Thanks to Kristie J. and the Ramblings on Romance, Etc. blog I've become a big fan of North and South. What I really enjoyed about the movie, beside watching Richard Armitage for four hours, was the depth of his character Mr. Thornton. In the beginning, Mr. Thornton appears to be the typical brooding Victorian hero. However, as the story develops, more aspects of his character are revealed and he grows and changes in very surprising ways. Richard Armitage plays Mr. Thornton with such a depth of masculine emotion that it's difficult not to be moved. I don't want to give anything away, but there were a couple of scenes that had me sitting up and yelling "Oh my God!" at the TV.
Daniela Denby-Ashe is very good as Margaret Hale. I almost didn't realize that she is also the ditsy daughter from BBC's My Family and it's great to see her in a serious role.
I highly recommend North and South to anyone looking for a new favorite film to add to their collection.