Tuesday, May 15, 2007

If Billie Piper Had a Peck of Austen Roles, Why Pick Fanny?

Billie Piper in a bodice--blah, blah, blah... Why does anyone think they can infuse Mansfield Park with the remotest appeal either to the milk-toast characters or the preachy plot? Even Jane Austen herself could not. Well Hello Mr. Ritson, I did not see you come in.

In truth, I dragged myself through the entire film without the teensiest care for Edmund, Fanny or the rest of the gang until the very end. It was in the last five minutes or so that I realized I had been cultivating a slow growing fancy that was beginning to burn for one Blake Ritson. He gave Edmund’s transformation from fool for Mary Crawford (Haylee Atwell) to fool for Fanny more plausibility than it deserves. I believed that he had a true awakening of feelings and so did I.

Talk about low profiles though, I could not even find his birthday out here in cyberspace. The best I could do is find he has/had a girlfriend actress Hattie Morahan. JANE CONNECTION: Miss Morahan will be playing Elinor Dashwood in the soon- to-be- released Sense and Sensibility. We will keep a look out for more Ritson and Miss Morahan as well.

Back to Billie for a moment; she was very sweet and believable as the prim Miss Price. I just would have rather seen her as Lydia Bennet in a different Austen more suited to her vivacity (and figure).

Jemma Redgrave continues to be one of my favorites but can I admit here that I was very disappointed that at one year older than me she was playing the matriarch? Where the hell does the time go? I could not relate to this casting as l could to Allison Steadman, for example.

I don’t wish to diminish the efforts of the rest of the cast by not mentioning them individually but in truth, I think all was played well with the material given. Okay maybe a shout out to Michelle Ryan aka Zoe Slater who is as cute as ever. But everyone needs to remember this lesson: just because it is Jane Austen does not make it infallible.