|U.S. Box Art|
Meek and timid Fanny Price, the eldest daughter in her family, is taken in by her uncle Sir Thomas Bertram (a baronet) and his wife Lady Bertram to be raised alongside their children Tom, Edmund, Maria, and Julia since the age of ten. Though Fanny is brought up along with her cousins, she constantly reminded that she is inferior to her cousins due to her low birth. The only one that Fanny becomes close to is Edmund, who she falls in love with quickly. However the arrival of Henry and Mary Crawford creates an upheaval in the lives of the Bertrams and Fanny.
There were a couple of familiar British actors in this movie. There aren't as many familiar faces in Mansfield Park as in other period dramas, however there were a few that I recognized.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Billie Piper||Fanny Price||Doctor Who as Rose Tyler|
|Blake Ritson||Edmund Bertram||Emma as Mr. Elton|
|Hayley Atwell||Mary Crawford||The Duchess as Lady Bess Foster|
One of the problems that I had with this film was that it was way too short and rushed. Mansfield Park is Jane Austen's longest book, but this is the shortest Jane Austen adaptations that I've seen (not counting the Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey episodes of Wishbone, of course). Though I didn't finish Mansfield Park, I noticed that a lot of scenes were missing and that everything felt rushed. I felt like I didn't really know the characters very well by the end of the 93 minute run of the movie.
Before watching this movie, I had heard that Billie Piper got Fanny Price's character all wrong. Well, that is pretty much correct. I'm not saying that she was a bad actress in this movie, but I don't think she was the Fanny that is in the book. There were a couple of major points that they missed in Fanny's character:
|Fanny Price as portrayed by Billie Piper|
- Fanny is a very timid, shy character: I can't imagine her running through the halls of Mansfield laughing and giggling. Is this the same girl that came to Mansfield crying?
- Fanny has a very moral core that she never goes against even to the point of angering everyone. Is it possible that the Fanny in the book, who was so dead set against acting in the play Lover's Vows to the point that everyone was angry with her, would suddenly consent to acting in the movie? And if she did, would that have been the same Fanny that would be able to hold off pressure to marry Henry Crawford? I doubt it.
- Fanny's health isn't even touched upon in this movie. Billie Piper's Fanny looked healthy and had no problem running about Mansfield. Fanny is supposed to have fairly weak health (hence why she rides the old grey pony).
|Blake Ritson as Edmund Bertram|
Despite his being Mr. Elton in the 2009 miniseries of Emma, Blake Ritson was a decent Edmund. His acting was pretty good and you could tell that he cared a lot for Fanny. Though I liked him as Edmund, I think he was probably more suited to the role of Mr. Elton in Emma than to Edmund. I didn't really picture Edmund with greasy hair like he had in this movie (but this is probably a costuming issue and definitely not as grievous as Fanny's hair, but more on that later), but still, he was a okay Edmund.
|Lady Bertram (left) and Mrs. Norris (right)|
|Mary and Henry Crawford... But where did they come from?|
|Under the tent at Mansfield|
Well, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that there are some lovely costumes in Mansfield Park. They looked nice and pretty and well made. The bad news? They were ill-suited for the time period, status of the characters, and with regards to Fanny's costumes would not be something that she would have worn.
|An example of the old fashioned fashions of Mansfield Park.|
Would Lady Bertram have worn clothes that were at least
twenty years old?
Then there's the status of the characters. Sir Thomas is a baronet with a nice home and plenty of money. Would the women in a baronet's family have worn clothes that were at least twenty years old? No. It would make sense if they were poor, but they're not. Even though the Bertrams live in the country, they would have still have heard about Regency fashions by 1814. Generally speaking, the waistlines on all the girls with the exception of Mary Crawford were too low for the time period.
|Fanny's outdated dress with no|
Okay, here's my opinion of this Mansfield Park: I liked it for what it was, but it wasn't Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. And even though I liked it, I still thought it was a flawed period drama. Even ignoring the fact that a lot of Jane Austen's original story was cut, it was too rushed because it was too short for the amount of content in the story. Minor characters were cut out of this version that should have been in there at least to make it flow a little better. Even a simple mention of Dr. and Mrs. Grant would have explained why the Crawfords were there at all. Some of the main characters were also miscasted, which lead this adaption to be lackluster. I'm still of the opinion that Mansfield Park should have a new accurate adaption: this simply was not it.
Besides some kissing, there is no content in that should cause much concern. I would suspect that it would have been rated TV-G or TV-PG when it aired on TV. Definitely a plus compared to the content that was in the 1999 Mansfield Park.
Mansfield Park is available on DVD. The version available on DVD in the U.S. is about 93 minutes long.