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Muddled and offensive
galensaysyes29 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
For half or two-thirds of its length, I thought this a fair enough movie. True, it's a poor telling of the novel, bits from which are stuck together without the structure of it being clearly conveyed or, apparently, recognized. Also true, it's filled with bad theatrical ideas, such as combining the heroine of the novel with Austen herself (and then casting the role with an actress who can play neither one). And also true, it's played less like an Austenian social comedy than like a half-baked version of Tom Jones. All these things notwithstanding, up to a point it's entertaining enough. (However, "enough" here means, as always in this usage, not quite enough. Halfway through the movie, not seeing much I recognized on screen, I turned to the novel, and found one paragraph of it more involving, amusing, and wise than everything in the movie rolled together. But let that pass.)

Then came the Social Significance - as if Austen's novels were not full of social significance. Evidently the adapter disliked the nineteenth century, and Austen, and set out to show them up for what they were. I pretended to miss the insinuation of her father's having molested her and her sister--there being no other interpretation to be placed on the looks exchanged between the two of them and their mother when he gives Fanny a hug. But then Fanny turns up an album of atrocity pictures showing what her (almost) foster father, his son, and his crew were really getting up to with their slaves.

This exceeds allowable bounds. Such a device might be imposed on Fielding, or on Dickens, without betraying the author's purpose too far; but not Austen. It obliterates the story, or what's left of it. In the face of rapes and beatings and tortures, who gives a fig whether Miss Price and her Reverend get together? Yet the comedy of manners continues galumphing along as if the scene had never happened. Having forced it in, the adapter makes no changes in the narrative to accommodate it. This is film-making for MTV watchers, i.e. patients with short-term memory loss.

Ah - the adapter might counter - but that's just the point! The characters act as if these horrors didn't exist! To which I would reply: if she felt, reading the novel, that the squire was just the kind of man who would have done that sort of thing, white European male pig that he was, and that Austen (owing to her famous ignorance of human nature, which causes her books to continue to be read two centuries later) was too much of a booby to see it, whereas the adapter's own superior sensibility makes all things manifest, she might at least have done Fanny the justice of having her react to the discovery as she would have, given her character. The story turns on her absolute moral rectitude and her rejection of the amorality represented by the Dangerous Liaisons characters. In the face of the dark deeds of which she becomes aware, her denunciation of the others becomes itself amoral and hypocritical, for she has silently acquiesced in the viciousness of her class.

This conclusion must be extrapolated, since it is nowhere stated in the film, the adapter not having troubled to stir in the muck she has tossed into the pot. But I can't help wondering, if her object was to discredit Fanny, as well as the monsters around her--if she had so little use for the character as that--why did she choose to do this book?
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Confused Director/Writer Patricia Rozema
newhallartist6 January 2002
It's apparent to me that director/writer Patricia Rozema never decided what genre to use for this film as she's all over the place. The end result is a mass of confusion which attempts to focus on Jane Austen's book "Mansfield Park", biographical sketches of Jane Austen herself, as well as an historical look back at black slavery issues simultaneously and doing none justice. As if all this wasn't bad enough, Rozema couldn't even decide what time period she wanted to use for the movie. It's not just major flaws in the script which has the various characters expressing themselves in ways which would have been much more appropriate for a character of today but also the costumes are all wrong. Many of the characters just seem to exist. As a viewer, I find little character development to make me care one way or the other about most of the cast of characters in this film. Even the leading female and male characters in the film seem lost among the others due to a lack of contrast. Worst of all is the most unimaginative use of narration that I can recall seeing in any film to date. Although this was meant to serve as a transition between scenes and to move the plot along, it fails miserably. There also seems to be a large amount of indistinguishable dialogue in this film that was not intentional. It wasn't until I watched this film with the director's comments which had the actor's dialogue in captions that I even understood what was being said in some scenes despite the fact that I had tried repeated playbacks. They must have have some audio problems. Music for this film was too loud in places and poorly chosen. Speaking of director's comments: Her primary motivation for making this film (according to what she said on the film's DVD version) was a scene which which utilized sexually explicit and violently graphic pen and ink drawings of slaves. Huh? For a Jane Austen film? Yes! Hear the comments yourself in the DVD version.
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Why mess with Art?
nic_cassowary11 January 2004
Maybe it was a mistake to watch this adaption of Mansfield Park the day I finished reading the novel. This production is too modern. Now I understand that they probably wanted to make it "more appealing" to today's moviegoers, and I know that it's hard to fit all a book into a film - but why did they change the essence of who Fanny Price is? She is a highly moral, quiet, smart, very put-upon young lady. While Frances O'Connor is a wonderful actress, she played Fanny all wrong. She was smiling (constantly), having pillow fights, speaking her mind. There was no sense of period or restraint in her portrayal. I think the writer/director should have had more faith in the characters in the book.

With so many storylines to choose from in the book, I wonder why new ones were added, such as the slave trade and opium use? It is a shame that Sir Thomas didn't have the character arc seen in the book, that has him appreciate Fanny more and show her greater kindness when he returns from Antigua. In the film he is just always a big, mean bully. Jonny Lee Miller's Edmund is not nearly pious and conflicted enough. He is meant to be joining the clergy.

I am sure I would have thought it was an average film if I didn't know the original source, but it was a big disappointment.
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A good enough film, if you don't care about butchering the characters...
ragnhildholm1 February 2006
As a romantic comedy, this is a good film. The acting is fairly good - particularly Johnny Lee Miller, who makes an excellent Edmund. But the story is not that of Jane Austen's wonderful novel. The Fanny Price of the novel is a delicate wallflower, intelligent and warm but extremely timid. In the film, she's feisty and strong-willed, independent and almost rebellious. Fanny Price is not confident and witty; she is shy and thoughtful. This "new" Fanny may fit modern sensibilities, but I was severely disappointed; by completely altering the main character, the whole story seems different. I should very much like to see an adaptation of the novel that remains as faithful to the book as the BBC's excellent mini-series version of Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth / Jennifer Ehle version) or Emma (with Kate Beckinsale, not the Gwynneth Paltrow version). If you want a romantic movie, go for it. But if you're an Austen fan, you might want to stay clear.
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Even cute-as-a-button "Frances O'Connor" couldn't save this pointless exercise...
kmccabe-26 August 2001
They say the great thing about Shakespeare's work is that it is so open to interpretation. Every director can bring his or her fresh eyes to a play and make it new. Even so, I think we are obliged to stay true to the basic tennents of the text. Are the works of Jane Austen as open to interpretation? Maybe, but I doubt it; Certainly not if MANSFIELD PARK is anything to go by.

MANSFIELD was always my favourite of Austen's six novels. Many modern critics, while not denying its basic greatness, have problems with the book. Many find FANNY PRICE unlikeable, many find her judgemental, and feel that her Stoic, Augustan approach is hard to relate to. Stand-by, do nothing, and eventually he'll see the error of his ways and come to love you. Not very modern, is it?

OK, so if you don't like the main character, if you don't like what she has to say, then what do you do? Look for other aspects of the story you can relate to. In recent years some critics have chosen to see MANSFIELD PARK in Post-Imperial terms, as a critique of Slavery. After all, the family's wealth is based on plantations in Antiga, which were run by slaves. Is that what the book's about? Is it? I don't know. I think the evidence is a little slim, but who am I to deny the possibility? Maybe it plays a part in the subtext of the novel.

So, I'm a modern script-writer who doesn't like the novel, it's pre-occupations or even Fanny Price. What do I do? I completely re-write the story to take a possible minor sub-text (slavery) and turn it in to the driving narrative force. I then take smart as a whippet, stubborn yet passive Fanny and turn her into a ballsy version of Bridget Jones. With an attitude. I then string together a couple of scenes from the book with a few invented bridging scenes to advance the romance. Et Voila! I have a completely different story!

I don't know what this film is, but it isn't Mansfield Park. Enjoy it on its own terms, but don't ever get the idea that your watching Austen on the screen. But, jeeze. I think that if you're going to adapt a novel for the screen, you ought to at least like the source material; Otherwise, what's the point? If you don't like the main character, you shouldn't be able to completely re-invent her. Or if you do, you should have the decency to be a little ashamed.
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the worst of all films based on an Austen novel.
ticker_rox_ur_sox8 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I have read many of Jane Austen's novels, which I then follow up by watching the films made from them. They are usually extremely disappointing, so after I had finished reading Mansfield Park and moved on to the 1999 film I wasn't expecting much. What I was expecting was for the film to follow the basic ideas that Jane Austen was trying to convey. This was not the case. From the first five minutes I felt like I must have turned on the wrong movie.

William's place was taken by 'Susie', Edmund's role as Fanny's adviser and helper has become a cheesy schoolyard crush, Sir Thomas is some sort of vulgar criminal, and even Fanny herself isn't the modest and shy persona that she is in the novel.

Besides not following the basic elements of the story, the actual film is confusing. I am unsure whether the part where Fanny is seen accepting Henry Crawford's proposal was reality or merely a dream sequence. Also, the focus on black slavery seems to me, so out of place as to distract from the actual story at hand.

We must remember that, although Fanny Price may seem dull to some, it is what she wasn't and what Austen doesn't make her that makes Mansfield Park so interesting.

The worst part of this film, that I saw, was the completely ludicrous sex scene involving Crawford and Mrs Rushworth. At this point, I stopped watching. I find it quite ridiculous that we are encouraged to believe that this would have happened under Sir Thomas' roof. It is believable that these sinful occurrences would be able to be screened by the circumstances in London, however it is evident that Sir Thomas wouldn't have allowed these two to be in the same room together alone in his own home. This completely cheapened the film.

As I didn't watch further than this point, I cannot comment on the remainder of the film. I sincerely hope that it did not get any worse, if it is possible that it could get worse.

I wonder why so many have decided to take a Jane Austen novel to the big screen with little to no regard for the actual story. It seems more appropriate to make your own films, based on your own inferior story lines, and leave the name of Jane Austen out of it.

I feel as though the creators of this film have completely ruined my enjoyment of Mansfield Park (the book) as I am forever doomed to think of this hideous film instead of one of Austen's most entertaining novels.

If you have not yet watched Mansfield Park, I urge you not to. Find a better version, if there is one, but do not waste your time with this movie. If you have not yet read Mansfield Park, please take the time to read it as Jane Austen meant it to be and don't let the movie ruin your enjoyment of it.
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Wonderful novel - horrible adaptation
gachronicled25 February 2001
Although I know better than to expect a "pure" adaptation of a novel when Hollywood gets hold of it, I was nevertheless unprepared for the horrible mangling this novel received at the hands of the screenwriter. Having immensely enjoyed recent renderings of "Sense and Sensibility," "Emma," and various versions of "Pride and Prejudice," I expected to receive similar enjoyment from this film. I had not read any reviews or advance press before watching it. I had, unfortunately, just read the book itself this summer and it was fresh in my mind. In my opinion this is the WORST rendition of a Jane Austen work I have ever seen. Perhaps if I had never read the book, I might have enjoyed it somewhat more, but to me it was unbearable to see a book I thoroughly enjoyed so completely rewritten. I am astonished at the comments of some of the reviewers here opining that Jane Austen would have approved. Poppycock!

I began to feel sick early on. To me, the character of Fanny Price and other major characters bore as much resemblance to Jane Austen's heroine as Danny Devito bore to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Twins." The entire invention of Fanny as a budding writer, the deletion of her younger brother who was so important in the plot concerning Henry Crawford, the image of Fanny as somewhat outspoken and rebellious, the depiction of Fanny's aunt as an opium addict and her uncle as a brutish, raping slaveowner.... The list goes on and on. Henry and Maria being caught by Fanny in the house, Fanny voluntarily kissing Henry and agreeing to marry him and then retracting. Ugh!

I really detest writers who want to mold everything in the modern vein. Fanny Price was not a modern heroine, but she fit her time. There was far too much PC propaganda and feminist hogwash which you might expect in a movie about our society but is ridiculous set against Fanny's time. She was devout, loyal, quiet, humble, stubborn only in her keen perception of others' character as measured against her conviction of what was good and what was not, possessing an innate strength of character which did not rely on others' perception of her and which she refused to compromise. Jane Austen would not have approved of this new Fanny for precisely this reason: her Fanny did not care about the "new" conventions of moral thought and permissiveness in her own society. The movie downplayed the seriously flawed characters of Henry Crawford and his sister. It portrayed him far too sympathetically, made it appear that he truly and deeply loved Fanny and seemed to blame Fanny's (non-existent) double-mindedness for his downfall.

All in all, this is an extremely disappointing film if one cares about what was really written in Mansfield Park. I think "Clueless" as a modern version of "Emma" (and which I also enjoyed) is more true to Austen than this let-down of a movie.
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I must confess myself surprised
luvirish9 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
at the rating of this film as well as the overwhelmingly positive messages on the board. I've even read some that claimed that this was a "great adaptation" of Austen's novel! I have one question...has ANYONE here read the novel at ALL? For that matter, did the screenwriters read the book? The director? The ACTORS? First, allow me to acknowledge that MP is the most sexual of Austen's books, dealing with Edmund's purely physical attraction to Mary, Fanny's rather incestuous love of Edmund (yes, I know that it was not strange to marry one's cousins in that time period, but her fraternal and romantic feelings are rather mixed up), the whole thing with Maria and Henry, and Mary's outward acknowledgment of it - she insists that the only way to get Henry to marry Maria is to let them keep living together, at which suggestion Edmund is properly horrified.

However, Fanny Price was never, at any time in the book, witty, sharp-tongued, or sarcastic. She was clever and affectionate, but mild-mannered, sweet, and cripplingly shy. In fact, it's specifically stated in the book that Henry's persistence is due to Fanny's mildness and sweetness of manner, which makes her seem reluctant to refuse him. Not to mention that she was NINE YEARS OLD when she first got to Mansfield. Austen was fond of Fanny - she is the only heroine to whom the authoress refers to as her own ("my Fanny") - but she was not meant to be a representation of Austen herself. From all letters and descriptions written by her family and friends, she appears to have been nearer to Elizabeth and Jane of Pride and Prejudice.

I have no idea of the entertainment value of this movie, as I was too paralyzed with horror at what they had done to one of the most carefully-nuanced, well-written works in the English language by turning it into a disgusting farce. Bleargh. I'd give the movie a zero, but IMDb won't let me.
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Did Rozema even read the novel?
brokenheartskips10 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Had Rozema given this story a new title, introduced the characters with original names, I don't believe that anyone would have suspected it had somehow originated from Jane Austen's appraised novel, Mansfield Park. It would have spared her the resentment I am sure that many others share with me towards her.

I was perfectly disgusted by this rendition of Jane Austen's novel. I cannot believe that Patricia Rozema could have had any love for the book to create a story so blatantly ignorant of its origin.

The characters, which were distorted beyond recognition, had no constancy as they were rapid-fired from scene to scene, without direction and without guide.

Had Rozema at least had the decency to pace the story as it should have been, to select lines from the book which did serve as character-building stepping stones, and given Fanny the goodness, the gentility and submissiveness she carried through-out the novel, I could have looked less harshly on this film.

I was also furious at Lady Bertram's opium addiction, at Mary Crawford's hints at lesbian tendencies, at Sir Thomas Bertram's motives and dealings in Antigua, and the complete unnecessary, though brief, nude scene with Maria Bertram and Henry Crawford. These were completely out of place and did not contribute to the story in the least.

Altogether a great disappointment and a poor introduction for those who have never read Jane Austen's novels or seen the other (more faithful) theatrical adaptations to her stories.
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Mansfield Park on speed
alfa-1616 June 2005
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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Misguided Adaptation
janegrey3 November 2002
For anyone who is a true Jane Austen fan, this is a terrible adaptation. It looks good, but the character of Fanny has been totally rewritten to appeal to the modern woman's idea of a good heroine. This film's Fanny is feisty and challenging. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! In Austen's novel, Fanny is true to herself, but is a quiet fearful person who dreads change. While this may not be an interesting focal point for today's audience, the character's immobility is intentional. Fanny represents England at a time of great uncertainty. Internally, the monarchy had been compromised by years of George III's insanity and his sons' frivolity. Externally, the Napoleonic wars were threatening Europe. England, like Fanny, was searching for stability and familiarity in a changing world. This film totally undermines its source.

If you watch this movie, enjoy the costumes and the scenery. Don't be fooled into thinking, however, that this production has anything to do with Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park". There ought to be a disclaimer on the box warning viewers that this is "an adaptation loosely based on 'Mansfield Park'". This version does Jane no credit.
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What the heck....
gjp-831 May 2007
I was truly disgusted! Why couldn't Ms Rozema fool around with another novel (something rubbishy and vulgar). Jane Austen would have turned in her grave. There are so many flaws in this version (if you can call it a version) that I can't name every single one. But why change the plot, the characters and their personalities, loose some key ones and still have the guts to call it after the novel? The outrageous sex scene and nonsense about slavery was totally unnecessary and out of place. Mansfield Park isn't one of Austen's most admired novels, but it is certainly not vulgar, nor did she use it as a way to show political convictions. If you really want to enjoy some good adaptations of Austen's novels, I recommend Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and even Emma with its light plot and comical characters. Don't waste your time with this crap!
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Can there be a worse Austen movie out there?
markoolo9 June 2007
Did anyone who read Austen ever see any of her work more butchered up than this one? This adaptation is complete totally beyond lawful. Besides the title and names, nothing is presented as the persons Austen wrote in the book. I wonder how the Austen family or Austen clubs all over the world didn't sue this movie, unless none of them actually saw it...... How utterly horrible a destruction of a portrait of a girl who was not born an Emma. What were they thinking when they wrote the characters? Never mind that nothing is consistent with the book, but even each character's personality is not consistent throughout the movie. Awful is not enough to say about this movie.
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Worst Jane Austen Movie Adaptation Ever
anthonyzonk30 June 2012
This was the worst adaptation of a Jane Austen novel that I have ever seen. After just finishing Mansfield Park I watched this movie and it was a horrible disappointment, especially since all the details of the story were still fresh in my mind. I honestly don't know where to start, but it is apparent that the makers of this film are unfamiliar with 1800 British decorum. The level of affection that is shown throughout the movie is completely inconsistent with how people composed themselves in that time period and would be looked at as completely scandalous for the slightest thing as kissing in public which made this adaptation completely inaccurate. The main character Fanny's temperament was completely inconsistent with her character in the book. I was completely shocked that in the movie she was so open about her affections for Edmound which was completely not the case in the book, she was very demure about it until then end of the book. Main characters were omitted such as William Price. The story line was not followed in true form at all, and it wasn't a simple swaying from the original it was a completely different story. They sexualized Fanny's relationship with Mary and her father which was shocking and disgusting. Words can't express how disappointed I was in this film, as others have said before Ms. Jane Austen would be shocked and appalled by this adaptation.
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A really strange adaptation
free101girl11 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS INCLUDED BELOW I truly can't understand why the writer/director of this adaptation felt it was necessary to inject a lot of politically loaded topics into a classic novel about a strong-minded woman who is willing to accept the consequences of an unpopular choice.

The addition of lesbian overtones, drug use and images of slaves being raped and tortured really didn't add a thing to the story. Such images don't modernize the central story -- in fact they distract from it. Nor do these deviations from the original book expand our understanding of the characters in any significant way.

What is the point of making Sir Thomas Bertram into a lecherous creep? Austen's depiction of him as a well-intentioned but misguided man who has been absent from his own household so much that he has no idea what his family is about, is frankly more believable and more universal in its appeal.

Likewise I can't see what purpose was served by turning Lady Bertram into an opium addict. It's enough that she's just silly... we've all known someone just as empty-headed as the character Austen created.

Some of the casting is brilliant, but this version of the novel is ridiculously overwrought and heavy-handed. If you're going to try "improving" a great writer like Austen, you'd better have some great stuff to offer. This writer/director is no Austen.
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A film completely untrue to the book!
SusannahGreenman5 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Don't watch this film. It is not true to the book and although follows the main story, it changes very important parts and people should not take these liberties when such a brilliant writer created it. There is unpleasant sexual content which is really not needed. Fanny is far to confident and although likable, is not how she should be and is in the book. The costume designer was clearly looking at a different period in time and should have looked on the internet for information on the fashions of the period. The house looked gorgeous from the outside but inside looked like a poor persons house or a barn- the walls bare and some random chairs placed in the centre of the room. This film completely destroys the book and should not be under this name. Having said all this is probably would be an OK film under a different name. A better time could have been spent watching Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Emma'
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A travesty, from start to finish.
Julie-3011 November 1999
I have to wonder if the folks who are praising this film to the skies have ever read the book. I am not a Jane Austen purist - if I were, I could not say that the Root/Hinds version of Persuasion was my favorite Austen adaptation, which it is. This is Patricia Rozema's Mansfield Park, NOT Jane Austen's.

First, Rozema gives us a feisty, spirited Fanny Price, who tells off Aunt Norris and Sir Thomas, who accepts Henry Crawford's proposal, and then rejects it the next day (a la JA herself with Harris Bigg-Wither). In this MP, Sir Thomas deserves to be "told off." He is portrayed as a lecherous "dirty old man," who leers at Fanny and Mary Crawford throughout the film.

We have all heard about the additions Rozema made to the film. She deals with the slavery issue in a very heavy-handed way, beating us over the head with it whenever possible. Tom Bertram is not the empty-headed fop he is in JA's book; here he is just as much an abolitionist as Fanny, and it is his sketchbook filled with incriminating drawings of Sir Thomas abusing the slaves in Antigua that Fanny finds. In fact, Rozema's take on Tom is rather bizarre; in the book, his arguments with his father center around his irresponsibility and his profligacy. In the film, while Sir Thomas tries to scold his son for these faults, Tom takes him to task for his activities in Antigua. What I found odd was that, if Tom is such an abolitionist, why would he be so free and easy with money tainted by the slave trade?

Rozema left out what I consider to be some very important people and scenes. William Price and the Grants are nowhere to be seen; as a result, there is no amber cross bought with prize money, no distress over which chain to wear to the ball, no one to accompany Fanny to Portsmouth. Fanny's dislike and distrust of Henry are never fully explained. We never get to see the outing to Sotherton and, while we do see Maria flirting relentlessly with Henry, we never see him playing one sister off against the other. Fanny's disapproval of the theatricals is never explained either. In Rozema's version, it seemed as if Fanny was simply not invited to be in the play, instead of being unalterably opposed to it. The scene with Fanny playing Anhalt to help Mary Crawford rehearse is also completely wrong. Mary starts caressing Fanny, while Edmund watches with his eyes almost popping out of his head. So, instead of Edmund giving in and joining the play in order to spare his family the embarrassment of publicity, we are left with the impression that he takes on the role of Anhalt just so that he can justify having Mary run her hands all over him.

Next, we have the scenes at Portsmouth. Here, we have Henry sending Fanny a display of fireworks and doves, and then we see her accepting his proposal and sealing the bargain with some less-than-chaste kisses - in public, no less! The (in)famous sex scene between Maria and Henry takes place at Mansfield Park rather than in London and, because Rozema has played with JA's chronology of events, Fanny is already back from Portsmouth, and it is she who catches them in the act. Edmund is present for the aftermath, where Maria tries to defend her actions.

Another thing that galled me no end is that Mary Crawford's defense of her brother's actions is done in person, at Mansfield Park. She is patronizing towards all concerned, including Sir Thomas, who has finally stopped leering by this point. The newspaper item announcing Maria and Henry's behavior to the world is read by Fanny, and the culprits' full names are used, which is also not the way it happened in the book.

A couple of people walked out about 1/3 of the way through the screening I attended, and several others walked out just as the credits began. The Wishbone versions of Pride & Prejudice and Northanger Abbey resemble the source material more than this trash does. Shame on you Ms. Rozema, shame on you!
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Horrible departure from original story
michelekj4 December 2003
Jane Austen rolls in her grave every time this movie is played. The film adapts the story into a dark, sexualized drama meant to attract the attention of today's oversexed audience, but the success of previous Austen adaptations should have been an indication that this is not necessary. Mansfield Park adds in a least common denominator in order to appeal to a modern viewer, but this modern view just turned it off.

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Mansfield Park is not for the Austen purist!
04Student0516 May 2005
I was sadly disappointed in this adaptation of a delightful Austen classic. Although the storyline loosely follows the book, many of the most important scenes were left out of the movie. What's worse, the heart and soul of the book (Fanny Price's shining character) is not portrayed well in the movie. At times, Fanny is fickle, indecisive, brash, and disrespectful, the complete opposite of the literary Fanny's character. Still, any movie based on an Austen novel cannot be all bad. If you haven't read Mansfield Park, or if you are not an Austen purist or accustomed to her superior style, you may enjoy it. Otherwise, expect to be dissatisfied with this film.
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Just Awful
cskoog26 February 2000
A misconceived effort to 'update' Austen. Embarrassingly overt sexual and political subtexts leer at you from every place the filmmaker could cram them in against the sense of the book. The acting is quite good, especially O'Conner and Pinter, but much of the production design and soundtrack seems a rip from the excellent 'Remains of the Day'. The worst is that there is nothing literary left - not the first time a director's agenda betrays that they just don't get why literature exists in the first place. Try 'Persuasion' instead, and after that ANY of the other contemporary Austen adaptations.
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Not Jane Austen, not even a very good movie.
marspeach5 July 2006
The original story of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen is nowhere to be found here. Patricia Rozema ripped it to shreds. I do not say this because I am a purist. I'm NOT! I know changes are necessary for movie adaptations of books but this went too far, changing the entire tone of the novel. It's disappointing because most of the cast was great (Frances O'Connor was a little iffy for me as Fanny but the Fanny in this movie bears no resemblance to the book one so it doesn't matter, I guess). Why did Rozema feel the need to make pretty much the whole focus of the movie on slavery? There is a minor mention of it in the novel but she blows it out of proportion here. I know how many people don't like Fanny Price, including Rozema, apparently, because she makes the character unrecognizable. Fanny here is a cross between Jane Austen (writing, and doing something Jane Austen did but book Fanny would NEVER do) and Lizzy Bennet (outspoken, strong, confident, etc.) Why did Rozema pick this story to film? Couldn't she have made an original movie instead?

A lot of people say they like it even though it is so different from the novel, but I can't do the same. They made some really questionable stylistic choices- odd, awkward camera angles that made me dizzy; stupid, cheesy slow-motion horse-back riding, etc.
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This is NOT Mansfield Park
pip_estella27 August 2001
Had this movie taken on another title, or be a modern version of the novel, I would've been more forgiving. Let me repeat again: this movie does not reflect Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, neither does the main character portray Fanny Price in the least bit.

For those who have never read Mansfield Park, this book Austen's "virtuest" novel. Generally people don't like Fanny because she is too modest.

Fanny Price is an exceptional character. Her modesty can never be properly portrayed by Hollywood. So I hope that no one will try to make another movie out of this novel. I love Pride and Prejudice as much as I love this novel, but this novel is far different from P&P. P&P can be captured on screen without boring out the audiences but MP cannot. Nevertheless, this does not make the novel any less valuable.

Fanny Price may not be as attractive as Elizabeth Bennet. But if these characters existed in real life, I would trust Fanny over Elizabeth any day. As witty as Elizabeth is, her judgement is faulty (as a result, the 2nd half of the title is called "prejudice"). She cannot discern who Wickham is, and believed in his good appearance. Fanny is just the opposite: her intuition is un-mistakable. Who, except for Fanny, knew that the handsome Henry Crawford was un-trustworthy?
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Jane is rolling over in her grave.
ynsp21 April 2001
This is the absolute worst adaptaion of a classic novel in existence. I am very sorry that Miss Austen is not alive to defend her work for such disgusting adaptaions as this. The added sub plot about slavery was totally inappropriate. I'm not saying that it wasn't an issue at the time I'm only saying that Miss Austen chose to leave it out of her novel so who are we to put it in there. PLease I beg all fans of Jane Austen's writing to speal out against this horrid movie based ever so loosly around her classic and wonderful novel.
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Read the book instead!
sherbear-227 February 2001
I've seen some horrible book adaptations, but this was definitely the worst. The plot was extremely different, but regardless of that, the characters were not the same. In the book Fanny is quiet, shy, withdrawn, soft spoken, yet in the movie she's very outspoken and even rude at points! Mary and Henry Crawford were not shown as truly manipulative people as they are in the book. And the bond between Edmund and Fanny is barely portrayed. There is no character revealment or development in the movie. Also, to truly make a Jane Austen movie, it has to be longer than two hours (that's why the A&E adaptations are usually so much better!). Anyway, Mansfield Park is one of the best books I've ever read, so take my advice, read it and skip the movie.
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pure horror
blowfly1325 August 2007
This movie should have been titled "inspired by the title of jane austen's book mansfield park." Beyond the name of the book, and the names of the characters, the movie bore almost no resemblance. Fanny is transformed from the unpleasant insipid and boring character in the book to a thoroughly obnoxious, totally modern, and very rude woman who would have been ejected from that century before she caused a break in the space/time continuum. Disgustingly, Mr. Bertram (the father) was changed from a decent thought unpleasant man to one who raped and beat slaves on a plantation! The "writers" clearly felt the need to jazz up and otherwise admittedly somewhat dull story with a twisted sexual theme. I guess they felt the need to make some sort of point about slavery. fine, but what does that have to do with Jane Austen? Just write a movie about slavery and leave poor Jane alone, or leave her to those of us her love her. It's painful to see the ongoing pillaging and distortion of her amazing body of work. There should be a law against this type of movie.
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