1. I had heard it was a complete and utter travesty and nothing like the original novel,
2. I wasn't sure how an Austen adaptation could be rated a 15 (!!!), and
3. The opinions and reviews I had read about it made it sound like a really awful film.
But, I wanted to have a version of Mansfield Park which I would choose to watch. After reading the novel, I soon after watched the 2007 version with Billie Piper, and I hesitate to call it an adaptation of the novel...
It was so short, meaning the story was barely recognisable and the way it was edited missed out so many major points in the plot; such as the trip to Portsmouth and her coming-out ball (which turned into a picnic!) As well the plot being completely mashed up, I didn't think the acting was all that special and I think just to try and get a novel the length of Mansfield Park down to an hour and a half film is just not possible! (Its not too bad if I watch it and think of it as a film based on Mansfield Park instead of an adaptation of the novel!)
A few weeks later I saw the BBC series made in 1983. This was a long series (over 5 hours!) and sometimes you could tell it was made a little while ago (the camera work or the sets) and the acting was a little stiff from time to time. Otherwise, I thought it wasn't bad. It was very accurate, which I liked, and on the whole, not bad. So, this one became my favourite adaptation. But, its too long to watch in an evening! So, a few weeks after, I thought I would give the 1999 version a shot, especially as the complete film was on YouTube in parts ;) And, I was pleasantly surprised.
Firstly, the plot and accuracy to the novel. I was surprised. It was edited, of course as it is only a 2 hour film, but it was edited well, and they most important parts were kept in, I think. The parts that were included were very accurate and it was much more recognisable as Mansfield Park!
Next, the actors. I thought everyone acted there parts very well.
I really enjoyed the performance from Frances O' Connor. Her portrayal of Fanny was, I will admit, a little more confident than she appears in the novel, but I thought it was an interesting take on her character and I really enjoyed it.
I also thought the performance from Johnny Lee Miller as Edmund Bertram was brilliant! I think what I particularly liked was that at the beginning, before he became completely besotted with Mary Crawford, he didn't act as though he was completely ignorant of Fanny, and there was a hint of the strong admiration he had for her, which I think helped in making the realisation of his real love Fanny more realistic and not so sudden.
All the other characters were well portrayed as well!
There were 2 scenes which is what I think makes the rating a 15. These did not ruin the film for me.
The music was lovely in this version, as was the scenery and the sets. So, overall, it was a great film and a great adaptation of Mansfield Park I thought, and I now have a version of Mansfield Park I can watch in an evening, and would choose to watch.
What did you think of it? I know some might disagree with me!
Your affectionate friend,