I think I’m probably coming at this review in a different context from other people – I haven’t read Mansfield Park but am a huge fan of period dramas and have read several of Austen’s other books.
My husband picked me this DVD up thinking it would be something I’d enjoy and I have to say I did like this very much. Considering the timeframe in which the writers had to condense the novel into a screenplay there are going to be areas where they needed to condense or adapt the content – and if I had one criticism about this it would be that it felt a little rushed towards the end.
However, all that said I thought Billie Piper was excellent as Fanny Price, suitably subservient and engaging she captured my imagination as the character from the outset.
For those out there who like their Austen light and condensed then this adaptation will work well for you – if instead you like each detail in full glory adapted over several episodes then I can understand why this may have left you dissapointed. The comparison I would give is like watching Pride & Prejudice by the BBC with Firth & Ehle and then watching the film with Keira Knightley – they are both equally good but you can’t help feeling the film was conciously clock watching in order to get it all in whilst the BBC version felt like a luxury tour around the world of Austen with each detail magnified and the real build up of the characterisations ensuring it remained with us emotionally for far longer after we’d stopped watching.