Welcome to the October meeting of the Jane Austen Movie Club! The first Tuesday of every month, Risky Regencies is the place to be for daring discussion and dastardly debate about Jane Austen film and television adaptations!

This month: the 1999 Patricia Rozema film of MANSFIELD PARK.

First, a word of caution: I know a lot of us have very strong views on this movie, so let’s be sure to remain polite and respectful at all times!

Discuss any aspect of the film that you like — but, in case it helps to get the dicussion going, here are a few questions you may or may not want to think about:

If you’ve read the novel, what did you think of it? Do you think it would be possible to do an adaptation that (a) is faithful, (b) works cinematically, and (c) is also interesting/pleasing to modern viewers? Why or why not?

Did you think Alessandro Nivola and Embeth Davidtz were well-cast as the Crawfords? Did you find them attractive? Dangerous? Sympathetic?

What did you think of the character of Fanny, and of Frances O’Connor’s performance? If you’ve read the book, what do you think of the changes? If you haven’t, did you like the character? Did she seem true to the period?

What did you think about Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund? Did he seem a good match for Fanny, or did you wish she had someone more strong/manly/perceptive/handsome/anything else?

What did you think of the “feminist” subtext? Do you think the movie Maria was plausibly a victim?

If you’ve read the book, what did you think of the way Rozema turned some characters more “good” or sympathetic (e.g. Tom) or less (e.g. Sir Thomas)? If you haven’t read the book, did you find these characters believable? Did they fit well into the story?

And, of course, ask or answer any other question that interests you!
Now, to help jog everyone’s memory, here’s a partial cast list:

Written & Directed by Patricia Rozema


Fanny Price: Frances O’Connor

Edmund Bertram: Jonny Lee Miller

Tom Bertram: James Purefoy

Maria Bertram: Victoria Hamilton

Julia Bertram: Justine Waddell

Sir Thomas Bertram: Harold Pinter

Mrs. Price/Lady Bertram: Lindsay Duncan

Mrs. Norris: Sheila Gish

Mary Crawford: Embeth Davidtz

Henry Crawford: Alessandro Nivola

Mr. Rushworth: Hugh Bonneville

And if you have any suggestions for what we should discuss next time, suggest away!

All comments welcome!

Cara King, author of MY LADY GAMESTER and Jane Austen movie junkie