Saturday, March 2, 2013

He Knew He Was Right

But was he?

He Knew He Was Right is a BBC mini-series of four, fifty-minute long episodes, based on the 1869 novel by Anthony Trollope.

Emily and Colonel Osborne being friendly...

There are three loosely connected plot lines that make up this story. The main one centers on a young happy couple, Louis and Emily Trevelyan (Oliver Dimsdale and Laura Fraser). The conflict gets off to an early start in the first episode when Emily is frequently visited by her godfather Colonel Osborne (Bill Nighy), who has a bad reputation for mischief when it comes to other men's wives. Louis asks Emily to stop seeing him after he hears some gossip going around, but she doesn't want to, as she's done nothing wrong, and doesn't want to appear as if she has by changing her behavior. Louis then begins to suspect her as well, and things escalate quickly from there.

This plot line is honestly pretty annoying. The scenario is rather unrealistic, and it drags on until you wish it would end just so it wouldn't keep interrupting the other two-and-a-half plots. I say "half" because this plot also involves Emily's sister Nora (Christina Cole), and a couple of suitors for her, Hugh Stanbury (Stephen Campbell Moore) and Mr. Glascock (Raymond Coulthard). Not much happens, but it's at least considerably less annoying.

Nora, and Hugh Stanbury

Another story line involves a young lady, Dorothy Stanbury, (Caroline Martin) who goes to visit her old aunt Miss Stanbury (Anna Massey), who takes a fancy to her and tries to arrange a marriage between her and a flirtatious clergyman, Reverend Gibson (David Tennant!) who is interested not so much in her as he is her two thousand pounds. Matthew Goode also makes a  appearance in this plot line.

And lastly, my favorite plot line follows Rev. Gibson and his being chased by two very desperate sisters Arabella and Camilla French (Fenella Woolgar and Claudie Blakley). This plot line is absolutely hilarious. Tennant is the reason I wanted to see this, and he's the main reason I enjoyed it.

Arabella, Rev. Gibson, and Camilla. Seeing Ten with old fashioned hair was very strange...

With the acting, filming costumes and such I have no complaints. The costumes were lovely, the acting wasn't distracting and therefore good, and the filming in general standard, with one exception; every once in a while, a character will breach the fourth wall, speak directly into the camera and explain their thoughts to you. It's a bit strange and awkward, but I wasn't involved in the show enough to care, and actually thought it was amusing, especially when Tennant's character did it.

One of the best things about this series was the opportunity to play "can you recognize that period drama actor?" Practically every character we recognized from somewhere else, and we had a lot of fun trying to figure out where we'd seen them. Like Nora was Mrs. Elton in the 2009 BBC Emma, and Mr. Glascock was Frank Churchill in the 1996 TV version of the same. My favorite though, has to be Fenella Woolgar, who reunited with David Tennant on a Doctor Who, where she played Agatha Christie.

Tennant and Woolgar in "The Unicorn and the Wasp." And yay, the hair's back to normal.

But that's enough trivia, back to the reviewing... actually, there's not much left to say. I thought overall the "main" plot line was worth sitting through in order to see the others, and I did enjoy myself in spite of being slightly irked half the time. In fact, it was a very good cautionary tale, though it seems unlikely that anyone could be as stubborn and ridiculous as some of these characters. I thought it would certainly be worth seeing once... and I was right.

- 3 stars.

Review number two for this challenge!


  1. Great review! I watched this movie about a year ago and actually loved it. Parts of it were funny, but the main storyline between Louis and Emily did annoy me too. I thought that Emily should have been a lot more considerate of how her husband felt right from the start. Instead, Emily completely ignored her husband's feelings which aided in the demise of her marriage. Her godfather was clearly a scoundrel.

    1. Thanks! I agree; Emily could have diffused the situation easily if she hadn't been so stubborn. I could forgive her more easily though, because she was supposed to be kind of naive about society, and Louis never bothered to explain to her why he wanted her to stop seeing Osbourne. They had a major communication problem! Plus Louis was crazy. Haha...

  2. I've never heard of this movie, but oooh, David Tennant! Intriguing.

    Anyway, I'm giving you the Liebster Award! (Has nothing to do with lobsters, honest!) Read my post here for details :-)