Monday, February 17, 2014

Mansfield Park // book-to-movie comparison

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen:
book-to-movie comparison

 The Story: Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry's attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary's dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords' influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. (goodreads summary)

  The Book: I recently read this novel, and I completely fell in love with it. At first I didn't think I liked it at all, but by the end I was considering it a new favorite. The characters are so diverse, the plot is interesting, and the writing is wonderful (but of course it is, it's Jane Austen after all!). It's just a great book.
 The Movie: There are several film adaptions, but the one I watched was the 2007 ITV movie that stars Billie Piper and Blake Ritson. Because it's a short movie (and the book is long) the plot had to be simplified, but nothing was changed too much. It wasn't as quality of a film as some of the other Jane Austen adaptations...but then, I'm used to BBC, which in my mind does everything right :) The cast was really good. Overall, I think it's a really cute movie and I really enjoyed it.

 There were some interesting changes in the personalities of some of the characters, so I thought I'd do a bit of a comparison:

Fanny Price

Book Fanny: Book Fanny is a very shy, quiet, and thoughtful girl. Readers of this book often complain that Fanny is boring and unrealistic, and are annoyed that she let's herself get pushed around all the time by everyone. At first, I sort of felt that way myself, but that completely changed by the end. In the course of the novel, Fanny really grows as a character. There's so much to be admired and respected in her character. She has strong principles, and sticks to them no matter what. She's kind to everyone despite how they treat her. She's certainly a different kind of heroine from Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse, but I think she's wonderful.

 Movie Fanny: Movie Fanny is quite a bit different from Book Fanny. She's a lot more outgoing and energetic, and she doesn't hide her emotions. She is nowhere near as serious of a person. She says some things that Book Fanny would never dream of being so bold as to say, and she reacts to situations (such as unwanted proposals) in, shall we say, a less tearful way. Despite how different she is, I think she's a lovely character in her own way.

Edmund Bertram

Book Edmund: Book Edmund is a serious, respectable, ambitious young man. He's kind and loyal. Unlike the rest of his family who at first looks down upon Fanny because of her family's poverty, Edmund is a wonderful friend to her from the start. So, in a nutshell, he's a total sweetheart. :)

Movie Edmund: For the most part, Movie Edmund is just like Book Edmund. The creators of the film didn't make him any less respectable or serious. I think Blake Ritson was the perfect pick for this role. He looks and acts just like I imagined Book Edmund to.

Mary Crawford

Book Mary: Mary is a very complicated character to figure out. For the most part she's shallow and foolish and mean, but then at times she almost seems to sincerely care about others. Book Mary befriends Fanny, whether because she genuinely likes her or because it's all a ploy to get Edmund's attention, I'm not sure. A bit of both, perhaps?

Move Mary: Movie Mary is, if anything, even more foolish and shallow. There's less of a confusion here of whether she's nasty or nice - it's pretty obvious from the start. Movie Mary doesn't befriend Fanny like Book Mary does - she ignores her for the most part. I did miss that aspect to the story.

 Henry Crawford

Book Henry: Henry, Henry, Henry. What can be said of him? He's the biggest flirt in Austenian history, to begin with. His favorite hobby is to make girls fall in love with him and then break their hearts. He's heartless and mean. But then, there is somehow something sort of likable about him. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him at times, and he was quite charming...or, hold it, maybe I'm just falling into the trap that all those other poor girls fell into! Wow, he's good.

Movie Henry: Although Movie Henry's character wasn't as developed as his book counterpart was, I think they did a good job with the time they had. He was definitely as heartless and conniving as he should be! Although, what was with his hair? Good sir, have you ever heard of combing your hair?

 So, have you ever read Mansfield Park or watched a film adaptation? I'd love to hear what you thought!



  1. I agree with your comparisons! I loved the book(Persuasion is my favorite, however), and I thought this adaptations was sweet. Out of the adaptations I've seen, this I felt, was the most faithful. I'm a biiiiig BBC fan. haha

  2. Did I say Persuasion? I mean Northanger Abbey as my favorite.

  3. When I was on an Austen-reading-spurt last year, I started this book...unfortunately I didn't get very far into it before I lost steam.
    Thus ended my conquest of Austenian literature. Sadly.
    I was obviously mistaken when I put this one down, I'll check it out of the library as soon as I can and give it another go!

  4. Mansfield Park is next on my list of Austen rereads. :) It's my least favorite of her novels, and I've only read it once. I enjoyed it, of course, but when I put them in order of my favorites, it's at the bottom.

    I do remember rather liking Fanny, though it seems that most people don't.

    I really like this adaptation! I don't really understand why a lot of people dislike may not be the most historically accurate or whatever, but I think it's a pretty faithful adaptation. :)

  5. I've never actually finished reading Mansfield park, (I really want to) but I have seen the movie. And I agree completely about Fanny. In the book she was just so shy, and I felt like Billie Piper just wasn't the best of choices to play her, just the way she looks and the way she acted were way more outgoing than the book Fanny. (though, I loved her in Doctor Who, of course)