Sanditon (2019)

Andrew Davies is no stranger to period drama (Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair) and does full justice to Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, Sanditon.

The story is very different from Austen’s usual style and makes for good television. There is plenty of drama, intrigue, deception with a sprinkling of Regency era romance. The novel had many different attempts to complete it, so creative liberties have been taken!

Brilliant performances by the leads Rose William and Theo James, but the one that stands out the most is the matriarch Anne Reid. Each character is well etched and acted, providing the authenticity to the proceedings.

For fans of her work, the story will come as a surprise! Enjoy the intricately woven historical plot!

Divergent (2014)

A post apocalyptic Chicago is divided into factions, based on human virtues. They are ‘Abnegation : selfless’, ‘Dauntless : brave’, ‘Erudite : Intelligent’, ‘Amity : peaceful’ and ‘Candor: honest’. While it would be impossible to divide a complex human race on such grounds, it has been done to control them and maintain peace.

Of course, everyone doesn’t fit neatly into the above. This is the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s first novel in her trilogy and makes an interesting watch especially for someone who hasn’t read the book. The beginning has an aftertaste of Harry Potter and its sorting ceremony, but quickly becomes far more riveting than a sorting hat putting you in a particular house.

It seems like a simple world, but disintegrates into similar patterns of power and politics, where one’s innate virtues are first used for them and later against them. The story is told via Beatrice’s (Shailene Woodley) journey, which is inspiring as well as predictable. She is supported by Four (Theo James), Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn and many others, who are restrained by a system which is utopian to say the least.

Kate Winslet makes a special powerful appearance, bringing a quality on screen which only she can. Director Neil Burger, who has made The Illusionist and Limitless, seems very much at home with the subject, weaving a believable world for us to experience.

Watch out for Insurgent and Allegiant which are already in pre-production.

3/5