Sunday, May 24, 2015

All Jane Austen part 5

Spudguns!  How's the coffee? Cold? Steaming? Lukewarm?  I was coming in to do the last of the Jane Austen and realized, I missed last months'.  OOOPPPPSSS!
So, this is in fact NOT the last one, but the second last one.

Mansfield Park   1999/2000 version starring Frances O'Connor and Jonny Lee Miller

plot: Fanny Price is sent to live with her wealthy uncle and aunt after her parents have yet another baby, and are unable to look after all of their children. Raised more as a servant then a family member, she's made to feel excluded by the other children and one aunt, until that is she becomes old enough to marry. Up to that point, the only family member who really accepts her is Edmund, one of the older cousins. At this point, the Crawfords have moved into the town, a pair of siblings, both looking to find a stable marriage and to cause some mischief. Henry Crawford, sets his sights on both Fanny and her recently married cousin Maria; while his sister Mary Crawford, has declared herself the intended of Tom. Only to find out the oldest Bertram is a drunk with little to offer. She soon turns her attention to Edmund, who himself has become a minister.  Mr Bertram, Fanny's uncle, learns that  Fanny refused to accept Henry's marriage proposal, and in a fit of rage sends her back to live with her parents. While there, Fanny learns of Edmund's plans to marry Mary Crawford, and of  Tom having an accident; causing her to return to her uncle's. Quickly, Henry starts and affair with Maria which creates a scandal, causing the family to remove themselves from them. Edmund soon learns that Miss Crawford is only interested in the family's money, and ends their engagement. This frees up himself and Fanny to finally be together.

The original novel was published in 1814, and has never been out of print.

There are a lot of differences between the original book and this version of the story. Most for the better.  As always in Jane Austen's works, betrayal seems to be a major theme.

Fanny Price is more then a bit stuffy for me in the original novel, but at the same time, MP is one of my favourite stories. Here we have a heroine who is really not much of one. Where in this movie version, Fanny has some backbone. 

In the novel, it's almost as if the heroine isn't a person but an ideal. It's her innocence and strong blind faith in the original story that makes her the heroine, even though she scolds everyone and is cold.
It's the idea of the moral compass. Fanny never gives in to temptation, even when it is the logical thing to do. Instead, she holds firm to her belief in her ethics, her ideal partner and her ideal family life.  The only time it's brought into question, when it looks like she might bend, is when she's sent home to live with her parents and the hoard of children; and realizes even in her state of being ignored at Mansfield Park, she's still in a better situation then the rest of the family. When this happens, she has a brief moment of "what if" and begins to soften towards Henry's marriage proposal. Afraid that she might not ever have another come her way and end up like her mother. But her core values keep her from going against her instincts, and she stands firm in her thoughts on Henry. She loves one man, which is Edmund.
In the book, Fanny comes across as both snobby towards Mary Crawford at times because Mary is willing to just let Edmund know in no uncertain terms she-Mary- is interested in marrying him, and at other times, Fanny backs off to the point of giving the impression she doesn't seem like she's worthy of love.

Yeah, mixed messages galore. And in this movie version, you see a bit of that, but not as much. The movie has Fanny as strong willed, outspoken, and bit cocky. More like the author Jane Austen was herself.

I'm waiting for a version to be made where Fanny says screw it and just ends up having a relationship with Henry Crawford. That's the twist I keep hoping for.  I mean, yeah he's the typical bad boy, the shack 'em and leave them before the condom's off kind of guy, but isn't that what JA built her reputation on?  Overcoming the scandal? Recovering from the heartbreak that seems to be universal and timeless even by today's standards...and isn't always the case that when you've got a major heat for a man, your best friend steals him when you're out of the room...

And now I need a refill on my coffee...till later

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