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on 20 August 2002
This Jane Austen film gets off to a slow start, but soon redeems itself. The story follows the best of Austen's heroines, in my opinion. Fanny enters the film living with her immediate family, but is sent to live with her uncle, where she gains improved social status. She is a strong willed character who eclipses even Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. As the film progresses so Fanny discovers herself and falls in love. This is one of the most romantic films I have ever seen. The scene in the carriage was especially beautiful. This lesser known work of Austen deserves much more recognition, I'm glad I didn't overlook it. It's well worth buying. (The inclusion of Jonny Lee Miller in the cast doesn't hurt either!)
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on 30 April 2003
What an awful adaptation of a wonderful Jane Austen story. It is nothing like the novel and scenes of slavery and rape do not belong linked to Jane Austen - rubbish
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on 29 November 2000
I was very curious to watch this film but I must confess I was a bit disappointed. The actors are excellent but the sreenplay is not in the spirit of Jane Austen. It is mixt with scenes of Jane Austens life and Sir Thomas Bertram is shown to be a very cruel man, which in fact he is not. All is a little bit exaggerated and tore in to ridicule. Nice to watch but do not expect a close version to the book.
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on 27 July 2009
Mansfield Park is an absolutely delightful movie, well worth a watch especially if you are a fan of Jane Austen, as this film is loosely based upon Jane Austen's book as well as her letters and journals.

The story is charming and unlike the more recent 2007 version is very easy to follow, even if you like me have never read the novel. Fanny Price (Frances O'Connor) as a child is sent by her poverty-stricken family to live with her wealthy cousins: the Bartons. It is there that Fanny grows into an independent and strong-minded woman: an independence that often leads her into trouble with her elders, as she struggles to find her place in the precarious society of the time, as well as struggling to deal with her growing feelings for her cousin, Edmund. With the arrival of new neighbours in the form of the daring Mary Crawford and her rakish brother Henry, things look set to change but whether for the better is another question as Henry takes an interest in Fanny, while Mary takes an interest in Fanny's timid cousin, Edmund.

The script is witty and sharp, at all times keeping the audience well-engaged, with a good balance of clever repartee and romantic moments. It has a few little one-liners that will stick in your mind afterwards, for example at one point a cocky Mary Crawford says, "selfishness must always be forgiven for there is no cure". It is little moments like this that make this movie extra-special.

The actors are perfect. Frances O'Connor's portrayal of Fanny Price is flawless. One can at all times empathise with her and her struggle to survive in what is ultimately a man's world. As the love interest Lee-Miller is appropriately timid but at the same time endearing. There are some really beautiful moments that will remain in your head afterwards for example the carriage scene and the sick-bed. Pure magic that will have you smiling. Even Fanny's voice-overs didn't get on my nerves and I am usually not a fan of voice-overs.

Secondary features are equally wonderful. The locations are beautiful, the music enchanting and the costumes well thought-out.

To conclude I would highly recommend Mansfield Park to people of all ages. Obviously fans of period drama will love this but I believe that this movie will even appeal to people not overly fond of this genre of movie. As I have not read the novel I cannot comment on how faithful this adaptation is but regardless it is still a beautiful and charming movie, well worth a purchase.
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on 30 January 2002
I have waited forever to see this film, having missed it at the cinema. In truth it was a disappointment. All Jane Austen fans have their favourite out of the precious few completed books. This is my favourite and I am sad that the film could not do what other productions have done, to stick religiously to the book and leave to our imagination what Jane wants us to leave to our imagination.
Is it any surprise that this author of only six novels who was born in 1775 and died in 1817 is responsible for some of the best films made in since 1995. The best of these productions have realised that Jane wrote the screenplay and the directions. The one tribute any producer and director can give to her work is to follow her dialogue and directions to the letter. The essence of Jane is that she can convey in one sentence all the meaning and feeling that would take other authors a chapter to develop. She was the best screen writer of all and she wrote for the cinema of our minds. It has been said of Persuasion that when you have finished the book you feel that you have come to the end of an epic story. In truth the book is not much longer than a short story. This is Jane Austen.
So, we are sufficiently intelligent to get the drift and do not need the gratuitous graphic parts of this film which lessen its worth. When the film keeps to Jane's screen play it is simply magic. Shame it could not do this from start to finish because it would have rated amoung the best. Watch it anyway all you Janeites, it will have to make do until Auntie(BBC) does justice to the story. Take note BBC!! We are waiting......................
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on 28 May 2009
No, it is not. Instead it is a version of Mansfield Park which has been completely re-made to suit the 'requirements' of the 'chick-lit' audience. It does not cover the plot of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and the script writers have ruthlessly cut important scenes which are pivotal to the plot. I didn't like Billie Piper's portrayal of Fanny, Fanny Price is gentle, mild and modest. She does not run up and down stairs in a tight corset and low neckline, with heaving decolletage. This adaptation really deserves the term 'bodice ripper', in a bad sense.

Billie Piper is a perfectly capable actress but in this adaptation, she simply does not give an accurate portrayal of Jane Austen's Fanny Price. This is probably the fault of the script or the director rather than of Piper herself but nevertheless, the creation which appears on the screen is not the Fanny Price which Austen wrote about. True, it does have some merits, there are a few nice scenes, but on the whole it is merely a 'boy meets girl' format in 19th century outfits. Austen's novels are about more than that; yes, they are romance novels but they have so much depth and for me, this adaptation just didn't capture that. However, when compared to the previous Mansfield Park, by Patricia Rozema, it is excellent! That M.P. is truly terrible, the worst Austen adaptation ever. I complained about the alterations to Fanny's character in the Billie Piper one, but in Patricia Rozema's take on the novel, Fanny is turned into half Elizabeth Bennet and half Jane Austen (quotes are used from JA's letters) -- she is reinvented completely.

Would I advise you to buy this DVD? Hmm, well, it depends whether you are already acquainted with Austen's novels. If you are, I would advise you to watch it and see what you think (no matter how many bad reviews of Austen adaptations I hear, I still watch the bad ones out of curiosity and because I want to be able to make up my own mind). On the other hand, if you are not acquainted with her works, I would not recommend buying this. Unless you are a fan of light, frothy chick-lit, it will put you off JA completely. If you have never read any JA and want to see a screen adaptation, buy the 1995 Pride and Prejudice or the 2008 BBC Sense and Sensibility. You can't go far wrong with either of those.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 November 2013
This movie adaptation of Austen's novel has plenty going for it in terms of cast, and it has a big-budget look about it, but in trying to be original, if often falls wide of the mark. While the screenplay keeps itself reasonably closely wedded to the plot of the novel, the sexed-up (for want of a better expression) way it is conveyed on-screen is often jarring. In particular, the sex and nudity, and the depraved antics of the men in Antigua,are unexpected. The idea of adding implied antics onto the screen makes sense, and has been done in many other productions, but rape and assault, and on-screen naked bonking in an Austen movie are a step in the wrong direction. Use of aerial photography also seems oddly out of place. The other thing that bothered me was the female costumes. They seem out of period, being cut correctly in 1806 style, but made-up in fabrics that look much later. This makes some scenes look almost to be in the 1920s; a problem compounded by the out-of-period racy attitudes and behaviour of some of the characters.

Putting these surprising novelties aside, the movie is a well-constructed retelling, with wonderful locations, wonderful cast, and wonderful photography. The story trots along at a good pace, and we get a decent romantic clinch at the end.

There are very few productions of Mansfield Park available on DVD. I wouldn't bother with the 2007 ITV version (Mansfield Park [DVD] [2007]). It stars Julia Joyce (no problem there), but suffers with a woefully miscast Billy Piper as Fanny Price. The best one to watch is probably the 1983 BBC version (Mansfield Park (Repackaged) [DVD] [1983]) starring Anna Massey.
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on 6 September 2008
A poor, innocent and sweet girl by the name of Fanny Price is fostered by her wealthy relatives. Her family consists of an uncle and 2 aunts as well as 2 cousin sisters who are the epitome of beauty, grace and glamour but are spoilt brats. They along with her eldest cousin Tom (James D'Arcy) pay her little attention but fortunately she suffices herself with the company of cousin Edmund (Blake Ritson). Fanny seems content and happy even though she is continuously reminded of her roots but things become really prickly when the fashionable Crawford`s move into the neighbourhood.

For those who have read the book and were anticipating a high standard production were least to say very disappointed. This adaptation for Jane Austen purists (they make or break an adaptation) would have been nothing short of hellish. This adaptation manages to strip away a lot of Jane Austen society values in an attempt to appear more modern. For example, Miss Crawford attempts to seduce if you like Edmund in front of the whole family by revealing her ankle and inappropriate parts of her body. As you can imagine the kiddies had their eyes firmly shut at that point. Billie Piper herself was I think miscast as Fanny and I suspect mainly because of her celebrity status being established - thus it was a ploy for ITV to wrench away one of BBC's most popular stars. Even Billie Piper hasn't got over the transfer (and don't get me started on Zoë Slater), indeed, it seemed as though I was watching Rose in a corset - she was too feisty (I half expected David Tennant to come bursting through the door). Her performance could have been saved if the chemistry was good, but instead it was oddly lopsided at times and even Edmund looked bewildered as to why he fell in love with her. And no wonder, she seems incredibly independent of him, not the understanding and knowing girl as in the book. Fanny was irritating not sweet as in the book, where the reader is quite disgusted by Mr Crawford's proposal to her, they are a mismatch! In this adaptation though, it seems that they would make a very good couple (gasp!)

On a positive note, they are performances that should be credited especially the three young males - Edmund, Henry and Tom. If this had a better script (perhaps with the BBC) then they would have most definitely been praised to the skies. All three of them play their characters with precision, and get under the skin with the short time that they had. I considered them the lifeline of the whole thing (I would buy it just to watch them again :). If Mansfield Park, however, is one of your favourite works then STAY AWAY.,
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on 28 November 2000
A fascinating mixture of "Mansfield Park" and other work of Jane Austen's including her History of the World and her diaries, this story manages to combine all its sources to make an enthralling story. It will capture the attention of both newcomers and afficionados. Fanny is sent to live with her rich relatives where she is alternately ignored and treated as a servant by everyone except her cousin Edmund. The film follows Fanny as she grows into an intelligent, beautiful and talented writer. Meanwhile, the household acquires new neighbours, Mary and Henry Crawford. While Mary catches the eye of Edmund, Henry becomes interested in both Fanny and her cousin, Maria, who is to be married to the igorant but rich Mr. Rushworth. With the arrival of these new neighbours, the household begins to disintegrate, with Fanny forced to examine her feelings for Edmund and fend off the attentions of Mr. Crawford. Edmund's older brother, is managing his father's slave trading assets and becomes increasingly discontented, causing friction within the family. All this comes to a head at the climax of the film. Although slightly different from the book, this strengthens the plot rather than weakening it, including more serious content than other Jane Austen adaptions. This film is well acted and directed with the right mix of humour and drama to make this a must-see movie.
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on 15 June 2007
Mansfield Park is the most difficult of Austen's novels to adapt to either TV or film. I also think that it's inevitable that all her works lose some of their subtlety and depth when transferred to this medium as the camera cannot convey her unique tone. However, I liked this production. As an adaptatation it was not offensive, it was light and the story began and ended without going too far from the original. I understand that they did not fully explore some of the key themes such as the problem of primogeniture (whilst Tom was bad he was not nearly as bad as in the book...), colonialism (the plantation was hardly mentioned) and the play within the play but what was left was clear and conicise (needed in this day of short attention spans...). It is interesting that some reviewers have noted that this adaptation was like a soap opera, I believe that Jane Austen, if she were alive today, would be pleased with this comparison. What are soap operas if not social commentaries, a study of a microcosm of society. Austen is the literary queen of this genre and her influence can be seen today in the works of Jilly Cooper and dare I say it, Eastenders.

This film will not blow your mind, it will not cause you to debate important social themes of the time. It is not even that clever, there are few, if any tantalising motifs to pick up on. What it is though is watchable. It leaves you feeling that you want to know more and this is the important point. I sincerely hope that those left wanting to know more will then read the book and liking it will read other Austen novels and then maybe some Fanny Burney and so on. If this film entertains and invokes the interest of just 25% of those that watch it and encourages them to explore the literature of this period then I feel it will have done its job.
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