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Why mess with Art?
11 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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