[Screen It]


(1999) (Frances O'Connor, Jonny Lee Miller) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate Minor Heavy Minor None
*None None Minor None None
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Heavy Minor Moderate Mild Mild

Drama: Having grown up with her rich relatives, an early 19th century young woman must contend with not being their true equal while trying to sort out her romantic life and others' expectations of her.
Near the turn of the 19th century, Fanny Price (HANNAH TAYLOR GORDON), a young and poor girl from Portsmouth, is sent off to live with her far wealthier relatives in the lush countryside. Arriving at the sprawling estate known as Mansfield Park, Fanny is greeted by her two aunts, the condescending Mrs. Norris (SHEILA GISH) and her sister, the opium addicted Lady Bertram (LINDSAY DUNCAN). She's married to Sir Thomas Bertram (HAROLD PINTER), an older man who's made a fortune with his slave trade business, and he halfheartedly welcomes Fanny into his home.

Never their equal, Fanny (FRANCES O'CONNOR) grows up into a young woman there, developing a close bond with the family's youngest son, Edmund (JONNY LEE MILLER). The rest of his siblings, however, including sisters Julia (JUSTINE WADDELL) and Maria (VICTORIA HAMILTON) and older brother Tom (JAMES PUREFOY), see her as a mix of a destitute sister and servant girl.

Even so, Fanny has developed a certain confidence in herself and continues with her observational writing, continually sending letters back to her sister, Susan (SOPHIA MYLES), who still lives at home with their parents, (LINDSAY DUNCAN & HILTON McRAE). She gets more to write about when siblings Mary (EMBETH DAVIDTZ) and Henry Crawford (ALESSANDRO NIVOLA) arrive at Mansfield Park for an extended stay.

Attractive and charismatic, the two manage to stirs things up in the household, with both Julia and Maria interested in Henry, despite the latter being engaged and then married to Mr. Rushworth (HUGH BONNEVILLE). Yet the eligible bachelor is instead interested in Fanny, but she harbors secret romantic feelings for Edmund who in turn is interested in Mary.

As the respective family members and their guests jockey about for romantic pairings, things come to a head with Tom's refusal to follow in his father's footsteps and with Sir Thomas' insistence that Fanny marry Henry. With passions rising and facing an ultimatum, Fanny must decide how to play out her romantic future and what consequences her final choice will create.

Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, of period romantic dramas or author Jane Austen, it's highly unlikely.
For brief violent images, sexual content and drug use.
  • FRANCES O'CONNOR plays a confident young woman and aspiring writer who must contend with not being the equal to her rich relatives with whom she's lived and grown up, as well as romantic pressures placed on her by others.
  • JONNY LEE MILLER plays the family's youngest son, a decent fellow who wishes to join the ministry.
  • EMBETH DAVIDTZ plays a visiting woman who vies for Edmund's hand in marriage but turns out to be a callous and heartless woman seemingly only interested in money (she also shows some lesbian tendencies toward Fanny early in the story).
  • ALESSANDRO NIVOLA plays her brother, a somewhat conniving gentleman who relentlessly pursues Fanny and then ends up sleeping with a married woman.
  • HAROLD PINTER plays the family patriarch, a man who's made his fortune in the slave trade business.
  • LINDSAY DUNCAN plays both Fanny's mother and her opium-addicted and usually passed out aunt.
  • SHEILA GISH plays her other aunt, a snooty woman who looks down on Fanny.
  • JAMES PUREFOY plays the family's oldest son, a young man who drinks to excess and doesn't get along with his father or his plans for him.
  • JUSTINE WADDELL and VICTORIA HAMILTON play Edmund's sisters who vie for Henry's attention, despite the latter playing a married character (who ends up in bed with Henry).


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated period drama. A briefly seen sexual encounter shows a man between a woman's legs as well as glimpses of her bare breasts. Several sketches (accompanied by some brief, ominous music) show several native women being raped by white men, along with their bare breasts, while one major character displays lesbian tendencies toward another woman in several scenes, but nothing else happens between them.

    The sketches also show a native who's apparently been lynched, and those responsible obviously have bad attitudes, as do other characters for other reasons. An older woman is constantly passed out, apparently from the opium-based substance she reportedly consumes every day. Some drinking is present -- with the oldest son being drunk on several occasions, while some brief smoking also occurs.

    Beyond that, however, the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content. Although it's questionable how many kids will want to see this film, should you still be concerned about its content for yourself or anyone else in your home, we suggest that you more closely examine the detailed content listings.

  • We see Tom who appears to be drunk.
  • Lady Bertram appears to be passed out/drugged by an opium substance she consumes/has consumed in several scenes (and is reported to take daily).
  • We see a flashback to Lady Bertram and her late husband having wine.
  • We see that Tom is drunk again.
  • Sir Thomas has a drink and does again in a later scene.
  • People have drinks at a party.
  • Mary, Henry, Edmund and Fanny appear to have wine while playing some sort of card game.
  • Maria, Rushworth and others have wine.
  • We see a bottle of liquor and two glasses on the floor next to a bed.
  • Sir Thomas has a drink.
  • We hear Tom vomiting from being sick.
  • Sir Thomas has made his fortune off his slave trade business and he even talks of bringing one to their estate. Another miscellaneous person refers to them as "darkies" and "black cargo." Sir Thomas later states that mulattos are like mules and can't have children together.
  • Aunt Norris and most of the others except for Edmund have condescending attitudes toward young Fanny when she first arrives, and still do so to some extent when she's a young woman (they don't treat her like an equal of the family).
  • Sir Thomas make inappropriate remarks to Fanny about how attractive she is and comments on her figure.
  • Sir Thomas tries to force Fanny to marry Henry, and when she refuses her sends her back to her original family.
  • After finally agreeing to marry Henry, Fanny backs out of her decision the next day.
  • Although she's married to someone else, Maria has sex with Henry.
  • Mary has both for writing off Tom when he seems ready to die and then callously discussing how she and Edmund could then spend the family inheritance.
  • As some suspenseful music plays (along with faint screaming sounds), Fanny looks through Tom's sketchbook of his father's slave trading activities. As such, we see sketches of men raping native women, as well as a sketch of a native man who's apparently been lynched.
  • None.
  • None of particular note, and being a period drama, it's doubtful today's kids would find anything here that they'd want to imitate.
  • None.
  • A bit of suspenseful music plays in one scene.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Various female characters show varying amounts of cleavage throughout the film.
  • Various characters rehearse for a play with some sexual undertones and subtle, but related dialogue (including Mary adding some lesbian undertones while reading lines with Fanny).
  • After Mary escorts Fanny indoors and out of the rain, she helps her undress while commenting on her figure (in another scene laced with lesbian undertones). Although many layers of clothing are removed, all we ultimately see is abundant cleavage.
  • Fanny looks through Tom's sketchbook of his father's slave trading activities. As such, we see sketches of men raping native women (thus showing men between women's legs as well as bare breasts).
  • Fanny walks in on Henry having sex with Maria (and we briefly see him between her legs -- with possible brief movement -- as well as a glimpse of her bare breasts).
  • Henry smokes cigars a few times (with his sister taking a drag from one) while Rushworth and a friend of Tom's also briefly smoke.
  • Young Fanny is upset when she learns that her mother has evidently sent her to Mansfield Park for the rest of her life (she writes to Susan saying that their mother "has given me away").
  • Tom doesn't get along with his father that well.
  • Rushworth sees that his wife has had an affair.
  • The family worries about Tom who's gravely ill.
  • The apparent artistic liberties taken with the source novel.
  • Why Fanny was so adamant about not marrying Henry, and Sir Thomas' ultimatum that she marry him or move out.
  • Sir Thomas' involvement in the slave trade.
  • As some suspenseful music plays (along with faint screaming sounds), Fanny looks through Tom's sketchbook of his father's slave trading activities. As such, we see sketches of men raping native women, as well as another sketch of a native man who's apparently been lynched.

  • Reviewed November 17, 1999 / Posted November 26, 1999

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