Every week a guest teen reviewer shares a book, movie, or music recommendation. This week's guest post is by a 10th grader at the Shoreline Library.
Mansfield Park [streaming video]
In 19th century England, the ten-year-old Fanny Price (Billie Piper) is the second oldest of a poor family with many children. She is taken to Mansfield Park to live with one of her mother's sisters, Lady Bertram, who is married to the wealthy Sir Thomas. There, she grows up with her four cousins: Tom, Edmund, Maria, and Julia. Only Edmund (Blake Ritson) is genuinely kind to her and treats her as his equal.
She is tolerated at Mansfield Park, but she is not welcome. Especially Mrs. Norris, another sister of Fanny's mother, makes her life difficult. She interferes in all household matters, pampers the Bertram children, especially Maria, beyond measure, while disparaging Fanny and humiliating her with words.
The two superficial daughters Maria and Julia become more and more vain and conceited as the years go by, while Tom becomes a gambler. Edmund is the only one of the four siblings to survive his upbringing with an intact sense of decency. The emotional entanglements begin with the arrival of a brother and sister, Mr. and Miss Crawford. Miss Crawford and Edmund are attracted to each other, although Edmund is often troubled by her lack of proper manners and her irreverent views, specifically regarding his vocation as a clergyman.
The growing affection between the two grieves Fanny, who not only fears losing Edmund, but also feels that his love for Miss Crawford blinds him to her serious character flaws. Mr. Crawford, meanwhile, plays on the affections of both Bertram sisters, notwithstanding the fact that Mary is already engaged to the somewhat simple-minded but very wealthy Mr. Rushworth. And then Mr. Crawford actually asks Fanny to marry him.
Will everything work out in the end? This Jane Austen adaptation doesn't quite capture the satirical tone of the book. Nevertheless, it’s worth seeing. Recommended for ages 13 and older.