So let’s take a look back at the three movies we watched in the first quarter of 2021.
The club is a democracy where the members suggest and choose the movies we watch. We didn’t plan it this way, but all the movies we watched during round 1 of 2021 star British actors. Here’s which ones we watched:
- January: Howards End
- February: Sense and Sensibility
- March: Calendar Girls
Thanks to these movies, you can make some interesting discoveries about British culture as well as British accents and dialects.
Keep reading to discover what each movie taught us. You’ll find a video retrospective with three short videos where you’ll learn about UK language and culture through movie clips.
Howards End: Tea vs Dinner
If you’ve ever felt confused when a British person asks “What did you eat for tea”? then this is the video for you.
You’ll learn the difference between “tea” and “dinner” in British English and how the use of these words to talk about meals varies according to social class thanks to the movie, “Howards End” starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham-Carter.
“Howards End” is a movie based on the novel of the same name that explores the lives of three families in the early 20th century: the lower class Basts; the bourgeois intellectuals, the Schlegels and the upper class capitalists, the Wilcoxes.
“Howards End” was our Leo Listening Movie Club pick for January 2021 and it gave us plenty to talk about. Movies are great for having a conversation in English after all!
Sense And Sensibility: A Modern Translation
In February my Movie Club students and I watched and discussed the 1995 film version of “Sense and Sensibility“, directed by Ang Lee and starring Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and a very young Kate Winslet.
The movie’s themes are timeless and make for great discussion topics (heartbreak, love, loss of social position). But some of the language is a little old-fashioned, because the film is based on a 19th century Jane Austin novel.
So, in this video, you’ll discover my proposition for a modern translation of the language in one of the clips.
Understand British Accents With Calendar Girls
A curious linguistic phenomenon splits my country of origin, the United Kingdom, in two.
When it comes to certain vowel sounds, you can pretty much draw a line on the map to divide the country into two accent types: northern and southern.
While we were watching “Calendar Girls” in March, one of my students made an insightful observation about this.
This north-south difference on words like “but” and “bath” inspired me to create a YouTube video about it, using real-life examples from our March movie, “Calendar Girls”. The film is based on the true story of a group of 50-something Women’s Institute members who create a nude calendar and raise millions of pounds for charity.
This video was tricky for me to make because my accent is “northern”. I used to live Scotland. And then I lived in Nottingham, England where the accent is “northern”, even though it’s in the middle of the country, not “the North”.
That’s why, you’ll see me struggling in the video to pronounce words like “path” or “bun” in the “standard”, southern way.
For more on accent differences within the UK, check out this article.
Join The Movie Club Waiting List And Get A Free Course
By the way, if you’re interested in watching and discussing movies to improve your English listening, speaking and pronunciation skills, please make sure you sign up for the Movie Club waiting list.
In Movie Club, you watch and discuss movies with other movie-loving English learners from different countries and cultures. Enrolment opens 3 times a year, in April, September and December. When you sign up for the waiting list, you also get a free gift “Movies Together” which is a 3-day email course that will teach you how to connect with others to improve your English through movies. Sign up and get your free course.