Book vs Movie “At Home in Mitford” Movie

At Home in Mitford is a made for T.V. movie based on the popular Mitford book series. 

At Home In Mitford

What do you do when the book is so very different from the movie or TV version?

Do you throw the book out the window? Do you refuse to watch the movie? Do you watch it and yell and scream about how inaccurate one or the other is?

Grace and I have asked ourselves this many times. We love to read. You probably know that by now. We also love to watch movies and TV shows, especially Grace. She loves to watch old movies and shows, and we have a family movie night almost every week. We enjoy all kinds of movies.

What do you do though when you want to watch a popular movie that is based on a book? Do you avoid it? Do you make sure to read the book before watching the movie? Do you watch the movie knowing that you might hate it? Or do you watch it and hope that you will fall in love with it?

After having many conversations on this subject, Grace and I decided to do a series of posts on the book vs the movie. We will occasionally share some thoughts on the book, the movie, and what we liked or didn’t like about them.

At Home in Mitford

Today we are starting with At Home In Mitford.

I love the book series Mitford Years by Jan Karon. I have read the first six books in the series, and the remainder of the books are in my to read pile waiting for me to pick them up.

I have described this book series many times as Anne of Green Gables for grown ups. It reminds me so much of Anne of Green Gables. It is different than the Anne series, but in many ways feels the same.

It is all about life in a small town and the people and places that make it what it is. You fall in love with the characters as they travel through life and its difficulties.

Because I love the book series so much I was hesitant to watch the Hallmark movie version that is now available on Amazon through Hallmark Movies now.

I love a good Hallmark movie, but I had read a few reviews that said Hallmark got The Mitford Years At Home in Mitford movie, all wrong. So I put off watching it and figured I might just skip it altogether.

I recently had an evening all to myself. No one was home, and I was in the mood to watch a movie. A quiet house doesn’t happen very often when you have teens and college kids in the house, so I wanted to take advantage of watching what I wanted to watch instead of what everyone else wanted.

I scrolled through the selection on both Netflix and Amazon and couldn’t really find something that I wanted to watch. Then I saw The Mitford Years movie and decided to give it a try.

I should have just skipped it. Seriously, I felt like screaming at my TV so many times while I was watching it. They got it all wrong.

Let me step back for a minute and say the At Home in Mitford movie was not bad for a Hallmark movie. If I had never read the books I would probably have enjoyed the movie for the sappy Hallmark style love story that it was. But I have read the books, and it was nothing like the books.

At Home in Mitford

Yes, there was Father Tim, Cynthia, and Dooley, but that is about all that they got right. They took a great story and characters and turned them into something that looked nothing like the books.

Let’s start with the age of Father Tim and Cynthia. It was all wrong in the movie and nothing like the book. Father Tim was much younger in the movie than the book ever portrayed him to be.

The book is about Father Tim and his life. The movie focuses way more on Cynthia. In fact, it felt like it was a movie about Cynthia’s instead of Father Tim.

Dooley’s story was also totally different in the movie than in the book.

The vet and the bookstore owner also don’t follow the right story line.

And I could go on and on.

I really hope that they don’t do a sequel to this movie. It will just ruin the books even more.

Again, if I hadn’t read the books I would think this was a perfectly fine Hallmark movie. But I have read the books and so have many others. The movie really just missed the mark.

I know that you can’t fit an entire book or book series into a 2 hour movie or even into a TV season, but Hollywood could at least try to follow the basic story line. All to often they take a best selling book and turn it into something that we don’t even recognize. They take out all the parts that make the book great.

A movie should inspire you to read or reread the book. It should make you long to learn more about the characters and the story. Sadly this movie didn’t do that.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Have you read The Mitford Years by Jan Karon? If you have not read them, I highly recommend them. Have you seen the movie? What do you think? Do I have it all wrong? Or do you agree with me?


At Home in Mitford Book vs Movie

29 thoughts on “Book vs Movie “At Home in Mitford” Movie”

  1. I’m excited that you are doing this series of Book vs. Movie. How fun! My family enjoys watching the movies that are taken from books and “complaining” through the whole thing. 🙂

    Grace H

    • Complaining through the movie sounds just like our family! We love comparing the book vs the movie. We are excited about this series.

  2. I agree. I just finished the 1st book – AHIM- I know, I’m very behind. And I fell head over heels for Father Tm and the enchanting town. I haven’t even seen the movie but I saw the trailer…WHAT?! A young handsome Father Tim?! That missed the whole point!!! A beautiful super-model Cynthia?! Geez, Hollywood!!

    • I was behind on this series as well. I just started reading it a year or two ago. I can’t believe it took me so long to discover it. I just love it. It is such a great series about life in a small town and the people that live their. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series. Since you loved the book skip the movie…Hollywood got it all wrong on this one.

  3. They should have let Michael Landon Jr. produce it. It would have been something we cherished as we do Jan’s stories. He did a great job producing Janet Oke’s stories.

    • About Michael Landon. I feel the same way about him and his series rendering of The Little House on the Prairie, as most people feel about the At Home in Mitford movie (which I refuse to watch). Had I never read and loved Laura Wilder and the Little House books Im sure I would have loved the series, but they were NOTHINGlike the books. 🥺.
      PS Same for The Narnia movies…

  4. Where was Gregory Harrison when Father Tim was being cast? Or maybe James Brolin? Cameron Mathison is probably my favorite Hallmark leading man, but he was NOT the right choice for this one.

      • I have read all the Mitford books and lived them. I was skeptical that At Home could be squished into 2 hours (minus commercial breaks). Then putting the focus on Cynthia from the first shot moves the story in a totally other direction. The town is too big, totally not what is described in the book; Father Tim is too young, etc etc. I didn’t even finish watching it. I wonder how Jan Karon felt about this adaptation?

  5. Sorry so late to the party. Just saw a commercial about this movie and was bummed. I always thought Richard Dreyfus for Father Tim and Blyth Tanner for Cynthia.

    • I would not have thought of Blyth Tanner or Richard Dreyfus for the parts simply because their attitudes and personal lives or at least personas seem to be the opposite of those “in Mitford” but when I saw your suggestion I couldn’t help but agree. I absolutely can see that the physical traits, age, voices, etc would be perfect casting.

  6. Unbelievably bad casting! Andy McDowell is 10 years older than Cameron Mathison. Neither are ANYTHING like the characters in the books. (Ok maybe Cynthia had curly hair?) This is so loosely based on Karon’s wonderful books it is ridiculous to share the title.

    • I agree. The age was one of the things that I really disliked about the movie. I am glad that I am not alone in preferring the Mitford books over the movie.

    • Missing the charm is a great way to put it. The Mitford books have a charm that was lost in the movie. The books are such a cozy read and the movie wasn’t that at all.

  7. I read the entire Mitford series years ago and absolutely loved it! I thought this was from the same series based on the title, but I had to look up info on the movie to find out as it was so different than I remembered. Very disappointing Hallmark that you changed so many things!

  8. The movie totally lost the charm of the books. It was hard to separate the movie from the humor and reality of Jan Karons wonderful story and depth of many unique characters.

  9. I was flipping through channels and saw At Home in Mitford on Hallmark. I had read some of the Mitford books years ago and just finished listening to the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre dramatic adaptation. I watched the movie for less than 5 minutes. The aging Father Tim who struggles with his weight and diabetes was unrecognizable when played by Cameron Mathison. They guy who played the realtor would have been a better Father Tim. My advice–stick with the books.

  10. I was so excited to learn there would be a Mitford movie and SO DISAPPOINTED when I read it is not based on the book. I’ll still watch the movie, but with a big letdown.

  11. I’ve only been watching for 20 minutes and I can’t believe how badly it’s cast. They absolutely ruined a beautiful story! Don’t think I’ll make it to the end.

  12. I had read 6 of the Mitford books and loved them. I just started to watch the movie and realized I had seen it before. I enjoyed it as a movie but never connected it with the. Mitford books, it was so different.

  13. I had put off watching the movie because I had read the earlier comments. I have read the entire series and I too am disappointed. I found myself explaining to my husband when he asked about Dooley and Barnabas.

  14. I tried to watch the movie, but had to turn it off. The actors were miscast, the story line was an abomination. Maybe someone at Hallmark should have actually read the series before they cast their favorite handsome heart-throb as the main character, changed an alcoholic mother who sold one of her children for a bottle of booze into a hero that was serving her country in Afghanistan, and basically destroyed the story to make a mushy Hallmark movie. It’s horrible.

    • I think the majority of people that have read the books, dislike the movie just like you. They did not stay true to the book at all. You are not alone with how you feel. I love books, but not the movie.


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