Best of British

There I was, waxing lyrical somewhere or the other about how much I love the autumn, and here I am now, nursing a cold, watching the teeming rain through the sash window as it makes the giant oat grass bow down under its weight. Hello, weather gods! I meant autumn sans cold and avec clear blue days of brilliant slanting light. Hmm. That’s changeability for you. I also waxed lyrical about Fougere Bengale a couple of weeks back, and now my bottle is destined to be stuck in transit somewhere for the time being; a postal strike of almost a week was announced immediately after I ordered it. Anticipation is sometimes the best part of desire though, isn’t it? So, I’m telling myself this is all small fry really, when there’s so much in life of interest and goodness. See what a chirpy chappy I am, even as I blow my nose, sounding like a whale exhaling?

Two things have shaped the title of today’s post, the first filmic and the second (watch for the feeble segueway!) scented. Bear with me.

Here in the UK we normally get to see films / movies several weeks after you’ve had ’em in the States. Junkets etc, I’ve always thought. Once in a while though, especially with the home-brewed variety, we trump you. And so it came to pass that Atonement, starring Keira Knightley (quit with the hissing, wouldja?) and James McAvoy was released at the start of September, and it doesn’t hit your shores until December, I believe.

Damn, it’s worth waiting for. I loved the book, but then I’m quite the McEwan fanboy. Except for a few misses (Amsterdam), his novels manage that exceptional balance between literary flourish and gripping narrative. For example, if you’ve not tried it, I heartily recommend the opening sequence of Enduring Love – a ballooning accident occurs, and the tale is retold and reshaped by its witnesses. It’s a masterpiece of thrilling literary writing. It also deals with a couple of McEwan’s concerns that resurface in new forms in Atonement; namely, how we restructure narratives in our memory after they have occurred (the old ‘What is truth?’ shenanigans), and how we deal with guilt.

I’m as sentimental as they come when it’s visual – I cry with absurd ease at the cinema. All I need is a trailer. Strings playing in a minor key? Check. Sweeping establishing shot followed by cut to face of despair? Check. Lee’s eyes welling with tears, a tremble on his lips? Check. But with novels, it’s trickier. Generally, they engage my intellect more effectively than they do my heart. Yet, with Atonement, by the end, the welling, the tremble and the intellectual satisfaction were all there. That book punched me in the gut like no other. McEwan’s often accused of being too cerebral – read the ending of this novel and still say that, and I’ll say there’s something wrong with you. Probably.
The story has four sections. First, the hottest day of the summer, 1935. Grand house in Surrey. 13 year old Briony Tallis watches something occur between her sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, Cambridge educated son of the house’s charlady. She misinterprets and by the end of the day has wilfully shaped her story to affect all of their futures. This is the slow part of the novel (to me, beautifully so), where particular events are recast from different perspectives, so that the reader knows more than any of the participants. Second, 1940, northern France. The British are retreating to Dunkirk. Robbie Turner, with two other soldiers, is attempting to reach the coast without being bombed, shot or otherwise waylaid. Cecilia, through letters and his memories of their love, is calling him to return. Third, 1940, London. Briony Tallis is in her first year of nursing, instead of studying at Girton, Cambridge, and witnesses the arrival of the troops from France. The final section, a coda outside the frame of the novel proper, is in first person, and occurs in 1999. Briony Tallis is going to attend her 77th birthday party. She completes the story for us.
The sections are tied together with remarkable flair and exceptional writing. There are sentences here to linger over and love. And I though when I read the novel on publication that it was unfilmable – the shifting narrative perspective, the repetitive structure of the first act (which takes up half of the book), the final first person viewpoint (and no spoilers here as to why). But the film is wondrous. To begin with, it’s exceptionally beautiful, like watching a series of exquisite paintings brought together into a story. The hot summer is captured with impressionistic lyricism and wondrous editing. Overgrown borders, heat hazes, languor, pent-up desire – it’s all there. This of course contrasts remarkably with the loss of saturated colour for Dunkirk and pre-Blitz London, alongside a bravura four minute shot of the beach as we follow Robbie’s fading hope in the face of disaster. It’s a ‘I can’t get it out of my head’ film, and even though I had a few quibbles – I always do! – it continues to haunt me.

Most impressive of all is the cast. Keira Knightley has faced plenty of criticism in the press here, for her inability to act, her skinniness, (insert anything here that goes along with the current misanthropic vein of British tabloid journalism). Here, she shows she’s a film star, up with the best of them. She assumes the clipped vowels of pre-war received pronunciation, and these combine perfectly with her frequently petulant poutface. But it’s James McAvoy who carries the film. You’ll fall in love with him, guaranteed, even if you’re old enough to be his ma or pa.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Go here for more if you want, including some footage of the film itself. Watch the letter writing sequence for a sense of wonder, alongside an alternative glimpse of the ideas director Joe Wright also used in the Coco Mademoiselle ad.

See, I did get to scent. I don’t imagine Cecilia Tallis wearing Coco Mademoiselle, as it happens. (She does apply perfume in the novel – to her elbows, curiously – or at least, that’s what I remember). Instead, she’s the type for a difficult chypre or a grown-up’s oriental (Coco?), something with a powerfully animalic base, or with dark hiding behind the glitter.

Nuit Noire perhaps, or Ormonde Woman. And there’s my real segueway. Cos I was killing time yesterday surfing around, debating whether to buy a bottle of Ormonde Man, just because, when I spotted that the Ormonde Jayne site is now open to international orders – sample sets and everything. How long has it been like this? I know OJ perfumes were all the rage on blogs and boards a while back, rekindled by the launch of Orris Noir, but I’ve not seen them mentioned for a while. They are exceptional, British-made scents. I love Champaca (though not for me) and Ormonde Man (for me!), and there are several others worthy of adoration too. In the spirit of rekindling some OJ love (and I don’t mean the recently arrested former star), I have three spray vials of OJ florals – and Orris Noir – to give away to one lucky commenter. Just let me know if you want to be in the draw.

I also want to hear your thoughts on Atonement.

Signed,
A man obsessed (and not just with pretty boy McAvoy).

  • AdaVeen says:

    I’ve been a fan of McEwan’s writing for a decade or so, even reading some of his early (and pretty stomach-turning) work, like the series of stories called First Love, Last Rites. McEwan loves jabbing his finger in all that is ugly, unimaginable, dark, and macabre (e.g. The Cement Garden — in a nutshell: love, death, incest, in no particular order). While I appreciated Atonement for its entertainment value, it’s capturing of time & place, and its well crafted prose, I felt the ending was too pat. The plot was more precious and accessible than some of McEwan’s other stuff. I prefer his more cerebral & wry novels like The Innocent, Amsterdam, and Enduring Love. Can’t wait to see the film, though.

    So lessee… If Ian McEwan were a perfume… he’d be something dirty, dark and mysterious with a cold, precise aldehydic presentation — razor-sharp intellect at the surface, scatalogical & hypersexual beneath… Thoughts?

  • Calypso says:

    I found the book just offensively manipulative and clever, and hated it. So I have no interest in seeing the film. That emerald gown looks good on Keira, though. As for McAvoy, he’s too bland-looking. Plus he looks like he’s about 14. Thank God Hugo Weaving replaced him in “V for Vendetta.”

    • Lee says:

      Please don’t hold back on my account!

      :d

      I love clever books and as far as I know, all books manipulate the reader in one form or another – and whilst I don’t want to give the plot away here, I think it’s genius how McEwan plays with our expectations and our investment in characters as real people. My heart aches when I think about it… But, horses for courses.

      As for Jimmy, he is kind of ordinary, but never bland. He has a youthful (but not adolescent! You must have very different eyes to me), quotidian beauty. I think that’s part of his power as an actor – a human everyman with eyes that sparkle with soul. He is truly exceptional in this film – the furthest reaches from bland imaginable. as he was in the first TV series of ‘Shameless’ – exceptional. Exceptional. Exceptional. I’m hoping you’re convinced by repetition. He can do more with a facial expression than most Hollwood adoni can with an entire film. And that ain’t hyperbole…
      As for V for Vendetta – I’ll save my thoughts about that shambolic desecration of a brilliant graphic novel for another time…

  • Kyra says:

    I got the whole sample set back in March, no gorgeous satin bag but a lovely ribbon and 8 pounds less so no complaints here.So I can miss this draw, but I’m delighted to hear that if I wait a few months, shipping will drop. I need Tolu and Orris Noir someday.

  • Mimmimmim says:

    Oh, you’re evil, Lee. I got testers of the OJs last year and have been avoiding buying any of them because they’re a bit pricy. I really want Champaca and Ormonde Woman, though… I think I’m going to have to ask Husband Claus to deliver them for Christmas.

    I find it baffling that people find Nuit Noire difficult – it’s a comfort scent to me. It’s so warm and rich.

    • Lee says:

      I don’t find NN difficult at all either… it’s totally reassuring to me! Enjoy the OJs WHEN you get them…;)

  • Judith says:

    Hi Maria–I just wanted to say I have a milder version of your phobia. I haven’t stopped reading/watching anything because of it, but it makes me EXTREMELY uncomfortable until it is worked out (even when it is perfectly clear that it is going to be).

  • sweetlife says:

    I loved Atonement the book — but mostly because Briony was such an odd character. Never seen a young girl quite like that in fiction. She was like a mean version of some of Madeline L’Engle’s kids…

    Thanks for the update on Ormonde, Elle. I’ve been waiting patiently for the U.S. website to order my sampler set. Guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer.

    Do put me in the draw, Lee, thanks!

    • Lee says:

      You’re in! Briony is a unique invention isn’t she, though there’s also plenty there to identify with – that adolescent realisation of all those bilions of lives, with as much value as your own….

      You’re in!

  • rosarita says:

    There is nothing better than a review of a good book, written by someone who loves the story passionately. I’m between books and you have just provided me with my next read; your description of the movie is wonderful, thanks. And while I don’t envy you your cold, a slatey autumn afternoon sounds like just the ticket. In my part of the world it’s very unseasonably warm and I’m so ready for my ambery perfumes and sweatery walks.

    I’ve yet to try an OJ scent, so I would love to be entered in the drawing. Hope your sense of smell returns soon.:)

    • Lee says:

      I seem to still have my sense of smell, but my sinuses and voice are bearing the brunt – I sound like a cross between Barry White and Donald Duck.

      You’re in the draw, and I hope you enjoy the book!

  • Andy says:

    Late as always…Just came by to say “get your nose clean soon” and I am glad to have found a fellow cinema “weeper” .

  • Sarah says:

    Dying to try some OJs after reading about them here…and, I must admit, really want to read “Atonement” now. Sounds incredible…and how is KK any worse than any other young starlet out there? I’m not sure any of them can act, and they’re all far too skinny. Once again, let’s go back to Kate Winslet as a shining example of how a woman should look, not to mention her work. I adored her in Sense & Sensibility and Eternal Sunshine.

    • JenniferR says:

      I’m with Sarah on starlets, KK, and Kate Winslet. That said, Lee, you’ve still whetted my appetite for the film of “Atonement.” (But then, the way you write tends to whet my appetite for most things you post about …)
      One objection … however much la Knightley works her acting skills, she evidently wasn’t willing to give up her excessively pilates/yoga toned early 21st-century arms to actually LOOK the part 🙂
      The OJs are next (or next-to-next?) on my to-try list, but like Divalano I don’t want to be a drawing hog — I’ve won twice in the past six months, so best to leave me out this time. I’ll content myself with the JARs that Patty just sent me. LOVING them!

      • Lee says:

        But somehow, someway, that angular frame fits the film and the 30s so well – kind of like Woolf without the Modigliani qualities. There’s a necessary waif-like quality to Cecilia in the film, especially in the fountain sequence. And in spite of what I think about the trend towards hideously skinny, she does look incredible in the green dress. Truly.

        Thanks for the lovely compliment, and enjoy the incredible JARs.

    • Lee says:

      You’re in – I agree about Kate Winslet too. Though, see my reply below.

  • KarenG says:

    Loved that novel, and love this post. I’m a big McEwan fan, and I’m glad to hear the film is worthy of the book. I cried like a baby when I read it (hell, I started welling up reading your post), so I may wait until the DVD comes out so I can do my blubbering in private. Have you read McEwan’s latest, “On Chesil Beach”? I haven’t yet.
    I would love to be in the draw. Thanks!

    • Lee says:

      You’re in. I haven’t read ‘OCB’ yet – skinflint is waiting for the paperback this time. Though I might be borrowing it from a friend.

      I think you have to see it at the cinema – it’s big screen in every way.

  • Teri says:

    Ooooooooo, I’ve been wanting to try the OJ scents. That’s resolution number 19 on my fragrance “to-do” list. So please enter me in your draw.

    I’ve always thought Keira Knightley had more acting ability than she’s given credit for. In all fairness, with the exception of Pride and Prejudice, she hasn’t had very many meaty roles to show us what she can do. I think she’s brought a lot of the criticism down on her own head, to be frank. Whenever I see her interviewed, she’s always going on about how plain she is, or how thin she is, etc. I think if she’d be kinder to herself, others would follow her lead.

  • Kelley says:

    Have you seen James in “Children of Dune”? I think he is half naked throughout the whole series. I am going to check out McEwan. I haven’t read any of his books…how can that be?

    Feel better Lee!

  • Robin says:

    Huge fan of McEwan here — I even liked Amsterdam, though admittedly it isn’t his best. Glad to hear they didn’t botch the movie!

  • Billy says:

    I’ve been meaning to try Ormonde Man for the longest time…you may have convinced me to order a sample. And THANK YOU so much for taking up the cause of Keira Knightley! I’m a very critical guy, but I really do believe that she is one of our greatest young movie stars and that she has the potential to have a fantastically long career, as long as she doesn’t get stuck in a period rut. If she can pull off modern (like she did in Bend it like Beckham), she could be the next….Cate Blanchett? Meryl? Ok, fine, I won’t make those comparisons just yet.

    Oh, and please enter me in the drawing!!

  • donanicola says:

    I agree about James McEvoy. I saw him in a production of Privates on Parade at the Donmar a few years ago before he’d done much film/tv work and he was a star in the making then. (I also agree with Tigs above about “King of Scotland” – so glad I read the book after I saw the film!) I should give both Ian McEwan and Keira Knightly third or fourth chances by the sounds of it. As for OJ – Frangipane was the surprise hit for me – I thought I didn’t do white florals but how I love that one. Can’t wear OJ Woman any more because I was wearing it alot round the time I broke up in a horrid way with my exboyfriend and it just takes me back there. Maybe I could do the men’s one? I remember liking Isfarkand very much. Hope you feel better soon, Lee!

    • Lee says:

      I’m green!

      Ormonde Man will take you back to the same place as Woman – they’re quite similar in their black hemlock thing. Isfarkand is great, but not tenacious. How do you feel about Champaca?

      And do trust him one more time – exceptional book, truly.

      • donanicola says:

        You are green for a reason – he got his kit off! Perfectly formed.

        I don’t know Champaca so will go away and find/try it whilst reopening my mind to Atonement!

        I think Romola Garai is talented too.

  • Elle says:

    Definitely am going to have to see the movie. Can’t imagine how it’s been filmed, but I trust you that they pulled it off. Detested Briony from the start. Found the ending to be remarkably satisfying, despite breaking my heart. Finished Black Dogs a couple of months ago and it’s still playing around in my brain. Love McEwan.
    Also love the OJs and I thought there was some talk about her opening a warehouse or something in the US this fall in order to make shipping cheaper for the US customers. Will have to call and ask. I made the mistake of ordering samples of Ta’if and Tolu in parfum form from TPC. I thought I was happy w/ the edps. Wrong. I cannot continue existence for much longer w/out the parfum versions of these. Oddly enough, I thought Champaca parfum would be the one to slay me, but it didn’t – I adore the edp and it’s soul satisfying enough for me. I have Orris Noir parfum already and it’s beyond heavenly.

    • Elle says:

      Just called. The SA said there had been some sort of hiccup in the plans for the US warehouse, but that they were hoping it would be up and running before Christmas.

    • Lee says:

      It’s seamless actually how in the film key scenes are reframed and repeated. Amazingly done – but then, it is a Christopher Hampton screenplay…

      McEwan often haunts me.

      And thanks for your research – I’ve missed you; it’s great to have you back.

  • sybil says:

    Ok…a new book to put at the top of the list. I am overcome w/ desire to read Atonement! I hope you feel better soon, and the weather improves as well. Though there’s something to be said for tucking in w/ a hot toddy and a jumbo size box of tissues and an engrossing book when the weather sucks, though…Oh, and please put me in for the drawing.

    • Lee says:

      I was out at work all day, driving hither and thither. Though I felt awful early on, I seem to be perking up now. Thanks for your wishes – and get the hankies ready for the book.

  • Divalano says:

    Haven’t read McEwan & being stateside, haven’t seen the movie so alas, I cannot join in on all this highbrow commentary. But, just got back from the Pacific Northwest where fall is all about cloudy skies & rain did want to extend a feel better to you, sir. That’s all. Feel better. Wishing you hot ginger tea, chicken soup & a warm blankie (& a pretty boy to attend to your sniffles).

    I’ll pass on the drawing, thank you. Not quite my cuppa & besides, I just took a prize on the Barbara Bui (which btw I now can’t live without thankyouverymuch) & it’d be impolite to be a drawing hog.

  • Judith says:

    Well, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t read any McEwan. But also glad, since I’m looking for (non-work-related) books to read at the moment, and you’ve just given me some great ones! Thanks a lot!

    I don’t know what it is with me and OJ. I like all her scents, but I love none. They just don’t move me somehow. Oh, correction–I REALLY like Ormonde Man on DH (who persists in believing it is called “Promenade Man”) :).

    • Lee says:

      Does he move around a lot when he wears it? :d

      Hope you love the book.

    • March says:

      Oh. My. God. Judith, why is that so funny? I have now been laughing about that for, well, most of the afternoon. “Promenade Man.” Cheese asked me why I was laughing and I had to say honestly that I had no real idea.

      • Judith says:

        I don’t know, but I think it is, too. When he first told me he was wearing the scent he was wearing was called “Promenade Man,” I cracked up (I think it has to do with how UNLIKELY it is that the marketing people would ever choose that name). It took me quite a while to figure out what he was talking about (“You know, you gave me the decant recently; you SAID it was called PM”). He was being honest that time (he is a big Mr. Malaprop); but now I suspect he keeps calling it that to amuse me. My absolute favorite fragrance-name mangling of his, which I have bored you bloggers with too many times, is “Vetiqueer” (an unintentional conflation of 2 of his fave scents–Cuir d’Arabie and Le Labo Vetiver (I am spelling it the way I imagine he would–he doesn’t know French–and I WANT IT!!!)

  • March says:

    Loved Atonement, love OJ (esp. Champaca and Sampaquita), love James. Clearly you are genius. ^:)^ I’m looking forward to the movie.

    I never notice the shipping restrictions, because historically the solution has been to email Patty and whine until she procures me a sample of whatever. In fact, that system still works pretty well.:-$ I just glanced at their website and the samps are 28 pounds, which is $60USD mas or menos, not cheap. However. It’s a pretty package and a small price to pay if someone has never tried them, they deserve more love on the blogs.

  • Louise says:

    Lee-who cares about perfume (gasp!) with a review such as this. All your obsessions are exquisite. As is your writing.

    I watched all the clips and read the info on the link you posted-the comparison of this “ad” to Coco M’s is, well no comparison t’all. I am almost glad that I haven’t yet got to read Atonement, since now I can finish it before the movie release. I will go to Borders today (abd it’s teachers discount week, to boot).

    I still like Keira, and will certainly love James. It also seems the young girl as acted at the start is stellar.

    Ormondes are lovely, especially Ta’if for me. More temptation, you rascal.

    • Louise says:

      Oh, and please feel much better very soon! Hugs.

    • Lee says:

      Why, thank you. Those clips give some small glimpse of the marvel that awaits you!

      I’m going to start a McAvoy fan club…

      And I’m not feeling too bad!

  • Silvia says:

    I can’t rave enough about OJ. Love all of them (almost).

    About a month ago I saw a young woman on a train and she was carrying an OJ bag. I had to ask her what she had inside (candles) and she was surprised I knew the brand etc. She ended up being their web designer, so the new makeover must be her work. I could’t help asking if there was a new fragrance on the way and the answer is yes. I can’t wait.

    On Atonement, I have been reluctant to see the film in fear of post-book disappointment, but the raving reviews, including Lee’s, have been pushing me closer.

  • Marina says:

    And this is a ‘I can’t get it out of my head’ review. Thank you, Lee!!

  • sariah says:

    Hi Lee,

    Can’t wait to see the movie now! Loved the book, and so glad to hear the Keira is playing Cecilia and not Brioni. I thought she was great in Pride and Predjudice, she was so different than any previous Elizabeth. Please sign me up for the OJ draw.

    • Lee says:

      She’s a truly incredible Cecilia. and read McEwan’s description of the green dress again and see how amazingly that’s brought to life in the film design (which is exquisite, all the way through the film).

      You’re in!

  • Patty says:

    I’m all weepy at long distance telephone advertisements, which is so unlike me. I’m just not a cry-y person at all, but just show mom getting a cal from her son in Iraq trying to sell long distance, and I’m a blubbery mess.

    I’ve had Atonement now forever, and just not gotten ’round to it, but I”m going to rectify that!

    I’m not sure what OJ did with their new website. First, I’m a huge OJ fan, and have spent a lot of time raving about them here, but haven’t lately. The EDPs are great, the parfums are amazing, if you already know you’re a fan of one of them. I thought they were going to launch a store in the U.S.? or at least a mail order place? I’ve always been able to order from their website, but I was hoping that they would start shipping from here and make the postage a wee bit less, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, unless that’s still in the works. But if this website and the same postage is what their announcement was about, I’m underwhelmed. :-w

  • Anne says:

    Lee, glad you did not get Fougere Bengale while you still have a sinus thang. You would have been tempted. Better to appreciate with both nostrils when you are feeling better.

    I’m off to the bookstore.

    If you would be so kind, please enter me in the draw. Thanks!

    • Lee says:

      Strangely enough my nose is smelling fine… It’s the rrest of me that stinks… Ba doom cha.

      Seems like I’m going to have to wait til late next week for the Bengale.

      You’re in the draw – and enjoy your read.

  • Divina says:

    Glad to see I am not the only one who thought Amsterdam was a miss. I am the type of masochist that soldiers through books even when I don’t like them, but with Amsterdam that was a task in futility.. There was no way I could finish it!

    • Lee says:

      I think that should be the strapline of the book – ‘a task in futility’. Really, I wish he’d kept this little diversion to himself and let someone else get the Booker prize that year.

  • Maria says:

    Ooh, Lee, what a pleasure it is to read about your pleasure in a book and a film. I cry at visuals too. I have a weird, powerful phobia about calumny/false witness plots. Does this involve that? I’m thinking about Briony seeing things and misinterpreting.

    Anyway, I watch a lot of things on BBC America, and I recall seeing James McAvoy in a short series in which he played a scruffy cub reporter working for his father. He made a big impression on me. He has a serious acting future.

    I like Ormonde Tolu a lot. Please enter me in the drawing!

    • Lee says:

      Oh dear – this film will bring your phobia out in full force. It’s calumny of the worst sort, perpetrated against the best sort…:((

      You’re right about the mini-Mc. His face does all the work for him. Such wondrous acting.

      You’re in my darling!

      • Maria says:

        Thanks for the warning, dear Lee! I can’t count how many films and TV programs I’ve had to stop watching because of the calumny thing.

  • Alica says:

    Thank you for entering me in the drawing 🙂

  • capriccio says:

    I am relieved to hear that the movie is good–the book is great, and there is always the potential for crushing disappointments with film adaptations.

    I’m reading my way back through the archives (at one time, there was only Patty! who knew!) and wishing I was around for the book pile-on a while back. Love Mating, Infinite Jest, McEwan in Atonement and Saturday, and a heap of the other ones mentioned. I don’t think anyone brought up Chang-Rae Lee, who is another author I frequently push.

    Well-read AND -fragranced bunch around here.

    • Lee says:

      Well, we’re closet intellectuals round these parts. Yes, Patty was once on her ownsome – she had this pink pddawg website with a face (hers? Never asked) at the top and sometimes perfume, and other times random stuff.

      Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Dusan says:

    Talk about coincidences – I’m 30 pages into Atonement! That’s why I had to skip the blurby part, you know, but really enjoyed the rest of the post. Keira’s a bit tricky for me: I went from loving her (Beckham) to seriously reconsidering her acting skills (the unbearable to watch “Jacket”, as in wtf?!) to liking her anew (Pirates). She should sport smoky eyes more often – looks gorgeous. McAvoy is a superb, promising actor, want to see more of him. (a digression re McEwan – have you seen The Comfort of Strangers with La Mirren, C. Walken, N. Richardson and R. Everett? Scary!) Brits are just the best acting people in the world. My current triad of Brit lovelies includes Emilia Fox 😡 , Kelly Reilly 😡 and Ros Pike 😡 . Judi Dench is #1 in all respects, though.
    Oh and I’m a crier-weeper myself. I remember being almost drawn to tears by The Piano trailer. Secrets & Lies (in my top 5) always gets to me, as does The Eng. Paitient and Eternal Sunshine of the SM. And many more… 🙂
    Am really curious to know about your top 5 films. Please endulge this sentimental pussy!
    P.S. Wanted to email you about something but couldn’t find your address on the Posse forum. Could you just drop me a line? Ta.

    • Lee says:

      Enjoy the book – I don’t actually give anything away in what I’ve written.

      The Comfort of Strangers is not the best McEwan adaptation. Interesting though. Top films? Tough call. I too weep at ‘Secrets and Lies’ (Why can’t we all just get along, eh?), though I’m not sure any of Leigh’s estimable work makes it into my top 5. Two that do are Badlands and Brief Encounter – I guess that gives you some impression of my daftness…

  • Tigs says:

    I lurved Atonement. Great frame story, excellent psychological insight into adolescence and daydreaming, sexy and credible lovemaking, and, of course, just crushing ending. I was heartbroken when it appeared about a year ago that McEwan had cribbed long passages in the nursing section from a romance novelist, of all things. How did that turn out?

    McAvoy was in an interesting, in not at all faithful, version of another great novel, “The Last King of Scotland”. Kind of objected to how they meddled with the plot and characters of that book, but I thought the movie was so well-acted. All the critics said it was impossible to take your eyes off Forrest Whittaker, and, of course, he was stone dead brilliant, as he always is, but I thought McAvoy was darn eye-catching, too. It always shocks me when I remember that Gillian Anderson is pretty great, too (how did *that* happen?)

    • Lee says:

      Anderson is pretty great isn’t she? Always was I guess; maybe it’s dependent on the direction she’s given. I’ve seen her on stage a couple of times; she’s fantastic.

      Apparently it was from a memoir, and he cites it at the end of the novel – and was always honest about it in interviews. I’ve seen the passages – they’re a long way from each other. The scandal blew over eventually…

  • tmp00 says:

    well darjeeling,

    First I must comment upon your writing style: so clearly Brit, and so
    enjoyable. Haven’t seen the movie (I rather am against the “films) thing
    so I cannot judge. Until we have actual footage of Ms. Knightly yakking
    up lunch I am going to reserve judgment: there are too many “news”
    outlets like TMZ.com willing to stoke those fires..

    Golly, that dude in the tux sort of looke like me, about ten years ago.

    Donde esta la laser surgery?

  • Kim says:

    I would love to be in the draw. Ormonde Jayne is my second favourite line after the Ernest Beaux Chanels. The Ormonde Jayne base is beautiful and I love Orris Noir and Tolu, followed closely by Ta’if and Frangipani. It is such a beautiful line I am surprised that there is not more said about it!

    As for Ian McEwan, I am not much of a fan but haven’t read Atonement. Sounds like I should try it. Hope you feel better soon – try some echinacea, it usually helps colds.

    • Lee says:

      Atonement is the book that changes most people’s minds about McEwan. Try it; you might like it…

      And you’re in.

  • Gaia says:

    I actually like Keira Knightly (well, I skipped the pirate movies, but loved her in Pride & Prejudice), but never thought she was the right choice for CM, maybe becuse I don’t get the fragrance. Coco has always been much more up my own alley, and I suspect also hers.

    Atonement is currently sitting in one of the ever growing “must read soon” piles that decorate my house (usually topped by a napping cat). You’ve given me an extra incentive to go and dig it up.

    Feel better and enjoy autumn! (and the adorable Mr.Tumnus)

    (and, yes, I’d like to be in the draw. I’ve been curious about OJ for quite some time)

    • Lee says:

      Well, Joe Wright’s sophomore job after ‘P&P’ is phenomenal. He seems to get the best out of KK.

      I think there’s plenty in the OJ group that’d appeal to you, given that we like a lot of similar stuff… You’re in.