Cinema: Mansfield Park

Written and directed by Patricia Rozema

Adapting the most confounding of Jane Austen's works, Rozema has conflated the author and her creation, Fanny Price (Frances O'Connor). The Fanny of the novel, a mousy poor relative come to live in the eponymous great house, is here, like the author, a witty observer of the swells at romantic play. She's also the patient, strong-willed mistress of her own romantic destiny who finally achieves her long-desired true love. The movie may not entirely please Austen purists, but it is well acted, and it achieves a strong, smart, engaging life of its own.

--R.S.

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