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Mansfield Park

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Mansfield Park

Starring: Embeth Davidtz, Jonny Lee Miller
Director: Patricia Rozema
Rated: R
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: November 1999
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Alessandro Nivola, Jonny Lee Miller, Harold Pinter, Lindsay Duncan, Sheila Gish, James Purefoy, Hugh Bonneville, Justine Waddell

Review by MrBrown
3½ stars out of 4

Writer-director Patricia Rozema has received some heat for taking more than a few liberties in adapting Jane Austen's third novel, which is about a poor young woman named Fanny Price (Frances O'Connor as an adult) who is shipped off to live with her wealthy aunt (Lindsay Duncan) and uncle (Harold Pinter) in Mansfield Park. There, she falls for her cousin Edmund Bertram (Jonny Lee Miller), and the feeling is mutual. In true Austen style, however, happiness is not easily in the cards, especially not after the arrival of Henry and Mary Crawford (Alessandro Nivola and Embeth Davidtz), a wealthy brother-sister pair of Londoners who set their sights on Fanny and Edmund, respectively.

The one revision with which Austen purists have taken issue is the reimagining of the character of Fanny. In the original novel, she is a passive character; here, Rozema has used the actual journals of Austen herself to give Fanny a sharp-tongued voice. This incarnation of Fanny may not have been what Austen had in mind, but she surely would have approved, for the injection of attitude and smarts makes _Mansfield_Park_ a much more wicked and irresistible social satire, with Fanny frequently needling the pomposity of her rich relations. The cast is splendid--in particular O'Connor, Davidtz, and Nivola--as is the entire, entertaining film.

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