Sunday, 6 December 2015

Webseries review: From Mansfield with Love

Travel to Mansfield Park... the 21st century version. Where Frankie Price is an overworked cleaner, Edmund training to become a history teacher and the Crawford's designers hired to redecorate the hotel Mansfield Park. When Frankie receives a camera as gift from her brother Will, she starts documenting her life and that of her friends at Mansfield Park. And that life might just be much more exciting than Frankie ever thought it would be!

After Jane Austen's beloved novels Pride & Prejudice and Emma had been made into popular webseries, it was now time for Jane Austen arguably least popular work, Mansfield Park to get the same treatment. From Mansfield with Love is made by a group of enthusiastic young theatre makers from England (the first Austen webseries made in Great Brittain? I think so) and it's an absolute charmer!

For one, the characters feels so very very real. Maybe everything and everyone doesn't look as polished as in the Pemberley Digital series, but it really feels like you're following the ordinary life of an ordinary girl. You still need to suspend your disbelief a bit at everything taking place 'on-camera', but I think this is inherent to the webseries format. But there's much less off this compared to, for example, Emma Approved. All the characters and their relationships feel organic and life-like.

Secondly, Frankie is awesome! A lot of people have trouble understanding Fanny Price and complain about her 'doormat' character and her passiveness. I don't think anyone watching From Mansfield with Love can complain about not understanding Frankie. I believe she's very true to the Fanny character and still a character many people can identify with and feel for. And her relationship with her brother Will was so adorable, a joy to watch! 

As to the 'villain' roles, I liked how subtle it was acted and written. I don't think in our day-to-day life we encounter many storybook-type villains, just people who make mistakes or have a nasty streak in their character. Mary and Henry Crawford were just that and that made them, again, very real. I liked seeing Frankie and Mary's friendship in the middle of the story explored, so you would understand the eventual falling out better.

I really liked how the end of the story was written and how much time we got after Henry and Mary's 'true nature' is discovered. In the book, this is all rushed over with quite quickly ('Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery'), but in this webseries we got time to explore the aftermath much better. We got to know Julia Bertram better and Rhea (Maria) Bertram got her redemption storyline. And Frankie and Edmund got to have some real development before they got together, which are all plusses! One little thing I wouldn't have minded seeing was Frankie (or one of the other characters) hearing from Henry again.

All in all, this is one amazing adaptation of Mansfield Park and despite it being a modern re-telling, I even think it might be the best adaption of the novel there is! I'm going to miss following Frankie and friends every week and hope this company makes another webseries soon. If you're an Austen fan and you haven't seen this yet, I'd say: what are you waiting for?

1 comment:

  1. I've been curious about this series, but haven't tried it yet. Clearly I need to! :)