Mansfield Park (1999)

(On DVD, July 2002) Charming Jane Austen-inspired romantic comedy set in historical Britain. The film revolves around actress Frances O’Connor, who is more beautiful here than she’s been ever since in dud roles in contemporary movies such as Bedazzled and Windtalkers. If you like period romances, it’s hard not to be taken with this slight tale. (Though it’s surprisingly edgy, with a few glimpses of decidedly un-romantic moments) It’s not particularly deep or meaningful, but it’s a good moment. The DVD is pretty much devoid of special features, except for writer/director Patricia Rozema’s enlightening commentary track in which she explains the various changes she made to the original story and the winks to those familiar with Austen. (The lead character becomes a stand-in for Austen herself, and not merely the boring protagonist of the original book.) Good stuff.

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