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 ...
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Royal Navy captain Wentworth was haughtily turned down eight years ago as suitor of pompous baronet Sir Walter Elliot's daughter Anne, despite true love. Now he visits their former seaside ... See full summary »
At age 10, Fanny Price is sent by her destitute mother to live with her aunt and uncle, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. As a child she was often made to feel that she was the poor relation but... See full summary »
Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, to have a loving father whom she cares for, friends and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors ... See full summary »
Jonny Lee Miller
Widow Dashwood and her three unmarried daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, inherit only a tiny allowance. So they move out of their grand Sussex home to a more modest cottage in ... See full summary »
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
I think this film illustrates the potential Austen's work offers to future filmmakers. While following the overall outlines of Austen's book, it departs in a number of astonishing but very effective ways. In many ways I find it the most satisfying Austen adaptation I've seen.
Modern eyes find the traditional Fanny Price to be too much of a, well, a "wuss". She shows a steely resolve that anyone would envy when faced with a serious moral choice, but most of the time she's portrayed as timid and resigned to being trampled upon. Her moments of joy and excitement pass quietly. Such a character isn't especially appealing to today's moviegoers, and it's hard to make such a character engaging.
Instead of giving us the traditional Fanny, Patrician Rozema (the director/screenwriter) has built a character with parts of Fanny and parts of Jane Austen herself. This Fanny will sit in her room during free hours and write stories home to her sister or write her "History of England" for her own (and her cousin Edmond's) amusement. She races down stairs, expresses her thoughtful but unorthodox opinions, rides in the rain, and does all sorts of other non-timid things. But her vivacity is squelched by Aunt Norris who constantly ensures that Fanny not forget her (low) status in the household.
Another important departure is the opportunity we're given to finally look behind the curtains that hide the inconvenient piles of dirt. While Austen didn't always sidestep messy things, most Austen filmmakere have. But in "Mansfield Park" examples abound of plain old shabbiness. Mansfield Part is a huge pile of masonry (seems almost a palace to naive American eyes) but it's partially a ruin and it's frugally decorated, especially when compared to similar homes in Ang Lee's "Sense and Sensibility". Austen indicates that Lady Bertram suffers from poor health, but the film portrays an illness fueled by regular doses of narcotic medicines. Sir Thomas' problems at his New World plantation seem to be tied to his use of slave labor (with an ironic resolution at the end).
As with the other '90s Austen revival works, this one shows much improved production values over the '80s BBC miniseries -- better use of musical scoring, more physical action by actors, and better use of locations and scenery.
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