Film and TV

Movies for high tea: Top ten period dramas

Are you a prudish nostalgic looking to sip some tea, nibble on crumpets and harken back to the good old days when servants were servants, aristocrats were aristocrats and monarchs bred with each other over and over and over again, holding onto their estates through thinly veiled incest? Do you long for the time when the British Empire owned the world and high tea would be served on the blood-stained battlefield? Do aristocratic romances and colonialism turn you on? If so, boil some water; don your corsets, wigs and riding boots; serve up your favorite black tea, milk and biscuits (you know, British for cookies), lie back on the couch and make make your way through our top ten period dramas, in honor of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema screening of Persuasion on Sunday, March 30.

See also: And the loser is: The seven worst movies of 2013

Gosford Park

Robert Altman's chatty, ensemble style of filmmaking, replete with wildly long shots, suits Gosford Park, an upstairs-downstairs Agatha Christie-style murder mystery. Set in an English country manor during an aristocratic family's hunting party, servants and the ruling class alike scheme over a wealthy landowner's inheritance. Downton Abbey fans will recognize just how much their favorite show borrowed from Gosford Park, including actress Maggie Smith, who portrays a devilishly witty dowager countess in both productions.

The English Patient

Ralph Fiennes stars as a hospitalized soldier suffering from burn wounds and amnesia in Anthony Minghella's Academy Award-winning drama, The English Patient. This film has all the themes of a successful historical tearjerker: memory, jealousy, mistaken identity, broken hearts and an inferno of desire and agony.

Continue on for more high tea, period dramas.

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris

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