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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

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1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
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6.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Susan Granger's review of "MANSFIELD PARK" (Miramax Films)

In this provocative, revisionist adaptation of Jane Austen's third novel, Canadian writer-director Patricia Rozema gives her 19th century heroine, Fanny Price, much of Austen's own confidant, creative personality. Incorporating material from Austen's early journals and letters, Rozema recreates Fanny (Frances O'Connor) as a poor relation who is sent from Portsmouth to the magnificent mansion called Mansfield Park to live in emotional exile with her pompous uncle, starchy aunts, and privileged cousins. Her favorite cousin is the brooding Edmund (Jonny Lee Miller) who is destined to be a humble clergyman, much to the chagrin of the outspoken, ambitious young woman (Embeth Davidtz) who wants to marry him. Always made to feel inferior within the genteel, rigidly conventional British class system, she is considered more than a servant but less than an equal companion. Nevertheless, meek Fanny becomes an adept and witty writer who is courted by a charming, handsome rake (Allesandro Nivola) whom she does not trust. Australian actress Frances O'Connor does a splendid job as the plucky heroine and her complex performance is matched by playwright Harold Pinter, as her autocratic uncle, and Lindsay Duncan in dual roles - as both Fanny's desperate, impoverished mother and wealthy, opium-addicted aunt. Admittedly, Patricia Rozema's script tackles too many social issues, including the dark brutality of slavery on the Caribbean island of Antigua, an exploitive endeavor which supports this segment of England's landed gentry. And Rozema's willfully manipulative, pro-feminist characters seem far ahead of their time. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Mansfield Park is a sensual, cinematic 7. It's a period drama that should appeal, primarily, to the art-house crowd.

Copyright 1999 Susan Granger

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