Mansfield Park (1999)

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Puritan Board Junior
Plot - The spine of the plot is fine: Girl-overlooked is madly in love with Blind-Guy, who is taken in by Flirting-Beauty. It is, however, in the the other areas that this film fails.

Dialogue - There was nothing in the dialogue that stood out to me. The plot was held together by litters Fanny Price wrote to her sister, of which, at some points, she reads to the camera as though she were talking to her sister.

Sex - Here is where the movie largely fails in my opinion. While the movie itself is tolerable, at the 3/4 mark there is a sudden sex scene dropped into view, which contains brief, but obvious nudity. I don't know if you've read a Jane Austen book lately, but she doesn't put naked people in her books! While the sense of the seen is important to the plot, the viewing of it isn't. There is also some very uncomfortable behavior between two women at one point - not explicitly homosexual behavior, but flirting with it enough to make me uncomfortable.

Violence - There is a small reference to the slave trade in the book, which the movie producers take and run with. This amounts to some violent sketches being shown as the truth of slavery is being discovered by Fanny which show rape and murder. This is brief in viewing, but potent in content.

Language - There was none that stuck out to me, but that doesn't rule it out.

World View - The movie does do a good job of showing the vanity of the rich. The two cousins who are the focus of turmoil in the family are shown to be vain and self-serving people. The idea of marrying for conscience and love verses riches and comfort is shown to be empty and wrong. The world view, as far as Austin can be, is commendable; yet, as previously pointed to, the production of the film undermines this to a large extent.

Overall Review - In the end, we (the Young family) found this film to fail as a production of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. The acting was well good, there is no fault to be found there, but the production and directing of the film is its demise. The actors do a commendable job of upholding the weight of the plot. (Which, if one knows the actors for period films, they got a great cast!) However, the plot is so contorted to include inappropriate material for the general audience that it is both unfaithful to Austen's book and shamed in comparison to other productions of her work. Also, to add a small note here, the cinematography at the end of the film is laughable and completely in contrast to the rest of the film, making one feel even more disjointed after finishing it.

Personally, I would only recommend buying this film and quickly burning it to save some other poor soul from having the great misfortune of stumbling upon it.
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