Director: Patricia Rozema
Mansfield Park was said to be Jane Austen’s personal favorite among her tales of young women battling society and finding love on their own terms. Fanny Price is a witty and clever young woman, brought vividly to life with fiery charm thanks to star Frances O’Connor who radiates independence in Patricia Rozema’s feminist and (a bit too) politically correct adaptation.
As a young girl, Price is sent to live with wealthier cousins on a large, country estate and although she is constantly reminded that she is not their equal, manages to stir things up as she turns into a beautiful, intelligent and strong willed young woman whose mantra is, “Run mad as often as you choose but do not faint.” Sexier than any Austen adaptation yet put on screen but in its plot, not nearly as fascinating or compelling as Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility.
The film will be of interest to fans of the author who are looking for a unique spin on the Jane Austen period drama. Some of O’Connor’s stinging dialogue will simply awe viewers as writer/director Rozema seems to be not only commenting on the time period in the film but on present day as well (consider Price’s observations on marriage as a maneuvering business). One small note- —the final “happy ending” scene wherein Fanny finally gets her man is woefully brief and the kiss generates as much warmth as a New England snowstorm, thus leaving viewers a bit unsatisfied. Surely, passionate Fanny deserved a better ending than the one filmed and it seems a bit too hurried.