Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

Under the Greenwood Tree

Under The Greenwood TreeJust recently I stumbled upon this sweet, romantic, and funny film while my teenage daughter and I were scouring Netflix for more family friendly historical romances. This one is a real gem that I know many CBA readers will enjoy, mainly because the story has several elements that readers find alluring in inspirational, historical romances.

Based on the Thomas Hardy novel, Under the Greenwood Tree is set in 1870s England and tells the story of the beautiful and educated Fancy Day, who comes to an obscure village to help care for her ailing father. Immediately, every single man in town is drawn to her and vies for her attention. First, there is the wealthy Mr. Shiner, who is fat and balding and a bit crude and uncouth; Parson Maybold, who is a cold-hearted religious theologian who views marriage as more of a practicality than a matter of the heart; and the poor, yet handsome Dick Dewy, who, in a hilarious scene, is rendered speechless by Fancy’s beauty. My daughter and I agreed that the actor who plays Dewey, James Murray, looks just like Zac Efron, but with an English accent. Not bad.

If you are a fan of BBC dramas, you will recognize Keeley Hawes, who plays Fancy Day. She is a fabulous actress who looks like a younger version of Kristin Scott-Thomas. She is married to Matthew Macfadyen, for those of you who are fans of Pride and Prejudice. I love the way she played off the three suitors,

ignoring their advances, and yet giving them encouragement at the same time. As she teaches school and plays the church harmonium , she appears to be unaware that a battle wages for her hand. Mr. Shiner flashes his money about like a puffed-up rooster; the Parson uses intellect and a love of stilted, church hymns to win approval; but Dewey, the romantic hero, eventually takes a different approach. His delight in Fancy gets the better of him, and he can’t help but kiss her at a most inappropriate time. That starts the gossip tongues wagging, putting Fancy’s reputation in jeopardy. Her father steps in and demands that she marry Mr. Shiner, ensuring a life of luxury and high style before it is too late. But by now, her heart belongs to Dewey.

There is wonderful humor from Dewey’s father and his band of good hearted, ale-chugging singers who are offended when Fancy’s musical talents catch the Parson’s attention, putting them out of a job as the church choir. Hilarity abounds as they try a number of different tactics to change the Parson’s mind to be reinstated for Sunday worship. Eventfully, they resort to sabotaging the new church harmonium and humiliating Fancy in front of the entire community. Imagine a toned-down version of The Three Stooges, but with thick English accents and musical instruments. Very funny.

My husband enjoyed this movie too, so include the men in your family when you watch this flick. It was a wonderful, pleasant surprise to be swept up in the romance and drama while laughing until our sides hurt. And don’t be put off by its obscurity. The acting and film production quality are top Hollywood standard, but the storyline is clean and wholesome, and most important, entertaining. Perfect for the Christian audience.