Period pieces are defined by the use of costumes, set in a particular time or era, mainly Victorian era. But the there are other things as well which makes a film classified as a period film, such as the being made on true events, regardless of the era it concerns. The films surrounding say, WW 2 are period pieces but are rarely regarded so.
In this article we look at best period films, having different traits of a period film. Here we do not take into account the too generalised view of period films. Some of the entries here have indeed those traits, though the picks are all varied having different traits of period pieces
Though it is fairly made period piece based on Austen’s masterpiece, its just barely well enough, not matching the quality and originality. It has its glaring flaws, and a lot of them, including diluting the original beauty of Pride And Prejudice, caricaturist characterization, too fast pacing, horrible modernization of dialougues, also the apparent shallowness of it all, the inaccuracies in period and details and not to forget its many technical and narrative flaws. Yet its hard to ignore this film given the films unreal position in pop culture. It makes its hard for anyone to just neglect it. The only reason it exist in this list is because of its hype in film loving community, and it is risky business to drop from the list altogether.
The most recent film in the list is Spencer. Based on the story of Princess Diana, it offers a fictionalised version of her life. One should not make mistake to perceive it as based solely on reality. It just takes fragment of her life and creates a moving character study of a women in loss of surroundings. Its genuinely alluring, and fascinating experience. The performance from Kristen Stewart is the main focus point of this beautiful film.
Based on the true story, 12 Years Is A Slave is an unusual entry into this list. But it manages to make its place nonetheless. For one, it can safely be called as period piece, since it IS a period piece, though devoid of the extravagant nature of the other usual period pieces. And second, its really that good. It’s brutal and honest depiction of harsh, inhuman realities of American society at the time.
Based on the book by same name and set in the period of World War 2, the film is a haunting and poetic beauty. The tragic tale of love, conveyed with great leisure and undeniable passion. The films covers multiple timeliness with stories of multiple people woven with gentleness yet it all converges on a single focal point. The film with all its complexity never feels overbearing and stuffy. Its melancholic, tragic, leisurely and strangely beautiful.
Based on the true story of Alan Turing, The Imitation Game gives a new insight into the life of the said British mathematician with conviction. It shows how the genius of Alan Turing helped the cracking of German Enigma code in the World War 2 period. Though what makes The Imitation Game a great period drama is the depiction of Turing’s own tragic life, the subsequent fate of his life and eventual outcome.
Regarded as one of the most perfect period dramas that have come since past few years, Little Women is indeed worthy of that very accolade. It brings the good old feel of Victorian Novel perfectly, where families are so close, where the fields are wide and green, the costumes which are authentic and emotions which are sweet and real. Its an extraordinary film with great ensemble of cast, both old and new talents. The film beams with extraordinary sense of warmth and care. And one can feel with how much passion and love this film have been made. The emotions it has managed to bring throughout the film is able to make it sweetly exhausted experience.
Tess from Tess Of D’urbervilles is an utterly fascinating character study. The book itself is a great haunting masterpiece, known for its bleakness and haunting passages on human nature. It was quite a daunting task to adapt such a great book. Though Polanski’s Tess didn’t manage to bring the life of book on screen, it did fairly well. Its perhaps also his most personal work as well. The makers of the films did great in many areas, but most notably in the department of cinematography and visuals. It brings that era so perfectly and vividly.
Andrea Arnold’s version of the dreading, intimidating romance of Wuthering Heights is equally beautiful, and equally masterful as the Bronte’s own book. Rarely a film is so perfect in its adaptation of a book. Though some huge changes were made in the film, such as risky change in the major character of the book, and Arnold took a lot of liberties adapting the book, the result is nonetheless brooding and fascinating. The violent nature of the film is upsetting, the period is shown as mix of savagery and brutality, which rarely is the case in period dramas, yet it works.
Set in 18th century France, Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of A lady On Fire is a strangely alluring tale of love between two women meeting by fate. The amount of craft put into this astonishing, the passion is unreal and the love and care with which it is made is so true that it is impossible to miss this film. The precision and immaculate details it have is also extraordinary. The technical mastery is visually apparent. But most of all the heart and soul of the film lies in the chemistry of its two leads, played almost with hypnotic charm by both Adele Haenel and Neomie Merlant.
Immaculate, precise and deliberately made, Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon is one of the most skillful films ever made, let alone in any specific genre like period pieces. The attention to details is unreal. From costumes to music, to visuals, to the accuracy of the period, from mannerisms of the people from that period to the subtle reflections on the society of the time, everything is deliberately thought out with such intense focus on getting everything right. The obsession behind this film is all too great to be forgotten.