Yes, the Austen adaptations series was so much fun, I just couldn't resist! So here, by popular demand, is the follow-up. I hope you're not all getting sick of the "Top 10" format. Maybe it's a bit gimmicky, but it seems to work well, providing a framework in which to feature a bunch of reviews.
In this series, I am going to be featuring my 15 favourite film adaptations of classic books and stories - some of them will be children's books (as here), others will be more grown-up classics - George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell. I will obviously not be including Jane Austen here, since I've just done a series on Austen, and I won't be including any Dickens, either. I'd like to save Dickens for a future post/s.
So, let's get started.
~No. 15 - The Railway Children 2000~
Two generations of Bobbies - Jemima Rooper and Jenny Agutter
Not many people know about this TV movie, but let me assure you, it is a gem. The 1970 adaptation of Edith Nesbit's book is more popular and well known, but the 2000 BBC version is an excellent movie in its own right.
Peter (Jack Blumenau), Mother (Jenny Agutter), The Old Gentleman (Richard Attenborough), Phyllis (Clare Thomas), Bobbie (Jemima Rooper)
The story begins in Edwardian England, in a middle-class London house. Roberta (always called Bobbie), Peter, and Phyllis live with their mother and father, until one night their father is mysteriously taken away - their mother won't say why. Then it is discovered that they are poor - they must leave their luxurious London home to live in a run-down old house in the country. The children badly miss their father, and life in the country is different to say the least, but the children gladly take the opportunity to explore their surroundings. One of their favourite haunts is the railway station.
Jim (JJ Feild) is rescued
The cast is excellent - Jenny Agutter, who played Roberta in the classic 1970 version, here plays the children's mother. Michael Kitchen, David Bamber, and Sophie Thompson all make memorable appearances. Jemima Rooper (Amanda Price from Lost in Austen) is luminous as the young heroine, Bobbie - and keep an eye out for JJ Feild (Henry Tilney!) in one of his earliest TV roles.
It isn't a loud or fast-paced film, but that is part of its charm. We're given time to take in the scenery, the period details, the trains, family relationships, various characters and incidents in the children's lives, etc.
It's a delightful, gentle tale, detailing the family's troubles and the children's various adventures, without being remotely gooey or sentimental. There's something magical about this story, and Jemima Rooper's Bobbie makes this adaptation truly a joy to watch. A perfect film to watch with family on a rainy Sunday afternoon. :-)