Thanks for your question. As a devotee of Austen, this was a pleasure
Frances OConnor did indeed star in a 1999 film adaptation of an
Austen novel with director Patricia Rozema, but the movie in question
was Mansfield Park, not Emma.
The movie starred Frances OConnor as Fanny Price, Harold Pinter as
Sir Thomas Bertram, Sheila Gish as Mrs. Norris and Jonny Lee Miller as
Edmund Bertram. Rozema adapted the novel into a screenplay and
directed it as well.
Internet Movie Database/Mansfield Park
In his article, Hartl quotes actress, Frances OConnor as saying, All
of Austen's diaries had been destroyed - her family apparently didn't
want people to know too much about her - but Patricia was able to make
use of some of her juvenilia and some fantastic letters to her
siblings. `I have no talent for certainty' is one of the lines that
came from the letters.
Finding a new angle on Austen Films, by John Hartl, Seattle Times,
11/12/1999, Final, M4
The line I have no talent for certainty does not appear in Austens
text of Mansfield Park itself. Nor does it appear in any of the
actual texts of Austens novelsas justaskscott-ga points out, it was
a line added to the film script.
Austens fiction and many of her letters are now available online.
The sibling in question would have most likely been her sister
Cassandra, with whom she corresponded extensively. This is the
nearest match to the quote that I found (*s my own that I added to
emphasize the line):
I am exceedingly pleased that you can say what you do, after having
gone through the whole work, and Fanny's praise is very gratifying. My
hopes were tolerably strong of her, ***but nothing like a
certainty.*** Her liking Darcy and Elizabeth is enough. She might hate
all the others, if she would. I have her opinion under her own hand
this morning, but your transcript of it, which I read first, was not,
and is not, the less acceptable. To me it is of course all praise, but
the more exact truth which she sends you is good enough.
Letter to Cassandra Austen, dated approximately February 1813,
Letters of Jane Austen/Other Excerpts from letters in Austen-Leighs
Jane Austen Information Page/Republic of Pemberley
The film Mansfield Park was (and continues to be) quite
controversial in Jane Austen circles, largely because Rozema took
numerous liberties with the text and characters. For that matter, the
book is considered to be one of the more difficult Austen novels.
Fanny, the heroine of the novel, is written as an exceedingly quiet,
even timid character caught up in a group of more outgoing and
persuasive figures. Modern readers of the book often have difficulty
with the character who is more passive than active. In creating her
adaptation, Rozema infused its lead character with irreverent and
mischievous nature at the heart of Austen's own letters and early
writings. The result is an original social satire with a
strong-willed heroine at its center who á la Austen attempts to
outsmart the dizzying labyrinth of marriage and social status --
without compromising her ideals or her heart.
Given Rozemas liberties with the original novel, its not
unreasonable that she might have tweaked a quote from the letter to
make for a better line of dialogue.
Behind the Scenes of Mansfield Park (1999)
If youre not familiar with it, you may want to explore the Republic
of Pemberley. There is a board specific to Mansfield Park
http://www.pemberley.com/bin/mp/mp.cgi (as well as each of the major
novels, one board for the minor writings, one board for discussion
related to Austens life and times, and many more).
IMDB.com for Mansfield Park credits information
Went to Republic of Pemberleys Jane Austen Information Page as I was
familiar with its comprehensive scope and links to searchable e-texts
Searched talent AND certainty (no hits)
certainty AND no (citation quoted above)
Then went to online e-text search interface for Austens novels
The Works of Jane Austen
Searched all the novels for:
(no pertinent hits)
Then searched all novels at once
Jane Austen Information Page
talent AND certainty (no hits)
certainty (hit listed above)
no talent for certainty
Mansfield park patricia rozema
Mansfield park patricia rozema letters journals
jane austen letters
jane austen talent certainty
jane austen no talent certainty
I hope this helps.