Frock Flicks note: This is a guest post by our friend Yosa Addiss. After pursuing a degree in costume design, she created one of the first websites for custom-made costume gowns. Yosa has moved on to a career in marketing but remains a lifelong fan of historical costume. Find her at yosa.com.
Welcome to my oh-so-spoilery review of Sanditon (2019), episode 3. Catch up with previous episodes here.
Episode three opens to a bright sunny morning and a very hungover Mr. Hero, and friends, who are determined to return to the city. Charlotte is still thinking about seeing Mr. Hero play James Bond from the day before.
Let’s compare with these historical ensembles from the V&A Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The first and most noticeable thing is that Mr. Hero is wearing dark pants and dark layers.
Looking at pages and pages of garment photos from around 1818, the fashion for white, ivory, and tan for pant colors is unmistakable. Illogical choice to have the side characters dressed correctly and Mr. Hero looking like he is wearing Dockers, without the customary layering of light and dark in his outfit, etc.
Second, walking sticks. Kudos to the costume team for putting these in this great shot. These walking sticks had no real purpose, other than to be a great accessory. Watch in the scene how having the actors carry them gives that little bit of extra gravitas. Again, why doesn’t Mr. Hero have one?
Hat shapes. The women’s hats are a mess, but I really wonder about who chose the men’s hats too. From some quick research, it appears that a straight up and down “stovepipe” was more in fashion around this time. Mr. Hero’s hat looks modern? Off somehow? Sure he stands out, but in a good way?
Ok, back to the plot:
Charlotte still fumbling and awkward after her “encounter” (see James Bond moment, Episode 2) and is wearing a really interesting knit sweater.
I am unfamiliar with knitwear of the time, but the soft color and fit are at the very least appropriate to the style of the time with the lovely empire line. I like the fullness at the top of the sleeve and a higher neckline for daytime. Her hair is terrible as always.
I give this look a pass only because he slept on a bench at a pub. Now shave your face, you look low-class.
In the upcoming sceenshots, you will see that his sideburns are notably at least an inch shorter than both the richest guy in town and the average man in town. And why the all black? I am as goth as the next girl, but it just doesn’t fit here. It is good that the layers are giving him the sloped shoulder look, but the outer coat’s lapels are narrow.
I am adding this picturesque shot of the girls doing watercolor paintings because it is so lovely. The girls have appropriate chaperones, watercolor painting was highly fashionable at the time, and the chairs and easels look so pretty.
It is nice seeing a “day in the life” scenes like this to show how limited the range of activities was for women at the time. Fabulous Miss Lambe scandalizes the group by painting something (not shown), and the scene ends with everyone shuffling away. Of course, a young unmarried woman would not paint something truly scandalous, but it warms by oh-so-modern heart to see her be bold.
Later Charlotte meets Young Stringer in passing, and he is utterly charming, still.
Note his hat — the nice crisp fabric edge to the brim while the top of it is a very strange shape. I suspect they shot the scene close up to hide some of the shape of the top of his hat. Weird! While it doesn’t look new, it is well cared for. His whole outfit looks comfortable, worn-in, and practical. The layering is simply gorgeous. I am #teamstringer all the way.
Here is another unfortunate lady in a wonky sheer hat brim. The edge isn’t crisp, and it looks amateur.
Of course, a show like this is on a budget — but one good hat is better than several iffy ones. The decorations on the hat look great but not the completely modern hairdo and crumpled sheer hat brim. Mr. Handsomebutslimy’s lapels are lackluster. No-one wants lackluster lapels. fake dramatic sign
Mr. Wonderful comes by and is completely marvelous, in spite of wearing a train wreck of a hat. Note Stringer’s hat from earlier in the post and the nice condition of it, he is a foreman for a construction project. Mr. Wonderful is a wealthy lord, wearing a hat that is literally falling apart at the brim. What?? I am watching this on a laptop, and I can tell it is falling apart. Kudos to the costume team for finding a hat where you can see the real fur it is made from — but every time he touches the brim to greet someone, I fear for the damage that is doing to the worn-out piece. Using vintage clothing items is fantastic, but they need to suit the character. The richest guy in town would not be wearing the worst hat. This is just bizarre.
It wasn’t until I took this screenshot that I saw how dramatically different these two ladies look in their dresses. Mrs. Parker would probably have worn frills of lace or cotton on her underthings to give a bit (not a lot) of fullness to her bosom during this time. Or, the dress is rented and was a bit too tight overall. Charlotte would have worn a lace or cloth something up to her neck for daytime. The men are wearing at least three layers, and the other women in the scene are dressed warmly. She looks like she is really cold! Their hair is just terrible. Notably, the ladies in the background all have their hair up. The hairstyles on the actresses are bad on purpose.
Note fashion plates of the time.
On with our story, and to hair worn up with curls in the front — hurrah!
Mr. #Handsomebutslimy and Miss Brereton plot to redecorate with their aunt’s fortune. Perhaps they have grown tired of the 10-foot-high prints of naked nymphs and will soon install floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a disco ball.
The cute Dr. Fuchs demonstrates his potions and parasitic worms to our comic team, who leave the scene covered in rashes and blissfully happy. LOL. Miss B. gets into the hot shower, and it is hinted that she is finding pleasure there. Maybe? Nope. She is instead going to injure herself for attention.
Young Stringer and Charlotte get more perfectly lit moments of complete understanding. Seriously, this show is worth watching for this guy. The newspapers pasted behind them are worth pausing the show to look at if you are a super fan — they used names and places from other Jane Austen novels in them.
The older Mr. Stringer injures himself doing day labor, and we learn that the workmen in the town are short-staffed and haven’t been paid in weeks. Miraculously, Charlotte is there to save the day by applying a tourniquet, taking control of the situation, and leading the scene to get the father to get to the doctor. “I’m not afraid of a little blood,” says Charlotte as she takes over the situation like a trained trauma nurse. So, not only is she a great bookkeeper, but also an excellent nurse. (Her miraculous skills continue throughout the series, much to my dismay.)
Claire (with perfectly 2019 penciled in eyebrows, and Esther (in a lovely 2019 copper eyeshadow) have a whispered bitchfest of who is going to get all of the aunt’s money. Who will ruin who?
How is her makeup too modern? Shall we count the ways?
- Her face (foundation/powder/contouring) is darker than her neck.
- Perfectly applied lipstick in a mauve that coordinates nicely with her eyeshadow.
- Eyebrows on fleek.
- Do I sense a light touch of highlighting powder?
- Little or no blush — which is the one thing she would have worn!
How she should look, as shown in the Hair and Makeup Handbook:
Charlotte and Mr. Hero accompany the children and are generally charming together. Awww. What a perfect time for Charlotte to save the day again! Hold a regatta to bring people to the town. Now, she is a bookkeeper, a nurse, and a promoter. (eye-roll)
The episode closes with Mr. Hero asks Charlotte to keep Miss Lambe out of trouble. Clearly, they will be getting in trouble in episode 4.
Sneak peek — she has a beau, and he is handsome times 5! They look so good together, too. Look at his fine sideburns. Well done, sir!
Parasitic worms, shockingly bad hair, and worn-out hats — what dangers will we face in episode 4?
I’m still avoiding it like the plague. I’m firmly convinced that Charlotte with her inappropriate low cut bodices on her day dresses is of the I’m dressing like a prostitute and to…school. maybe she needs a lesson? Also she sounds so Mary Sue.
Stringer the Younger deserves better. Say one of the unmarried Bennett girls.
And Mr Hero needs to be sent back to either Eton or Harrow to learn how a Gentleman comports himself in the manner of Dress, etc.
Get a life, please!
What? She’s absolutely right. Both our hero as heroine are very obvious escapees from the 21st century.
Oops forgot to welcome you back Josa.
The hero is clearly wearing a cane in the scene, it’s just hidden in the picture by the gent on the left. Still visible under his coat hem, though. And while I did find his mad-hatter like topper a bit odd and early, it also very much resembles the slightly trapezoid one from the V & A museum. The black is clearly a choice for dramatic reasons, not aiming at museal authenticity, which should be allowed as valid. If it is original or subtly done is another question worth discussing. Same with the bonntes mocked in previous parts but directly matching the fashion illustrations two paragraphs down. Now, I’m enjoying the Sanditon reviews and would also love to see a bit of general opinionating on it by the core frockflicks team. But please be more careful in your critque, otherwise it smacks of prejudice.
I’m detecting a pattern here, Mr. Hero and Charlotte-Sue are dressed to suit modern tastes because as the hero and heroine they must be made attractive and relatable to the audience. Historical accuracy can go hang. BTW is Charlotte-Sue wandering unchaperoned and unescorted through the working class section of town chatting casually with men she has not been introduced too, and most certainly wouldn’t have been in the early 1800s?
Charlotte-Sue LOL! And I agree, her wandering around unchaperoned bugged the crap out of me. If nothing else, she would have had a lady’s maid with her. It simply was Not Done.
I felt like a lot of social conventions and propriety were just left out of this series. There doesn’t seem to be a rule about who introduces someone to whom. Ladies begin speaking to men whom they haven’t met. Charlotte goes around town by herself. Men and women are frequently alone together. Sidney even goes into Georgiana’s bedroom to talk to her, which seems inappropriate.
WHY do filmmakers/producers think audiences won’t relate to accuracy from the period?? Period drama is very popular these days…people are into it…why not show it like it was? The loose hair drives me INSANE. It makes me turn my TV off…
I’m glad I’m not the only one driven insane by Charlotte’s flowing hair.
Me too! I was watching Beecham house, wondering why I was so enamoured with the devilish-guy…it was Stringer!
Anyhow, about Miss Brereton’s self-harm…I get it. Abused people can often find control and even peace in self-harm. I thought it was a brave and true choice to show how self-harm can be a coping skill (not healthy, but a coping skill), for abuse survivors that can sometimes continue. You can see her getting centered and focused with her self-harm. There is so much potential with this story.
Now, if only Davies he screenwriter was as nuanced and empathetic to the rest of the character’s story. I am still deeply incensed by his virgin/whore punishment/reward between the Misses Denham and Brereton.
I know that snark is supposed to be fun, and I love this site so much. But when the screenwriter insists on taking a darker path and then bungling it…it feels important to call it out.
And onward with the snark!
The guys’ pants look a bit too loose around calves.Not the fit,but the cut itself.I feel the production recycled women’s costumes from other productions,but the undersupports are really weird and inconsistent.Sometimes regency poufiness,sometimes flat 1780s.Some costumes on extras look like they have 1790s bodices but the lack of petticoats renders the look questionable.
I love Miss Brereton’s patterned spencer and ruff. No idea how authentic the look is but it’s pretty.
Is Georgiana wearing a hat during the sketching party scene?
Great review! Even if you have only been watching period dramas for fun, like me, you can see they are not doing things right on this show. I still enjoy the setting though.
I am loving these recaps, Yosa is nailing everything wrong with this show. I kept watching and hoping it would get better and it does not. Thank you for articulating it much better than I ever could.