Book and Film

Colour saves a shoddy teen romance

Rating: 2 out of 5.

For everyone who has watched the Fifty shades of Grey series and actually admired it, well good news, they have been rebooted as Fifty Shades of Frocks aka Bridgerton. Apart from a singular aspect : the explicit representation of people of colour, Blacks, with Asians and Indian people to be seen alongside far east Asians there is nothing brilliant about this series. A whimsical caricature of Jane Austen classics meets Fifty Shades, Hardin-Tessa “After” effects, as a period classic buff I was utterly disappointed. It makes me so sad that such brilliant expressions, dialogue delivery, and acting from Lady Danbury, the Duke and the Queen were all wasted away in the current fad of oversexualized teen fantasies. As a matter of fact the top notch acting was the ONLY saving point of this dreadful story. It shows how brilliantly skilful all the cast was that their acting chops salvaged such a dreadful story. I am hoping to see those faces in upcoming BBC drama adaptations of more classics.

BRIDGERTON (L to R) ADJOA ANDOH as LADY DANBURY and REGE-JEAN PAGE as SIMON BASSET in episode 8 of BRIDGERTON Cr. LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020

As if there wasn’t anything worse than the ridiculous Twilight saga series here we are presented with an over-the-top costume teen novel, with attire almost an exact inspiration from the 2015 Cinderella showing superfluous jewellery which heavily reminds you of Indian-Pakistani Eid, Diwali and wedding celebrations with overdone jewellery, dresses and hair accessories with exotic bird feathers and unnecessary glitters and sparkles. The characters aren’t developed properly. It starts on a good note but there is no proper background given for any of the characters. There is no detail here, there is no fluidity in it at all, who came from where and why is someone doing what he/she is?

Like those silly 90’s Bollywood romances it starts directly with getting your eldest daughter married. Heavy inspirations from Pride and Prejudice are here all which shout out “watch the original”. Its all in a tight circle of aristocracy as if people from middle or lower class don’t even exist and are actually depicted very glad of their positions as slaving away inmates take Daphne’s lady companion for example, super smiling with red flushed cheeks, more than joyous to be a servant. The hair is totally inaccurate, in the regency period women had hair the lengths of their knees or even ankles. They didn’t have shoulder length modern burnt hair. Most of all there is no lesson to take from this series, none at all, it doesn’t portray any struggle except for the opera singer Siena. A cheap romance story, cringe worthy dialogue. I am disappointed by these “After” inspired novels. The Daphne Simon tale is just Hardin and Tessa done in costumes. This is not anything even near to the level of Belgravia or Downtown Abbey. Julia Quinn is no Baron Julian Fellowes. Even the Barbie and the Three musketeers-style live action Elisa Di Rivombrosa had made more sense than this. Elisa had a strong personality and her character develops as the story progresses, eye candy factor was left to a minimum.

This unknown book and author were brought to stardom by the efforts of the creators of the series, drastically changing the book to another dimension. Nevertheless as bad as it was it was a breath of fresh air to make it a colour integrated society. Chris Van Dusen and Shonda Rhimes deserve a much needed standing ovation for bringing colour to the screen since in recent times the films Aladdin and Dunkirk in particular have nicely whitewashed the colour out of their films where in Aladdin the white crew was all painted brown and the creators of Dunkirk conveniently “forgot” to include the 2000 Indian as well as African troops who fought in the battle, how truly and utterly “colourblind” to overlook that historical fact. Beecham House as awful as it was depicted white representation with a majorly colour caste correctly, a huge relief from the practice of taking white actors for Indian roles almost always in film noir, a huge improvement from The Far Pavilions 1984.

Netflix please make something meaningful like Stranger Things again. I could watch season 1 over and over again. The only reason to appreciate Bridgerton is the existence of a colourful world with Black Dukes, Far East and Indian ladies in a delightful English high society. I felt inclusion, representation, and most of all identity that we exist. Other than that conspicuous factor, save yourself from the torment and watch Belle, or BBC’s North and South for a meaningful watch, or just see it to appreciate the Cinderella gowns and barbie fairytopia floral and butterfly accessories.

I give it 2 stars only for the colour. Let’s hope there might be some sense in season 2.

My blog has always been about discussing the relevance of Book And Film in our real lives, what we can derive from it and how we can incorporate lessons depicted in them it into our lives. For this reason my posts on period dramas are also under the Emotion topic. For Bridgerton sadly I have to rescue the young female audience from this false illusion of marrying a troubled and scarred man. The result in real life is very disturbing exactly as the Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Whether poor or rich a broken man is a dangerous man who DOES NOT change due to a woman’s innocent and true love. Ladies and girls please don’t buy into the becoming a Duchess or “marrying the prince” nonsense. Work so hard on your personality improvement and you will make your own empire and self transformation will make you a princess, and not by getting shagged by the lord. In a dreamy world where Daphne is shown to be the super lucky wifey of Duke I-Burn-For-You, the reality is shown by Sienna’s fate. Siena is nothing but an opera singer, her station cannot increase. But in this modern world You CAN increase your worth and value. You can learn and apply all the right skills to attract the most wonderful people in your life including a gentleman. You don’t have to be Gold-Digger-Daphne, or the poor helpless cindered scullery maid. Be the right person yourself instead of believing silly tales and depending on others for titles or wealth. Create your dream life with discipline, decision and action.

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