26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Cranford-- wonderful place!,
This review is from: Cranford [DVD]  (DVD)
I ordered this from Amazon UK to be able to view this prior to its U.S. release date. I was not disappointed! Sadly, I had to watch it by myself because my husband didn't think he'd like it. He would have been wrong, by the way. It was exquisite in every way.
I watched it over 2 nights. It's a 5 hour miniseries and it is broken up into five 1 hour-long episodes.
The first 3 hours were very very good. Excellent, even. But the last 2 hours were absolutely perfect.
In Cranford, we meet many of its residents with most of the focus on 2 spinster sisters and their surrounding friends and relatives. Everyone is kind here and look out for their neighbors and generally want to live correctly and do the right thing. Their village has been like this for ages and the citizens have all known eachother since birth. It is an idyllic place and a happy place. They welcome new residents, too, with every bit of friendliness.
Cranford has existed in the same way for years, even though times are changing. A railroad may come through the town and most residents are against this type of change. For with the positive changes-- such as information, goods, and knowledge, there would also be negative changes-- more transients, less safety, etc.
The intertwined story lines here involve the two sisters, class distinctions, entitlements and expectations, a very funny love triangle, and accepting change and modernity.
One of the best stories involves the young son of a poacher (one who kills animals on others' land). The manager of the aristocrat's large estate takes the young boy under his wing and wants to teach him to read and write. The Lady of the estate finds out and believes that those of this underclass should not attempt to learn skills outside their "class". Maybe worse, the boy's father finds out of the boy's desire to read and also disapproves. We find out later that the Lady isn't cold-hearted. On the contrary. She's kind-hearted and full of pain, yet it's difficult for her to recognize the times are changing and that some of her ways must change, too.
When a new handsome doctor moves to town, he immediately falls for Sophy. Sophy returns his admiration, yet so do 2 others who misunderstand his general kindness for more romantic intentions. This culminates in expected confusion, but the outcome is happy at the end.
Those watching Cranford from the beginning may take it to be an old-fashioned chick-flick. It's really not, though. It does focus on the women of Cranford more than the men, but the stories depicted cross gender lines. Change-- industrialization-- is the antagonist here, along with fear of change. However, as new medical practices save several lives, and a member of the trade class saves a member of the Upper class, it's also obvious that change, by itself, isn't bad. It can be positive for everyone involved.
This is a fantastic series. The only disappointment was that it was only five hours! I definitely could have watched another few episodes with the same interest these five held. Beautifully acted, filmed, and scored. The entire film was thoroughly enjoyable.