I know that I promised an X Company post a few weeks ago, and I swear that I am working on it, but for now I decided to recommend some of my favourite historical movies. If you have any suggestions, I would be happy to hear them!
1) Suffragette, Directed by Sarah Gavron, starring Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, and tons of other amazing actresses.
I actually just recently saw this movie, and I loved it. It tells the story of some of the foot soldiers of the suffragette movement. Carey Mulligan brilliantly plays Maud Watts, a wife and mother who works at a Laundry who ends up being a huge part of the suffragette movement. She gives up her job and her family to help women get some semblance of equality. I loved how the director showed female friendship, and illustrated the atrocities that the women went through trying to get the vote. Gavron shows the nitty-gritty’s of the movement, no glorifying of the things that happened. (Warning: this movie talks about rape and shows someone being force-fed in jail as well as other violence)
2) Anna Karenina, Directed by Joe Wright, starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Alicia Vikander.
There are many versions of this classic, but this is by far my favourite. The movie and costumes are highly stylized and the scenes fit together beautifully. This is maybe not the most historically accurate movie, but it is done gorgeously, and everything works together to create something that will make you weep. The movie follows Anna (Knightley), a woman who has a life-changing affair with the dashing young Count Vronsky (Taylor-Johnson). Set in the late 1800s, the film captures the height of Russian society and exhibits some of the challenges that women have had throughout history. I loved the costumes in the movie, and if you have a thing for great cinematography (like me), this movie is definitely for you. (Warning: the movie revolves around an affair, and suicide is a large part of the movie)
3) Pride and Prejudice, any of the adaptations are great. Actually, any Jane Austen movies are great.
I love Pride and Prejudice. Mr Darcy, Elizabeth, all of the characters are fabulous, and Jane Austen books give you the ultimate romance on a charming regency set. If you want a more cheerful historical movie (and those can be hard to find), Jane Austen stories are the best bet.
4) Testament of Youth, Directed by James Kent, starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan.
This movie did not get the attention it deserved. It not only had a fabulous cast, but also great costumes, music, and cinematography. To make it even better, it was based on a true story. The movie follows Vera Brittian through the First World War, first when she got into Oxford, then when she became a nurse, and as she lost some of the people she loved the most. I cried through pretty much the whole movie. It was beautifully and respectfully done, and gives us some insight on why she became a pacifist. Please remember that it is a war movie, so there are many very difficult scenes.
5) The Great Gatsby, Directed by Baz Luhrmann, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan.
Another great classic that will get you to question humanity as a whole and fight with people you actually like about all of the characters in the book. Except for Tom Buchanan. Everyone hates that guy. I loved how this movie was done- over the top with a great soundtrack and amazing costumes. It fit the book perfectly, in my mind.
6) Marie Antoinette, Directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn.
History isn’t everyones cup of tea. This movie perfectly captures the extravagance of the French court just before the French Revolution in the late 1700s, all the while helping us modern people understand what it was like for Marie Antoinette. Most of the things that people know of her now are things that weren’t actually true, it was just propaganda (no, Marie Antoinette didn’t actually say ‘let them eat cake’.). The modern touches like the soundtrack and the converse that were snuck (is that the right word? It sounds wrong to me) into a shot help us understand what she went through, while still making a very enjoyable movie. Also, the aesthetic is pretty great.
There are tons and tons of other movies that I would like to recommend, but these are a few of my favourites. Some others that are deserving of your attention are:
7) Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley
8) Belle, directed by Amma Asante
9) The Imitation Game, directed by Morten Tyldum (this one is one of my favourite war movies, along with Saving Private Ryan and Schindlers List)
10) Atonement, directed by Joe Wright
Please feel free to add on to this list! Would anyone like another rec list, maybe for historical books or tv shows?
anytime i talk about moving to dc for work because i find it to be more integrated so many people look at me like i have two heads and i’m like guys our school is in a historically black neighborhood of brooklyn and we have a 2% black student population
The “write what you know” Maxim is a bullshit excuse to not writing marginalized characters because “what you know” isn’t a static concept. Knowledge isn’t a static concept.
Good writers research. That’s what “write what you know” means. If you want to write it, learn about it. That’s why there are entire Tumblrs dedicated to amassing historical accounts of Brooklyn during the Great Depression so that Bucky and Steve can bang with complete historical accuracy, because if we all wrote what we knew, fiction as a concept wouldn’t exist.
So really, if you don’t write people of color in your fiction, it’s not because you don’t know, it’s because you don’t want to.