. It stars Richard Armitage (yum!) and Bates from Downton Abbey is in it too. But I’m definitely gonna check out the movie you mention above. Thanks for the recommendation. Hope you’re having a good week!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      I’m going to add North & South to my list, so thank YOU for the recommendation! What else is on your staycation list?

      Oh, and yay for staycations! I could use one right now. lol

      • Carolyn says:

        For my staycation I am going home to visit my family so I won’t be at my house but I think it’s still a staycation. My parents and sister are all teachers so they’re off for the summer. I don’t care if our day consists of going to Costco and cutting the grass, I just need to be with my family and recharge. We’ll probably watch movies, have campfires, swim, go shopping. Just normal, everyday stuff. Although my mom wants to do an all day bike trip and finish that off with a stop at the best poutine place in Canada! Yay! So I’m just really excited to relax and have fun with my family. I’m super close with my parents and sisters and it’s hard with them living so far away. I haven’t seen them since Christmas. But I always give myself a couple extra days at home after a visit before I go back to work. I’m a crazy organized neat freak so I like to tear my house apart and re-organize it every few months. That is pure relaxation right there.
        I hope you get a chance for a bit of a staycation. What would you do?

        • Karen says:

          Your staycation sounds wonderful! I’m close to my family too and try to see them at least once or twice and month (they live about an hour away). I’m sure it must be difficult to only see yours a couple times a year, but those times must be really, really nice — every the normal everyday stuff becomes special.

          I totally get what you mean about cleaning and organizing. After my house is clean I feel so good! I do need help in the organization dept. I wish you could tear apart my condo and reorganize it, LOL! You’d feel very relaxed afterward, haha! I’m kind of a mess when it comes to keeping things in place.

          Honestly, if I did a staycation what I would want to do is sleep for a couple of days at first, and spend those days with no structure. I crave unstructured “me” time where I get to do whatever I want, and on my schedule. Then I’d go swimming every day in the morning, and then watch movies in the afternoon when it got too hot.

          That’s cool that your parents and your sister are teachers. Are you a teacher, too?

      • Thomasina says:

        Omg yes! I love North and South…I need to watch that again! I also really enjoy French period movies…I would recommend Ridicule (I believe it’s on ye olde Netflix). I love this post! πŸ™‚

    • Suzanne says:

      North and South was the first thing that popped into my head when I read the title of this post, Carolyn! Soooooo good! But then, I will literally watch anything with Richard Armitage in it. Definitely try it, Karen.

  2. For some reason I never got into the whole English period piece thing… I’m still stuck in the whole vampire, sci-fi, supernatural thing πŸ™‚ Right now I’m watching The Tomorrow People on Netflix. It’s not *that* great and at some point I felt like throwing in the towel, but somehow the series ended up sucking me in anyway. I’m almost done with it now.
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  3. Agata says:

    Hi Karen, the movie sounds like something I’d enjoy. I studied a lot of English literature back in college and I really liked it. Jane Austen? Yes, please.

  4. Rachel says:

    Love Downton Abbey, so addicting! I don’t have cable or Netflix, so my TV viewing consists of whatever DVDs I can get from the library, and the few PBS channels I can get with my rabbit ears. Last night there was a show about King Henry the 8th and Anne Boelyn, very interesting! I will be tuning in next week for the next part!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel,

      My library has DVDs too! Have you watched any interesting DVDs lately?

      • Rachel says:

        The library has lots of series I’ve watched, including Downton Abbey, Dexter, Sopranos, Portlania, and Breaking Bad. Looking for a new one to start, I might go with The Walking Dead, I know you’re a huge fan!

  5. Lulle says:

    Hey Karen!
    I know you’ve been to Hawaii a number of times, but I don’t remember which island your in-laws used to live on. I’m going to Kauai in September (yay!!!), do you have any recommendations of things to do/see? I’m pretty excited, we want to hike, snorkel, and enjoy the island vibe. We’re gonna be camping most of the time!
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  6. Kalli says:

    I love period piece movies! Especially ones that have super lush costuming and setpieces. Off the top of my head, Restoration comes to mind and also Perfume, both are on Netflix. I like watching those types of movies on a Sunday morning with a big cup of coffee. I love Downton Abbey too! Although it’s totally a soap opera disguised as a period drama. Another one I liked was Upstairs Downstairs. Same premise as Downton (rich family with their problems + house staff in England and about the same time period), but it was filmed in the 70s/80s for the BBC. It used to be on Netflix a long time ago, but I don’t think it’s there anymore.
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    • Karen says:

      Thanks Kalli, I’ll look Restoration and Perfume up on Netflix.

      Speaking of Netflix, don’t bother with the Wet Hot American Summer show with Paul Rudd. I tried watching it and barely made it through the first episode.

      • Kalli says:

        Perfume gets really WTF-y towards the end and Dustin Hoffman is laughably miscast as a 17th century Italian perfumer, but it was entertaining. Restoration won 2 Oscars for costuming & set design back in the 90s and it has Robert Downey Jr. and Meg Ryan!

        I actually watched all of the new Wet Hot series and I loved it! I’m a big fan of the original movie though, so maybe that’s why.

  7. Tatiana says:

    I want to see “Far From The Madding Crowd” so much. But I’m the only in my family who wants to watch it. I guess I’ll have to find time to see it on my own. But I always like sharing movies and good TV shows with the family. Sigh

    • Karen says:

      You should just have your family watch it with you! El Hub didn’t think he’d be into it at first but he totally got wrapped up in the story too. I think they’ll like it! There’s lots of drama and intrigue.

  8. Allison C says:

    This is definitely my jam! I loved the movie. And I was reading the book which is actually quite funny, though it takes some concentration to read since the language is both archaic and specific to the English countryside. I need to renew the book and continue on. But then, I love English literature and all of the English period pieces and always have πŸ™‚
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    • Karen says:

      Hi Allison,

      I think I might try to read the book. We’ll see how far I get into it before the trauma from college sets back in.

      Have you seen any good movies lately?

      • Allison says:

        The book requires some concentration but if you have read 19th century English novels, you know that! It is not nearly as dour as Hardy’s other books πŸ™‚ Jeff & I saw the movie about a month ago, and we both liked it. The last movies we saw were Love & Mercy about Brian Wilson and Mr. Holmes, a charming take on Sherlock in old age. I really want to see the Amy Winehouse documentary and The End of the Tour about David Foster Wallace. I like movies a lot but we see more of them in the winter than in the summer, though there are some good ones around this summer πŸ™‚

  9. Gabby T says:

    Nothing better to watch when I am sick than Sense & Sensibility with Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson & Hugh Grant. To this day that is my go-to! But then I could watch all Jane Austen adaptations all day……Emma, Pride & Prejudice, Mansfield Park…..But that specific Sense & Sensibility just holds up so well – I think because. in addition to the excellent cast) it was directed by Ang Lee and Emma Thompson actually won an Oscar for adapting the screenplay! Highly recommend πŸ˜‰

    • Ashleigh says:

      Yes! That is such a great film. Alan Rickman honestly just does it for me… He is perfect in that role.

      • Gabby T says:

        It’s so funny that you say that. I always refer to him as “Colonel Brandon” because I can never remember his name. My husband saw who I was referring to a couple of years ago and said “I don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s Hans Gruber!” (Die Hard apparently? I’ve never seen it). And to my step-daughter he is Professor Snape! It’s amazing what a chameleon he is.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gabby,

      I love that movie too and have watched it a few times. πŸ™‚ I haven’t watched Mansfield Park but think that I’ve seen it on Netflix. It’s on the list!

      If you can watch Far From the Madding Crowd. It’s SO good!

      • GabbyT says:

        I just put it in my Amazon watchlist – thank you for reminding me it was out there! I read the book in high school but have completely forgotten the plot!

  10. Katherine M says:

    English period movies and shows can be a lot of fun! I love the tv show North and South as well, about the Civil War. I went on a Civil War kick for a while because we have so much history here in MD (Antietam, South Mountain, Monocacy National Battlefield, and Gettysburg and Bull Run are close by in PA and VA).

    I’ve honestly been rewatching Jersey Shore. I couldn’t stand that show when it first came out, but then I realized how much like my Jersey relatives the cast was/is. I got hooked on it. Still can’t believe Snooki and Jionni are married after all she put him through in Season 4 and 5. It’s kind of interesting to see them “grown up” now.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katherine,

      I’ll see if I can find that show!

      Funny that you mention Jersey Shore. I used to watch it in the beginning but stopped after a while. I can’t believe Snooki and Jionni are still together! Good for them. I hope that they make it.

  11. denise S says:

    My favorite movie genre is mystery and horror. But I love British movies and tv shows . The Midsomer Murders series are so good I brought most of them. I also really like Downton Abbey, Detective Hercule Poirot and Second Sight about a detective who is psychic.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Denise,

      Thank you for all these recs. Adding them to my list!

      If you like British shows you should check out Luther from BBC starring Idris Elba. It’s a character-driven show with great acting. It can get scary at times but it’s very good.

  12. Ruchita says:

    I have heard of this movie, but haven’t seen it yet. Glad to hear it’s good. I’ll have to look it up! I think I read the book years ago for school.

    I recently started watching The Fall on Netflix with Gillian Anderson and a pre-50 Shades Jamie Dornan. It’s definitely not a feel good type of show, but it’s interesting and I’m hooked!

    Happy Thursday to you and Tabs!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruchita,

      I watched that series on Netfix a while back. When you get to the end of it let me know so we can talk about it.

      By the way, I think you were the person who recommended the po’ boys at Erin Rose bar in NOLA. If I haven’t yet, THANK YOU! Those sandwiches were one of the highlights of my trip.

      • Ruchita says:

        Cool, I’m only on episode three, but I’m hoping to watch more this weekend.

        Yes, I did mention the po boy place in the back of Erin Rose! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. We actually just booked a return trip for December. We usually take vacation the last week of the year, so this time I wanted to go somewhere fun. Can’t wait to have more beignets!

        • Karen says:

          Oh how exciting! Are you guys going just for fun or is there a special event or a conference?

          • Ruchita says:

            Just for fun. πŸ™‚ We were only there for a few days last time and there is so much more to see. I’m not sure what the weather will be like, but it has to be better than Ohio in winter!

            Also, my husband is a huge fan of tiki drinks and craft cocktails and there are some great bars and restaurants down there.

          • Karen says:

            That’s so cool! I would love to go back someday. I hope that the weather is kind to you.

            I remember you mentioning that your hubby loved craft cocktails. Did he ever work as a bartender?

            OK, so, I have a restaurant rec for yo. My BFF Cindy sent this to me but unfortunately we didn’t make it.


            It’s supposed to be really delicious. Like, “Best Meal of Your Life” delicious.

  13. Kelsey C. says:

    This is also a new remake of Madame Bovary with Mia Wasikowska. A Little Chaos while french has Kate Winslet and Alen Rickman as King Louis XIV in it. Wives and Daughters is wonderful…well any of the Elizabeth Gaskell shows are a must watch.

  14. Efrain says:

    I’m on a sort of vacation in my grandma’s house and the weather is HOT (90Β°F but the forecast says it feels like 101Β°F) I don’t know how you wore makeup at NOLA here it’s also really humid and the only thing I’m wearing is sunscreen, powder sunscreen, brow pencil and blush; and that’s only if I go out.

    In fact I wanted to wear highlighter but with the sweat and shine you look like strobing in a few hours.

    I’ve eaten a lot and also went to the beach (we’re near to Alvarado in the Gulf of Mexico) and even the fact I wear sunscreen like crazy I developed a slight tan.

    Also have you heard 2NE1’s Come back home, I heard it because people said Bad blood’s video stole the idea from that song. In my opinion they’re not equal but I love the South-Korean song

    • Karen says:

      I don’t know how I did either. But I had the camera with me and figured that I’d be taking pictures. If there were no pics up in the mix I would’ve probably just kept it to brow pencil and gloss, lol.

      And lol how you mentioned strobing. Being sweaty is like nature’s way method of strobing, haha!

      Have you eaten anything really yummy? Does your family have good cooks?

      And nope, I haven’t heard that song. I’ll look it up on youtube!

      • Efrain says:

        Yes, from gorditas to roasted chicken (I need to get the recipe ASAP) and seafood. My grandma has many recipes but with the heat no one wants to cook. Also I’ve eaten pan de dulce, dulce de leche and I’m going to buy tamales.

        • Karen says:

          Oh my gosh, sounds so good! I’m the same way when it’s hot — don’t want to cook at all! All I’ve been eating lately is breakfast foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Oh, and beans and rice. I’ve been craving Puerto Rican beans and rice like crazy.

          How long are you on vacation? And is the beach that you go to a swimming beach? With the beaches up here in Northern California, the water is very cold, so you can’t get into the water unless you’re wearing a wetsuit.

          • Efrain says:

            Also mole and banana chips, yummy. I return tomorrow to Puebla and yes the water here is super warm but isn’t deep enough to swim easily; you have to walk inside the ocean around 5-10 m to get the water over you belly button.

  15. Tulipthecat says:

    I love Downtown Abby but I’m like a season and a half behind. I’ll probably catch up when I go on vacation at the end of September. I’m going to Dubai and it’s a 15 hour plane trip so it would be a good time to catch up. I love anything Jane Austen. I’m also behind on the Walking Dead but I cheated and watched the last half of last season. Lately I haven’t been watching that much TV or movies.

  16. Alex says:

    I’m so excited to watch this!!! A fellow history buff and I used to get together for ‘historical movie night’, which meant any movie set in the past, distant or not-so. She’s been dragging her feet so I may just have to watch it without her! The score from this movie is magnificent and I’ve been listening to it on repeat.

  17. Kirsten says:

    Gosford Park, maybe? I thought that was pretty good. Maurice and The King’s Speech are both on my list to watch someday. A Royal Affair was really good if you don’t mind branching out from English movies.

  18. Rita says:

    I’m late to the party but, Karen, you need to see North & South – that surpression of feelings, uh!

    I’m a big fan of British tv-series, police/crime series especially. I prefer the older ones (or the ones that date back in time). Morse is a classic (many episodes, should be watched from to beginning really), and I highly recommend Endevour, a new-ish serie that follows Morse as a young policier. Besides Luther, another great modern serie is Scott & Bailey featuring two women.

    I was actually watching a rerun of Downton Abbey last night. Waiting for the new episodes to start here (I’m in Europe). This summer I’ve been watching also Outlander.

  19. Deanna says:

    I was an English major in college, too, so I totally understand why you avoided English period pieces for a while! I’ll have to check this movie out. Confession: I’m not a huge Jane Austen fan. I know, I know–an English major who isn’t a fan of her work is a rarity. However, one of my favorite movies of all time is Pride and Prejudice, the Keira Knightley version. If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely check it out!

  20. Ruta says:

    Hi Karen!
    Never truly got into period drama (sci-fi buff in the extreme, and currently watching dark angel reruns at the expense of my academic career :D) BUT i watched Outlander recently, rather good, a Jane Austen meets Game of Thrones sort of set up. With hot Scotsmen running around the place. Also stars a strong-headed female lead who is the spitting image of Carey Mulligan in that poster!

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