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Skewed schedules and a cinematic Austen dilemma
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I slept really horribly last night, woke up at 5:30 am and couldn't go back to sleep...but luckily, that turned out okay after all, as I ended up having a great phone call insanely early this morning. It was the nicest possible way to start the day. Thank goodness for brothers in America who stay up late! :) After I'd had breakfast with Patrick and seen him off to work, I ended up going back to sleep on the couch, all snuggled up with Maya, until about 11am, so my schedule is really off today. It's been a nice day, though. After lunch, I watched the 2000 movie version of Mansfield Park, written and directed by Patricia Rozema, which was really interesting. Although the main storyline is about the same as the book (albeit with some very subtle subtext turned into a main theme), the character of the heroine, Fanny Price, is 100% different from the Fanny in the book...which is probably, as much as I hate to say it, a good thing.

Fanny was a great heroine for the early 1800s, when the book was published, but she's the only Austen heroine I can think of who isn't still culturally sympathetic in the 21st century. She's wonderfully true-hearted, loyal, and has a perfect moral compass...but that's it, as she's an uncomplaining martyr who lets herself be trampled by everyone around her and has no other defining personal characteristics. She's saintly, and she certainly deserves her happy ending, but she's not a particularly appealing heroine by modern standards, which is the hardest thing about reading the book nowadays. The writing is brilliantly scathing and funny, the other characters are all hilariously awful and colorful...but Fanny herself, our heroine, is such a sad little thing, without any spark beyond her essential Goodness, that it's hard not to feel impatient with her nowadays.

The Fanny in the movie, on the other hand, is strong and sparky and independent despite her circumstances, with huge lashings of Jane Austen herself injected into her personality. (They even have her writing Jane Austen's own early works and writing gossipy letters to her sister that sound just like Jane Austen's own, right down to the delicate and very, very witty malice.) The movie isn't nearly as funny as the book, but it's still a good story, and Fanny is far more fun and I was left feeling oddly guilty, since I usually HATE movies screwing with Jane Austen's characters...but just this once, I didn't really mind.

Did anyone else watch this film? What did you think?

ETA: And: check out Patrick's good news! Yayyy for another Pseudopod sale!

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