1997 film directed by Abel Ferrara
Fanny is a poor ten-year old girl who has been sent away to live with her wealthy relatives at their home, Mansfield Park. There, her only friend is her cousin Edmond, whom she grows to love. When she is 18, new neighbors Henry and Mary Crawford come into her life; Henry has eyes for Fanny while Edmond is smitten with Mary.
This Masterpiece Theatre version of Jane Austen's novel was really disappointing. The biggest problem was the casting of Billie Piper as Fanny. Her always-disheveled, bottle blonde hair and inexplicably black eyebrows weren't true to the period and she acted too modern and low class; none of her dialogue was believable because she looked so wrong for the part. She would have been better as a naughty chambermaid than someone brought up in an aristocrat's home. Another victim of inaccurate hair and make-up was Hayley Atwell (Mary Crawford) who had a 2007 hair style and sculpted eyebrows which were lovely, but completely wrong for the time. Her casual speech and flirtatious actions would have had no place in formal Regency society.
The actors playing Fanny's aunt and uncle were too young and lacked a lord and lady's proper breeding. And the waltz danced in the final scene would certainly have shocked onlookers, if indeed it were even known at that time, but there was only pleasant reaction to the dance. All in all, this misguided film is visually distracting and sadly unconvincing.
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