Credits: Directed by Patricia Rozema and starring Sophia Myles, Hugh Bonneville, Amelia Warner, Jonny Lee Miller, James Purefoy, Alessandro Nivola, Elizabeth Earl, Frances O`Connor, Lindsay Duncan, Harold Pinter, Sheila Gish and Hilton McRae.
Details: (M), 112 mins, United Kingdom, English
Synopsis: At the age of 10, Fanny Price (Hannah Taylor Gordon) is sent by her poor family in Portsmouth to live with rich relatives, the Bertrams at Mansfield Park, in Northamptonshire. Growing up at among the aristocratic Bertrams, Fanny (Frances O\'Connor) is treated as a servant by her socially ambitious cousins Maria (Victoria Hamilton) and Julia (Justine Waddell). Her closest ally is youngest son Edmund (Johnny Lee Miller) who falls under the spell of dashing Londoner Mary Crawford (Embeth Davidtz) whose brother Henry makes a similar impression on Julia and Maria, despite the latter\'s engagement to dim but rich Rushworth (Hugh Bonneville). When Henry finally settles his attentions on Fanny and proposes marriage she rejects his overtures and is sent back to Portsmouth by a displeased Lord Bertram (Harold Pinter). While Henry maintains his efforts to win Fanny\'s love she realises that her heart truly belongs to Edmund....
An interesting reworking of a Jane Austen novel, with a standout performance by Frances McDormand.
As with many of Austen`s heroines Fanny is constrained by her family`s economic status - her mother married for love and now lives in parlous circumstances in Portsmouth with her many children and less than inspiring husband. Which is why Fanny is sent off to Mansfield Park to live with her mother`s sister who married Sir Thomas Bertram, a landowner who has interests in Antigua. Fanny is made well aware that she`s the poor relation by her female cousins and by Sir Thomas - but her cousin Edmund - played by Johnny Lee Miller - is very sympathetic. New arrivals at the Park - brother and sister Henry and Mary Crawford - Alessandro Nivola and Embeth Davidtz will upset the equilibrium of life for Fanny - and for Edmund... With Mansfield Park yet another Australian actress makes an impressive international debut - Frances O`Connor is one of the best things about Mansfield Park... Johnny Lee Miller is slightly less convincing as Edmund... but the playwright Harold Pinter is terrific as the ultimately sinister Sir Bertram... This is a rather austere-looking film, the rooms are sparsely furnished as if Rozema doesn`t want to be bothered by clutter in painting her portrait of Fanny or Jane, who won`t compromise herself for marriage. Although Rozema introduces the issue of slavery, and explicit adultery, they`re very non-Austen additions. And I missed the clutter, the detail, the social fripperies that, to me, are at the heart of Jane Austen... David`s Comment:Frances O`Connor shines in this interesting but at times gratingly modern Jane Austen adaptation. I also liked Harold Pinter, very substantial as the owner of Mansfield Park, and Lindsay Duncan in her two roles as very different sisters. I haven`t read the book, but I gather many changes have been made with the addition of Austen`s own letters and diaries (the heroine of the book was not a writer, and the slave trading plot was only fleetingly mentioned in the original).
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