Friday, October 24, 2008

Flip side of the 1890s, and more Stephen Fry

Tipping the Velvet (2002) is the BBC adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel. I've only seen the first of three episodes, and I'm loving it so far. I'm especially happy to be seeing it in the same week as Wilde since that is also set primarily in 1890s London. However, Wilde is a biography, whereas this is a coming of age tale. Oscar Wilde was upper middle class, and this takes place around the theatre world, which is working class; in fact Nan begins as an oyster girl. Some would call this a lesbian film, because the main characters are "tipping the velvet," a British term in the time for women's oral sex. The women play male impersonators on the stage, and are lesbians, so obviously this is one essential element of the story.

Now I want very much to read the novel. :-)

In another connection, also saw Stephen Fry in Peter's Friends by Kenneth Branagh, which also features Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, and Rita Rudner, to name those I knew. Imelda Stanton, who was Vera Drake in the film of the same name, was great as the over-protective, grieving mother. Branagh gives himself a juicy little role as the self-loathing fellow in the group of old friends who meet to celebrate New Year's 1992. The collage which opens the film is *wonderful*, if the story is a bit predictable. A quiet delight anyway. Yes, I did notice similarities to The Big Chill. However, there is room for more than one reunion movie on Earth.

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