Reseña de "Mansfield Park"

My Problems with Mansfield Park

Poor relation Fanny Price goes to live with her aunt and uncle becoming a put upon Cinderella as she yearns for love. Seldom has a film played quite so fast and loose with an enduring literary work in the dubious cause of seeming "accessible" and "relevant".

While some of the other screenwriters of Jane Austen-based films have given Austen co-credit as screenwriter, Ms. Rozema does not — and with good reason. Admittedly, the quiet, highly principled Fanny is a difficult character to bring to the screen.

Rozema draws on the juvenilia of Jane Austen to create the juvenile stories of Fanny Price. In fact, the film could almost be called a parallel universe science fiction story: Like most Miramax costume films, Mansfield Park is a visually beautiful movie with some excellent casting, especially in the supporting roles.

The three Ward sisters — dim-witted but still beautiful Lady Bertram, officious Mrs. Norris, and washed out Mrs. Price looking heart-breakingly older than her elder sisters — are beautifully cast and even look like sisters. Sir Thomas Bertram Harold Pinter is formidable but kindly.

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Even Edmund is a little more personable than usual. More effective are the child actors who play the 10 year old Fanny and teenage Edmund with impeccable period manners. The film is littered with careless historical inaccuracies which could have easily been avoided: One scene has the gentlemen smoking in a room with ladies!!!! The Bertram sisters are introduced as "Miss Julia Bertram" and "Miss Maria Bertram" — though any high school AP English student could tell you they should be introduced as "Miss Bertram" and "Miss Julia Bertram" eldest sister first — with only younger sisters being addressed by their first names.

And the magnificent manor house used for Mansfield seems more suitable for a ducal palace than the residence of a baronet with cash flow problems. There are also problems with tweaking a 19th century novel to make it more relevant. Rozema devotes a lot of screen time to social issues. Tom Bertram the heir is an alcoholic because he really hates the fact that his father is a slave-owner with a large plantation in Antigua.

Sir Thomas does get his consciousness raised a little before the end of the movie. And Fanny gets even more liberated and speaks her mind even more. So much for Christian charity and liberal feminism!

Sir Thomas is liberal enough to consider freeing his slaves but not liberal enough to forgive a daughter who has fled an impossible marriage. Yes, Maria Bertram is a selfish and perverse spoiled brat who destroys her own character. But does she deserve to be sent into permanent exile for an adulterous affair?

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Mansfield Park
While we applaud the prospect of another Austen boomlet in...

Solid performances, bold direction. She has always known her debt of gratitude towards her aunt, Lady Bertram, and uncle, Sir Thomas.

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