When Hollywood gets the idea to sensationalize, nothing is safe, not even Jane Austen.
In this adaptation, Fanny Price is nearly unrecognizable. Gone is the shy, delicate girl of Austen’s novel. In her place is a young woman who may be quiet, but when engaged in conversation is always sarcastic.
Take this bit of dialogue:
Fanny Price: You are such a fine speaker that I'm afraid you may actually end in convincing yourself.
Henry Crawford: Fanny. You are killing me.
Fanny Price: No man dies of love but on the stage.
She told him.
As for the lust, it’s all over the place. Anything that could even be deemed slightly sexual is taken for all its worth. The scene where Mary and Fanny read a bit of the play? Sensual touches from Mary to Fanny with a distinctly uncomfortable Edmund in the corner. That bit with Julia and Henry Crawford? We get to see a lot more than Jane Austen showed us. On and on it goes.
The Wikipedia page for the movie goes so far as to say its “loosely based” on the novel, and I’d have to agree.
And the dialogue, while completely incongruous with Austen’s characters, is pretty cool.
I guess what I’m saying is to take the 1999 Mansfield Park with a grain of salt, or an entire salt block if that’s what you need, but enjoy it. It’s bizarre enough to make you laugh, at the very least.
Melanie blogs at Melanie's Musings and likes laughing. She thinks the Jane Austen is My Homegirl rap is hilarious.