I know some people are freaking out waiting for the Downton Abbey movie. Guess what? I’ve got another Julian Fellowes/Elizabeth McGovern project to tide you over.
It’s called The Chaperone.
Full disclosure: the New York Times deemed it “an impeccably costumed, wishy-washy period piece,” and I agree with them on both counts. Elizabeth McGovern plays Norma Carlisle as if Cora Crawley woke up one morning in Wichita. Although she interprets the part with gentle empathy, it doesn’t really work.
But there are definitely worthwhile moments to this little movie. For me, just seeing a recreation of 1920s Central Park was more than enough. And a Riverside Drive apartment of the day! And the Children’s Aid Society! Everything is wonderful to look at. And I like very much that the writing attempts honesty about the social mores of the period, instead of prettying up history. (This is my beef about Grantchester, if anyone is interested in my beefs.)
I got a whole half of a sock done, and two hours closer to the Downton Abbey movie, while happily streaming The Chaperone on PBS Passport. It aired on my local station last month, so it’s out there, and probably viewable elsewhere also.
Bonus: there’s a lot of cool stuff about modern dance, including name-dropping the young Martha Graham.