I love it. A lot. I'm hoping to read the book (I keep reading, and my reading list never gets any shorter!).
I haven't brainpower to put any kind of organized response together, but since I tend to babble on about this sort of thing I thought I'd share a few thoughts.
I love the relationship between Thornton and his mother. Of everything, I think that was my favourite. It was brilliant, the way she and Fanny were introduced – they're cast right off the bat as snooty and self-important, and then everything gets wonderfully
turned around so that you see that it's Margaret and her mother, really, who are being self-important.
I love Mrs. Thornton's fierce protectiveness of her son. And there's that one line, when they're going broke and Thornton says "at least Fanny's taken care of" – that whole scene was so, so good
, because it really captured how they two had pulled each other up from nothing, and were falling back down again, and how Fanny had always been a frivolous outsider to it all. I love how both she and Thornton, too, are cast as morally ambiguous regarding their treatment of the workers. They're hardliners, both of them – clearly having no compunction about employing children or starving people into coming back to work. They're assholes, in that regard at least, but complex ones, and ones that are easy to empathise with and I love that
Fanny was wonderful as well. She was a bit two-dimensional, but as a side-character that was totally OK. But that scene, after Margaret is hit by the rock, and she's panicking and fanning her was absolutely hysterical
I loved the depiction of the poor as well – and the whole atmosphere of the city. I thought they sort of over-did it when it came to Hampshire, with the day-glo lighting and whatnot, but the grubby, filthy, atmosphere of Milton was perfect. Bessie was wonderful too.
The only character that I wasn't 100% in love with was Margaret, really. If only because I felt like her development was kind of odd. I loved the character arc in principle – and I love her drive, and her intense awkwardness (oh, god, she was so awkward sometimes), and her bluntness. When she was turning Henry and Thornton down, she said something along the lines of "I don't know how to reject people politely", which I thought was a great line (and a great delivery) – because it is hard, especially when they're taking everything the wrong way.
But after the botched proposal, I felt like she was oddly unwilling to speak up for herself at all. I mean – she'd been ridiculously blunt up until that point, and it wasn't clear to me whether she regretted refusing him, or simply regretted insulting him. If she regretted refusing him, I'm a bit surprised she didn't try harder to speak to him properly (she threw herself out infront of an angry mob!), and if she just regretted insulting him, then I find the turn-around at the end pretty abrupt.
I don't think I'm articulating this very well.
But on the whole I thought it was really, really awesome.