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Mansfield Park (1999)

3.9 out of 5 stars 1,364 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Rozema's progressive interpretation of Jane Austen's novel finds Fanny Price (O'Connor) as a poor relation who at the age of 12 is "rescued" to begin a life in Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt's husband. Fanny's beauty and bold intelligence become apparent as she attracts suitors and becomes troubled by the class system and the fact that slavery was the source of much of the family's wealth.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Frances O'Connor, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Hannah Taylor Gordon, Talya Gordon
  • Directors: Patricia Rozema
  • Writers: Patricia Rozema, Jane Austen
  • Producers: Allon Reich, Bob Weinstein, Cathy Lord, Colin Leventhal, David Aukin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Miramax Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: May 17, 2011
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,364 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,663 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mansfield Park (1999)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This movie SEEMS to be Mansfield Park. The characters have all the right names, the action has a superficial resemblance to that of the novel, but there all similarities end!
This is a very modern Mansfield Park, regardless of the early 19th century setting. Viewers are caught up in a tale of the evils of slavery and the value of women's scholarship. Not exactly the focus of the novel!
There are some redeeming features. The costuming is beautiful; Mr. Rushworth, Julia, and Maria are gratifyingly self-absorbed and absurd; the differences between the Price and Bertram households are well-drawn. Austen fans will enjoy quotes from Fanny's writing: they are taken from the early stories of Austen herself.
However, the makers of this movie have made Fanny Price a very different sort of creature from the novel. Blooming and beautiful, sometimes sharp-tongued, she has little in common with the character in the novel.
The director has chosen to introduce elements not present in the novel. Sir Thomas, for example, due to a family business in trading slaves (never mentioned in the original), has gone from a dignified, rather stuffy but honorable man in the novel, to a degraded and rather disturbing man in the film. In the movie, he looks Fanny up and down as if she is a slave for sale, and arranges the famous ball of the novel as a way of "selling" her in marriage. And having brought in the anti-slavery subplot, the director simply dismisses it at the end, saying "Sir Thomas eventually gave up his interests in Antigua."
Sharply lacking is any of the satiric eye Austen cast on society. We are given the melodrama, but little of Austen's sharp wit.
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Format: VHS Tape
...And so we have "Mansfield Park", "loosely" based on the Jane Austen novel of same name (although, as is mentioned in the credits, Austen's letters and non-fiction writings are also used, particularly for dialogue). The characters keep their original names, but, for the most part, not their personalities. The heroine, Fanny Price, is changed from the quiet, deeply moral character of the book into a feisty tomboy. The story follows the basic threads of the novel, but adds several subplots and individual scenes that you are not likely to find in any Austen novel (Fanny's uncle giving her the once over, Mary Crawford giving her the once over, etc.). So why the four stars?
Well, as an adaptaion, the film only merits two at best. But taken by itself and judged as a movie, I have to admit it's quite entertaining. While not the Fanny of the book, as played by Frances O'Conner the Fanny of the film is extremely likable. Embeth Davidtz and the very appealing Alessandro Nivola have a lot of fun with their characters; Nivola in particular capturing the mixture of sleaziness and vulnerablity that makes the womanizing Henry Crawford ever so slightly attractive. The visuals are sumptuous, and the dialogue is laced with Austen's unique wit, much of it not in the novel. My only real problems with the film are with the slavery subplot (icky and distracting) and Johnny Lee Miller as Fanny's true love. Changing the chracters personalities also changes their motivations, and the actions of Edward, while making sense in the book, are not logical in the film. As a result, Miller's Edward comes off as wimpy and indecisive and detracts from the story.
Other than these two quibbles, I quite like this little movie. You are more likely to enjoy it, I think, if you aren't comparing it to the novel the entire time, as it really has very little to do with Austen's story. Taken as a straight period film, though, "Mansfield Park" is an enjoyable way to spend a rainy afternoon.
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Format: VHS Tape
It is really infuriating that Jane Austen's most profound book has been turned into two very frustrating movies. This most recent film version of "Mansfield Park" has Frances O'Connor playing Fanny Price as we perhaps wished Austen had presented her. She has some spirit; she's able to stand up for herself; she's much more her own person than she was portrayed in the BBC version. The only problem is, this is not Austen's Fanny Price. (Fanny was portrayed in the other extreme in the BBC version by Sylvestra LeTouzel; she was so whiny, holier-than-thou, judgemental and obnoxious in that film that we were left wondering what anyone could find attractive in this person.)

Not only is O'Connor's characterization not Austen's Fanny Price, this movie is not Austen's "Mansfield Park". Patricia Rozema took some appalling liberties with Austen's book; here we have Lady Bertram as an opium addict, which is supposed to explain her perpetual indolence; Sir Thomas is Simon Legree redux, and Edmund, who at least had some personality in the BBC version, albeit a moralizing, sanctimonious snob, is little more than a cypher in this film. And Mary Crawford, depicted by Austen as a kind, generous, sympathetic character, is shown here as nothing more than a conniving little gold-digger.

Austen tiptoed around the fact that the Bertram family's fortune came from the blood and toil of the slaves on the family's plantation in Antigua; Rozema shoves it right in the viewer's face with graphic images of Sir Thomas raping and abusing the hapless slaves. Austen was well aware that the slave trade was an abomination, but she didn't go into it in her book, and it doesn't belong in any movie that purports to be based on the book.

Taken on its own, the film is a fairly enjoyable period piece, and Frances O'Connor is a winning heroine; but no way in the world does this movie deserve the title of "Mansfield Park".

Judy Lind
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