‘From Mansfield with Love’ Review: Web Series Based on Mansfield Park

I highlighted From Mansfield with Love when it first premiered, and wanted to check back in regarding my impressions of it now that it’s aired a dozen episodes. First off, the practical aspects of it as far as adapting Austen’s 18th-century story to a 21st-century world were, and continue to be, very cleverly done – reworking Fanny Price as a housekeeper/maid-of-all-work at a large hotel just makes so much sense and allows so many aspects of the story to fall into place organically and not feel forced. Frankie Price has worked as a housekeeper at Mansfield Hotel for years under a dictatorial manager, with only the support of her best friend Edmund to comfort her. Her brother Will sends her a camera and asks her to makes vlogs to document her life for him.

Now that it’s aired twelve episodes, I’m a little disappointed in the series on the whole. It seems sweet but uninspired (perhaps not entirely unlike the original novel, ha!) There are a few moments and scenes peppered here and there that are just wonderful, and interestingly, they’re mostly the moments that deviate entirely from the novel, when Frankie and Edmund hilariously riff off each other about imaginary scenarios or contemporary fantasy or literary worlds or the line of suitors presumably lining up outside Frankie’s door. There’s a sparkly, very endearing chemistry in those moments that’s kept me tuning in the series. On the whole, however, while the leads are engaging, the writing and dialogue are alternately quite exposition-heavy (i.e. episode 12 detailing exhaustively the details of the Crawford family), or just flat, consumed with domestic and daily details that don’t move plot or relationship forward. I do enjoy the series, but I recommend a light viewing schedule, feeling free to skip episodes or jump around within it to find the most interesting parts.

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9 thoughts on “‘From Mansfield with Love’ Review: Web Series Based on Mansfield Park

  1. Heather January 21, 2015 at 10:43 pm Reply

    I just discovered the series a week or so ago, and rushed through all the episodes. “Mansfield Park” could fall flat easily—it’s not an easy book to adapt—but so far I think it’s been done really well. I’m impressed with the leads, as well as how they’ve modernized the various elements, like you said. For the most part, Frankie balances the shyness of Austen’s original character while still be entertaining and warm onscreen (especially with Edmund).

    So far I’m pleasantly surprised! I’m guessing it will be enjoyable to watch all the way through like “The Autobiography of Jane Eyre,” though I probably won’t be watching episodes over and over like “The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy.” 😉

    Apparently I’ve been gone from YouTube enough to miss a bunch of these new web series! Like I said, Mansfield Park was an especially nice surprise. (I’m still waiting for a decent adaptation of Sense & Sensibility. There’s been four attempts, I think, but there is one that look promising…)

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  2. Claire January 22, 2015 at 10:06 am Reply

    Hi Heather, yes I agree!! New Adventures of Peter and Wendy is one of the best out there, AoJE and Mansfield Park are fun but not as crazy gripping. Have you tried Nothing Much to Do? That’s been my favorite webseries out of all of them so far except for Lizzie Bennett Diaries. https://coffeeandirony.com/2014/10/06/8-favorite-web-series-or-8-favorite-romantic-literary-adaptions-nothing-much-to-do-the-classic-alice-and-more/

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  3. Claire January 22, 2015 at 10:07 am Reply

    Also, I was sad that in AoJE, there wasn’t really any final romantic scene since the actor that played Rochester left 😦

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  4. Heather January 22, 2015 at 11:34 am Reply

    Yeah, I was sad about the ending of AoJE too! I’m sure it wasn’t how they would have ideally done it, also given the fact that they spent so much time with Jane at the Rivers’, so the story felt off-balanced. Still, the main actress was wonderful as Jane—another harder role to pull off in a web series, like Fanny Price. (Lizzy and Emma lend themselves to that way of storytelling much more.)

    I’ve heard such good things about Nothing Much to Do and I’m so excited to see it!!! I’m trying to read the original Shakespeare play before I watch, though, so it’s taking me awhile when I’m reading so many other things. I can’t wait to watch NMTD, though, so I need to get on that!!

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  5. Claire January 22, 2015 at 11:42 am Reply

    Yes, they spent to long at the Rivers I very nearly switched to shipping John with Jane instead! 🙂 And she was great, such a natural, warm onscreen presence (I agree that Jane and Fanny are harder to make relatable).

    Don’t read the play too seriously, it’s actually a quick read if you treat it as a plot-driven novel and just blitz through instead of reading it in chunks like a Super Serious Play. But yes, let me know when you watch NMTD! I was/am so obsessed with it (the creators of it are just about to start filming another series called Lovely Little Losers)

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  6. Heather January 22, 2015 at 11:50 am Reply

    Haha, yes, I’m not too serious about Shakespeare. 😉 I blame my iPad formatting and reading when I’m too tired. I need to find a good physical copy that’s not an all-in-one brick I have at the moment. (I’d also love to read up before the second part of “The Hollow Crown” airs, but I have awhile, since it’s 2016, I think. Richard III! Wars of the Roses! Not web series material, though, haha.)

    Yes I’ve seen bits for Lovely Little Losers so I’m even more exciting to join the world/fandom.

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  7. Claire January 22, 2015 at 11:59 am Reply

    Yes! I’ve been meaning to watch Hollow Crown but haven’t yet. Are you going to be watching Wolf Hall (first episode came out yesterday)?

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  8. Heather January 22, 2015 at 12:22 pm Reply

    Yes I want to watch that when I can! The cast looks great in their respective roles. 🙂

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  9. Claire January 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm Reply

    Yes indeed 🙂

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