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Her family living under the heavy burden of poverty, 10 year old Fanny Price is sent to live with her more affluent uncle and aunt, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram of Mansfield Park. Growing up, she is treated as an inferior relation by all but her best friend and cousin Edmund. Quiet, staid, and virtuous Fanny witnesses the stirrings of passion when worldly siblings Henry and Mary Crawford move in next door. Henry toys with the affections of Fanny's cousins Maria and Julia, but then his attentions unexpectedly turn towards Fanny... Written by
The medallion-print white muslin day dress Susan Edmonstone (Mrs. Grant) wears when the Crawfords first arrive at the vicarage is the same costume Perdita Weeks (Lydia Bennet) wears while sewing cushions for the church in Lost in Austen (2008). See more »
If you enjoy Jane Austin's novels, this is the best of the two available versions of Mansfield Park. It is very true to the book, but lacks the beautiful production values and outstanding cinematography of the 1999 version that stars Frances O'Connor.
Fanny Price has always been a problematic character for Austin's fans. Many that read the book when it was published in the early 1800s found her unbearable compared to Austin's other, more spirited heroines. Sylvestra Le Touzel does a nice job in this very challenging role.
The best performance in the movie, though, is Jackie Smith Wood's Mary Crawford. Mary is beautiful, flirtatious, morally confused, good hearted and shallow, all at once. She is one of the more complicated characters in all of Austin's novels, and Jackie Smith-Wood plays her to the hilt. It's a mystery why such a terrific performance did not yield further opportunities, but her career seems to have evaporated after this role.
This is a movie for the more patient Austin fan. The pacing is measured, and the characters, particularly Edmund and Mary Crawford, evolve as the story moves forward. Mansfield Park, unlike Austin's other successful novels, is really about the failed love affair between Edmund and Mary. As a result, it is a more somber read than Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. The wedding at the end is a natural result of Edmund coming home to Fanny as the one stable element in his life.
It's a solid movie with good acting and a complicated plot. It is well worth seeing.
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