Felicity Jones and J.J. Feild star in this made for television adaptation of Jane Austin's easygoing parody of gothic fiction concerning a hopeless romantic drawn into a mysterious relationship. Catherine Moreland (Jones) longs for the day that a dashing gentleman will finally sweep her off her feet. Upon receiving an invitation to a lavish medieval home deep in the countryside, Catherine allows her most lurid fantasies to wash over her. Later, as Catherine sets out to explore the sprawling mansion, she forms a friendship with Henry Tillney (Feild) - the youngest son of the estate. Much to Catherine's disappointment, however, their blossoming romance is soon stifled under shadowy circumstances.
Catherine Moreland grew up without prospects, without beauty and had a low social standing. She was a tomboy, preferring sports over books and dolls. Once she became a teen, however, she went from a plain ugly duckling and blossomed into a fairly attractive young lady; also, she picked up a love of reading. Her particular fondness for gothic novels has her overactive imagination into over-drive. Her aunt comes to visit and offers Catherine the chance to go to Bath; once there, she becomes acquainted with the charming and outgoing Mr. Henry Tillney. She also meets Isabella Thorpe and her brother, John. Catherine quickly becomes friends with Isabella but does her best to fend off John, whose interest in her is more than platonic.
The movie quickly delves into Catherine's life and once she's in London with her aunt, her lack of knowledge of being in society is obvious. She finds comfort in her friendship with Isabella and is overjoyed when she discovers that Isabella is to be her future sister-in-law. Meanwhile, John's pursuit of Catherine is endless and wears her out. So much so she is glad when General Tillney (Henry's father) invites her to stay with them at their estate in Northanger Abbey. At Northanger, Catherine becomes close friends with Eleanor Tillney and falls for Henry. Henry's relationship with Catherine is loving and sweet; he is older and teases her good-naturedly, telling her "that every house has its secrets." Unfortunately, that spurs Catherine's imagination and makes her assume the worst of General Tillney. Her assumptions land her in trouble with Henry, and General Tillney inexplicably kicks her out of his estate. Meanwhile, things at home aren't any better: Catherine finds out that her brother's engagement with Isabella has ended, now that Isabella is with Henry's older brother. *insert the audible gasp*
Northanger Abbey is full of drama, miscommunications, romance and scandal...all of this is squeezed into a rather short movie. It's easy to like Catherine; her innocence is tangible and she's prone to fanciful ideas, much like the books she reads. Henry's quick wit is perfect, and his banter with Catherine is delightful. If you want to watch a movie that'll make you smile, Northanger Abbey is the one for you.