Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mansfield Park (1999)

I watched Mansfield Park as my ninth item for the Everything Austen Challenge. I own this movie, but it had been quite a few years since I had watched it.

Overall, as a movie, it was quite enjoyable. As a production of Mansfield Park the novel, it was not so much. Overall the movie generally followed the plot of the novel, but there were many changes in characters, situations, and settings. One of the major changes was to “spice up” Fanny. In my review of the audio book, I discussed that Fanny is a hard heroine to love because of her shyness and tendency to hide behind the scenes. The writers of this movie must have thought the same thing as they gave Fanny a makeover. She is now an opinionated authoress who loves to exercise. She becomes the author of Austen’s juvenilia and letters. While she is a more spirited girl and easier to empathize with, she is not Austen’s Fanny.

The other major personality change was of Sir Thomas Bertram. He is now a harsh taskmaster and abuser of slaves. I like abolition movies, but I don’t like when abolition is thrown into movies based on material where it didn’t appear previously. It feels forced. I didn’t like Sir Thomas as an evil character.

Sex was also added in with Fanny catching Henry and Maria in the act at Mansfield Park. I didn’t approve.

I did like the actors and actresses who portrayed the parts, they were perfectly cast. I especially loved Johnny Lee Miller as Edmund. I also really liked how this movie had Fanny’s visit to Portsmouth. That is one of my favorite parts of the novel.

I do not think there has been a great adaptation of Mansfield Park yet. There were numerous problems with the 2008 version that I reviewed previously and all I remember of the 1980’s version was that it was long and very boring. It has been probably 15 years since I watched the 1980’s version so perhaps I should give it another try.

This ends my tour of Mansfield Park. I have a couple of books I want to read first (including Mr. Darcy, Vampyre and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict) and then I will be on a Sense and Sensibility binge!


  1. Just this minute finished watching the 1983 mini-series Mansfield Park - doesn't come up to this version though. It was able to keep more closely to the book (being a mini-series) but it just wasn't as slick or believable.

    Frances O'Connor is my favourite Fanny so far - Billie Piper did a pretty job of the 2007 version too but Frances wins the prize.

    Frustratingly they all end just as the book does.. very abruptly! Mansfield Park isn't my favourite of Austen's book but Fanny Price is the character I most relate to.

    Good review... thanks!!

  2. What a great review, Laura! I have not seen this movie but perhaps I will add it to my Netflix queue.

  3. Liking this movie and liking the book is kind of like liking Taco Bell and liking Mexican food. Oh so tasty but not the real thing.

  4. Yeah, I thought that this movie wasn't a very good adaptation, but I still loved the movie as a separate entity. Thanks for your review!

    Oh, and I love the new layout as well!

  5. Nice review. Thanks for giving me the link.

    Also, I can't believe you've done 9 everything austen things and I've only just finished my second.