In an attempt to “expand my horizons” from the usual types of film I watch, when the Jane Austen season came onto ITV, I watched all of them. Mansfield Park was by far my favourite. Nothing, of course, to do with the totally divine Joseph Beattie, though it was great to have something nice to look at!
No, in all seriousness I liked the plot – it was naughtier somehow than other stories in a similar genre. The way the characters interacted and walked on the wild side, it wasn’t the stuffy gentlemen and obedient women I was expecting. The main character, Fanny Price is sent to live with her aunt and uncle at Mansfield Park, as her parents can no longer afford to keep her. She is devastated to begin with, but soon forms a friendship with her cousin Edmund and they become very close. As the years progress, Fanny realises her love for Edmund is more than just fondness for a cousin. She is desperately in love with him, but would never have him know it.
In the meantime, one of her cousins is to be married but is flirting with a handsome visitor to Mansfield, who is temptation itself. Edmund is being charmed too, by a outspoken young woman who disagrees with his decision to enter the church. She believes he could do better, and constantly voices her disgust. Edmund is torn – he has feelings for her, but does not wish to give up his future as a clergyman. Meanwhile, poor Fanny is pining for Edmund, though she knows she is losing him to another, and he will never be hers.
Life goes on at Mansfield Park, but there are ups and downs, and many disasters – which is those days would have been heavily frowned upon. All in all, this is a really fun film about family dynamics, love and betrayal in Austen’s day. Despite some of its deeper meaning, it still manages to be light-hearted, and the ending gets my heart all of a flutter and puts a tear in my eye. Then I want to watch it all again! I think most women would enjoy this, and perhaps guys who aren’t afraid of showing their feminine side!