Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom, 1999. Arts Council of England, British Broadcasting Corporation, HAL Films, Miramax. Screenplay by Patricia Rozema, based on the novel by Jane Austen. Cinematography by Michael Coulter. Produced by Sarah Curtis. Music by Lesley Barber. Production Design by Christopher Hobbs. Costume Design by Andrea Galer. Film Editing by Martin Walsh.
Patricia Rozema directs this adaptation of Jane Austen’s dark novel, which also features plot elements taken from Austen’s letters and diaries. Frances O’Connor makes a star of herself as Fanny Price, who is taken from a life of poverty and installed in her uncle’s giant mansion. The usual Austentatious complications ensue, with people about to marry the wrong people, others getting in the way, followed by the suitably happy ending. Rozema’s camera is free-spirited and light in touch, giving the film a searing modern edge that is very refreshing. Not as brilliant or polished as Sense and Sensibility or as lush as Douglas McGrath’s Emma, it is nevertheless a very welcome addition to the Austen film family collection. Playwright and screenwriter Harold Pinter appears as Fanny’s stern uncle Sir Thomas Bertram, with Lindsay Duncan playing two roles as Fanny’s mother and aunt to perfection.
Toronto International Film Festival: 1999