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!