By all appearances, the movie Cranford is as modest and quiet as the little town itself. However, there are treasures to be found if you care to scratch the surface. Based on the novel (of the same name) by Elizabeth Gaskell (North & South), Cranford is a small English town that prides itself on tradition and decorum. However, beneath it's sleepy depths beats the hearts of its most prominent residents: the industrious, albeit sometimes twittering and romantic women.The story begins with several new residents moving into the neighborhood. Chief amongst those is a bachelor by the name of Dr. Harrison (Simon Woods - Pride & Prejudice). He is young, handsome and exceptionally skilled in his field, so of course it does not take long for the women to begin scheming and match-making, even some who are twice his age! The story also follows a young and vibrant woman named Mary Smith who goes to stay with two eccentric, yet sweet sisters Matty and Deborah Jenkyns (Dame Judi Dench and Dame Eileen Atkins respectively). Most of the plot revolves around them; their daily comings and goings, letters, garden parties, shopping, afternoon tea and of course the occasional scandal (watch for cats digesting lace and a fabulously funny Imelda Staunton - Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix).All of these events would seem to make for slow going, but I assure you the mini-series felt anything but tedious. Underneath the seemingly superficial nature of their lives, these women learn to cope with love, loss, heartbreak, tragedy, even death. Their indomitable spirit, willingness to help one another, and rallied attempts to resist change (the new railway line) all make for some fascinating British television. So please, take out your best quilt, heat yourself a warm cup of tea, and settle down with your favorite fluffy kitten to enjoy the warmth, humor and fun that is Cranford.
"All around us, England shifts and changes, but Cranford stands fast."