“No on meant to be unkind, but I was the poor relation and I was often made to feel it. Only Edmund put himself out to secure my happiness. He became my one true friend. And as the years passed, I came to love him as more than a cousin.”
Mansfield Park is one of those movies I just watched because of the actors in it. It is otherwise a movie and a story I probably would have stayed far away from. I do not mind English literature one of my all time favorite novels is Jane Eyre that at the time of this writing I have read twice and plan to read again in the future. The reason I would have stayed away from Mansfield Park had it not been for the cast is because stories about the rich versus the poor in English society at the time the book was written drive me crazy. I cannot stand injustice or when people are looked down upon as unworthy or stupid because of their class. So as not to be bored out of my misery or bore you to death I will try to keep my summary write up short.
At ten years old Fanny Price (Billie Piper) is sent to live with her wealthy relations since her own family is having trouble keeping her. Her relations, the Bertrams, are stuffy upper class people. Another relation, her mother’s other sister Aunt Norris, lives in the home as well. She has always seen Fanny as a nuisance unworthy of anything pleasurable. The only family member to give Fanny love and attention is the youngest son Edmund. Because Edmund is nice to her Fanny develops a deep love for her cousin.
Years later, Fanny is still looked down upon, Edmund wants to become a clergyman, Tom (James D’Arcy) the oldest son is a gambler, and the two daughters Maria (Michelle Ryan) and Julie are snobbish and pretty. Trouble comes one summer in the form of the Crawford siblings. Mary (Hayley Atwell) and her brother Henry have moved in next door. They know the Bertrams are rich and they plan their attack of marrying into money. Mary has her eye set on Tom since he is the oldest and the heir but he is too much of a partier and not around as much so she next sets her sites on Edmund. Mary’s plan works she is irresistible to Edmund. Fanny is the only one in the family who can see what Mary and Henry are planning. She hates seeing Mary flirt with Edmund when she is the one who has loved Edmund for the longest time but she does not say anything.
Henry is unable to sway Maria away from her fiancé. He tells Mary he plans to flirt it up with Fanny since she has become a pretty young lady. Sir Thomas would like Fanny to marry Henry but she refuses since she knows what Henry is truly like. Sometime later the family is given news that Maria has left her husband and run away with Henry. Edmund has a talk with Mary. She is not mad at her brother she is just upset that Maria and Henry got caught. She goes on to say that she does not believe that Tom, who has been sick, will survive which will make Edmund the heir. Edmund finally sees through Mary’s BS and finally takes his drunk goggles of and realizes it is Fanny whom he has always truly loved.
So four of the cast members come from two shows I am currently massively obsessed with: Doctor Who and Agent Carter. Billie Piper played the wonderfully amazing Rose Tyler on DW and Michelle Ryan played Lady Christina in the episode Planet of the Dead (although I knew her from the very short lived reboot of Bionic Woman a few years ago. I liked it and was probably the only one who did). Hayley Atwell is queen of the universe Agent Peggy Carter and James D’Arcy plays Jarvis in Agent Carter. Atwell and Piper were fantastic. Ryan and D’Arcy were not in the movie too much so I cannot really comment on their acting. It was just cool to see them all together especially Atwell and D’Arcy since this was obviously before Agent Carter. It is interesting to see how much of a range Billie Piper has as an actress. I am so used to seeing her as Rose in Doctor Who and now I am watching her in Penny Dreadful and Secret Diary of a Call Girl. She is not bad in any of them.
Masfield Park was quite a bore. As I said I hate this type of story but in movie version the story did not drive as nuts as it would have if I had read it. I am only going to tell you to watch Mansfield Park if you like Billie Piper, Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Michelle Ryan or if you are weird and really love Jane Austen and the novel of Mansfield Park. Otherwise, this is a movie that does not need to be seen.
Did I watch Mansfield Park and want to write it up so I can fan girl over and confess my undying girl crush on both Billie Piper and Hayley Atwell… ABSOLUTELY!