austen strikes again! mansfield park the target.

Sunday, September 20, 2009 |
It’s pardonable if you don’t know what I’m doing with these random Austen-related film reviews. After all, I haven’t been particularly disciplined in finishing the Everything Austen challenge hosted over at Stephanie’s Written Word. BUT! I have progress to report. The 2007 Masterpiece theater television movie, Mansfield Park, based on the Jane Austen novel of the same name, is the sixth of my twelve challenge items, and it’s finished!

Sent to live in an estate with her wealthy aunt and uncle, fish-out-of-water Fanny Price (Billie Piper) struggles to find her place in the dizzying world of high society’s glitz, glamour and sexual politics.

Directed by Iain B. MacDonald, this made-for-television adaptation of the Jane Austen classic also stars Jemma Redgrave, Maggie O’Neill, Blake Ritson, Douglas Hodge, James D’arcy, Rory Kinnear and Catherine Steadman.

Thoughts: 1) Edmund is a gothic vampire (or perhaps all Regency-period clergymen were too-thin, pale and dark?). 2) Jemma Redgrave as Lady Bertram is absolutely fantastic. She’s vague and absent-mindedly silly enough to fit the part perfectly, but steals the show in a well-timed moment of clarity at the end. 3) I know it’s part of the original story, but the Crawfords really are the most interesting characters. Too bad they’re not the protagonists!

Things I liked: the inclusion of Fanny’s brother was a smart move. You get family connection without changing the scene. Billie Piper is a very spirited Fanny, and she definitely moves about a lot, which I think made the character more likeable. Motion = good. It also showcased her youth, which is a big (and sometimes overlooked) theme in the story.

Things I didn’t like: they used child actors in the first five minutes of the film to depict the characters as their younger selves, and it wasn’t superb. Not horrible, but just not the same quality. In fact, my brother got up and walked away during those scenes…I also wasn’t a huge fan of an older Fanny chasing the girl in the library scene. It seemed forced and a bit strange. There were a couple transitions that were rough as well, but those I can attribute to the nature of the film, i.e. it was made for television.

In all, the film-watching experience was enjoyable and pain-free. I don’t think I’ll purchase a copy for myself, but I won’t hesitate to recommend it to Austen addicts, either. Rating: B.


She said...

Ooo, Mansfield Park! I watched a different movie version last summer and remember really liking it. I'll have to give this one a go when my next netflix order is up. :)

I think this is the version I saw:

Lisa said...

I've never seen this version of "Mansfield Park." Your brother was really watching it with you?

Misty said...

I really think something should be done with the Crawfords. They are so ignored, but they really are the most interesting. And Mary, to me, is so progressive and sort of early feminist. She's a really fascinating character, ripe for her own story.

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

I have a hard time staying with movies when they bother me right from the start. I can't believe you were able to finish it!

Heather G. said...

I thought it was a fun rendition...I'm still waiting for a really well done version, but this one was still a good one! Thanks for your review!

I have an award for you, so drop by when you get a chance!

Tales of Whimsy said...

I've never seen this version. Very interesting! :)

Jenn M. said...

It's Rose from Doctor Who!! My husband made me start watching Doctor Who, and then I became hooked. He also informed me that Billie Piper used to be a pop singer...hmmm.

I haven't seen this version yet, although it is on my list.

Good luck getting through. I think I am on 6/12 as well.

Lenore Appelhans said...

This is one I've never seen or read. Obvs I'm missing out.

The Cozy Mystery Journal said...

I haven't seen this version either. When I see Billie Piper I think Doctor Who now, lol. Must go rent this.

vvb32 reads said...

congrats for meeting the challenge! glad to hear a good review on this one. i was doubtful about billie as fanny as i have her dr. who character ingrained. look forward to watching this version after the read. yes, still reading mansfield park.

Jenny Girl said...

Wasn't a big fan of this one because of Piper. Go figure because I love her in Dr. Who. Glad you enjoyed it though. Good job on the Austen challenge girl! you are just whipping them out.

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