At 10, Fanny Price, a poor relation, goes to live at Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt's husband, Sir Thomas. Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral ... See full summary »
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Jonny Lee Miller
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At 10, Fanny Price, a poor relation, goes to live at Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt's husband, Sir Thomas. Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral compass, she becomes especially close to Edmund, Thomas's younger son. Fanny is soon possessed of beauty as well as a keen mind and comes to the attention of a neighbor, Henry Crawford. Thomas promotes this match, but to his displeasure, Fanny has a mind of her own, asking Henry to prove himself worthy. As Edmund courts Henry's sister and as light shines on the link between Thomas's fortunes and New World slavery, Fanny must assess Henry's character and assert her heart as well as her wit. Written by
This isn't an awful movie. It's quite watchable. Some of the acting, especially from Pinter is excellent.
But the rest resembles those films made from classic novels in the 30s where no one concerned in making it had time to read the book. A quick treatment by a college student, a quick script conference, then off we go. Rozema has almost no idea of what the book is about but is entirely unembarrassed by her ignorance in her interview on the DVD.
Austen fans don't have to wait long to discover just how far off the wavelength she is. The first contact between Sir Thomas and Fanny is a reproof for running through MP's corridors shrieking like a banshee. Lines are taken from Mary Crawford in the book and given to Fanny in the film. How's that for missing the point? One by one characters appear looking no more recognisable than if they were appearing in a literary celebrity edition of Scooby Doo.
I agree with other reviewers that if the film was called something else and the characters had different names, it would be impossible to trace it's origins to Austen's book which is definitely not a conventional love story about bright young things getting together having overcome a few obstacles.
There's very little to choose between the morals of Rozema's characters, so nothing of the catastrophic descent into the abyss is associated with the production of Lover's Vows, nor do we have any glimpse of Rushworth and Crawford vandalising Sotherton. Mrs Norris is one of the most deliciously evil creations in literature - Rozema reduces her part to a few lines. Thomas Betram is a "modern" artist - yikes! William Price, Fanny's brother and one of the key relationships in the book, is missing altogether. Susan, her sister, has been reading too many Style magazines.
Mansfield Park might have been a bit like this had it been written by Georgette Heyer or even Jackie Collins. As an Austen adaptation it is execrable. But it's so far off the mark, that as something else entirely, it's not all that bad. Maybe they should just change the title.
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