“ Genre: Drama / Theatrical Release: 1995 / Director: Ang Lee / Actors: James Fleet, Tom Wilkinson ... / DVD released 06 February, 2006 at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Collector's Edition, Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen „
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I love Jane Austen's books and Sense and Sensibility is my favorite, it's insightful, moving, witty and involving. Often I don't like movie versions of my books I like but this film get's it just right!!
It makes some changes to the book, most notably making Elinor's character significantly older, but these changes really work. Everything important about the plot and characters is retained, there are some funny bits of dialog I would have liked to have seen dramatized but there is plenty of funny dialog in the movie. The character of the youngest girl Margaret is also considerably changed and made into a tomboy but this works really well, adds a lightheartedness to the film and makes it more accessible to younger viewers.
What really makes the movie great is the acting, all the parts are played by actors of the best quality; Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant are our leads and Hugh Laurie appears in a very small but notable part.
These actors make the movie come alive!
Ang Lee's adaptation of Jane Austen's timeless classic novel is perhaps the most celebrated, and although the harshest critics will have wanted a more pure adaptation, this perhaps strikes the perfect balance between staying true to the book and providing on screen entertainment and making it feasible as a film. It tells of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, and their family, as they are forced from riches to rags by the laws of inheritance, set in a time before the mod cons that we are all used to.
It's a tale of survival as much as it is a romantic drama, as we first see the family's situation deteriorate until they fall on their luck as a relative allows them to inhabit a countryside cottage she owns. From here on, the romantic interludes begin, with each of the two older sisters finding a man they love, only to be out of their luck here as well, at least for a time. There's a marvellous telling of Austen's story, and Ang Lee has managed to present the correct airs and graces throughout, capturing a time nearly forgotten when some of the best literature was written, depicting an era where love was often unrequited and where society dominated passion and the heart.
Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet are superb as the two sisters, chalk and cheese but sharing an affinity and a love for each other that nothing can break. Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant play the two love interests and are suitably typical in their roles, Grant bemused and Rickman aloof, as if the roles were almost written for them, Lee perhaps doing this deliberately to play to their strengths. Either way, it comes across as very effective that these four main characters are so memorable. Greg Wise plays the rather fickle young lusty man for Winslet to fall for, but as the film progresses, we see her affections and those of her around her alter as she is jilted more times than she can cope with. There really is a never ending circle at times as desperation creeps in, and you find yourself transfixed and glued to the screen in hope for the heroine.
This isn't to say it's all doom and gloom and soppy romance. The comedic elements are suitable and subtle, but very effective. Austen's ability to weave a tale is amazing, and Lee transforms that into a fine film that keeps a lot of the subtle nuances and attempts to stay rather true where possible. It's certainly character driven, but the scenery, situations and society as a whole certainly play their parts to the greatest effect. Even the soundtrack stirs emotions as you would expect it should in such a film. I was impressed to not even notice it until after the film I was humming it and my wife noticed. That to me is a mark of a decent choice - something sop subtle that you remember it even though you don't remember hearing it in the first place.
Overall, this is a wonderful adaptation of an even more wonderful tale. The very best classics will alwyas pose the trickiest struggles for directors to transfer onto screen, but Ang Lee's ability to put beauty onto a screen constantly for the duration makes this an absolute winner for me. Beautiful and elegant throughout, with some British performers in the prime of their careers. Excellent job all round. Highly recommended.
This is a fantastic adaptation of Austen's book. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet really capture the essence of Elinor and Marianne and their relationship. There are parts of this film that book purists will not like, but as with any film adaptation you have to remember that it has to make sense and be engaging on the big screen. The costumes and scenery are wonderful, really helping to draw you into the film's world. The cast boasts an impressive list of British actors and actresses, including Robert Hardy, Hugh Grant, Imelda Staunton and Imogen Stubbs. 'Sense and Sensibility' also first showed me the wonders of Alan Rickman. He becomes Colonel Brandon in his entirety, his portrayal of the character is, for me, flawless. It was the revelations of this film, that now make me watch the Harry Potter films just to hear Alan Rickman's voice, which is disturbing enough coupled with the physical appearance of Severus Snape! At the end of the day, if you couldn't get on with Austen's book, then this film takes all the best bits of it and drags you into the situation without the authorial asides that Austen was terribly prone to making.
Sense and Sensibility was made in 1995 and based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen, written in 1811. Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay, as well as starring as Elinor Dashwood. Sense and Sensibility was awarded an Oscar for its screenplay and nominated for further Oscars in several categories, including cinematography, soundtrack and costumes, and both Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet were nominated for their performances.
** Plot **
When old Mr Dashwood dies he is forced by the rules of inheritance to leave his entire fortune to his son, John, and daughter-in-law, Fanny. The couple are responsible for taking care of Mr Dashwood's other family: his second wife and his three unmarried daughters Elinor, Marianne and Margaret. But John and Fanny are mean despite having a lot of money, and they stake their claim on the womens' home. Luckily the Dashwood ladies aren't completely destitute - they have a small allowance and Mrs Dashwood 's distant relative kindly offers them a seaside cottage to live in. The film deals with the difficulties the women face moving away from their comfortable, large, busy household to a cold, lonely new home, and the two older daughters' worries about finding suitable husbands now that they have moved downwards in the social order.
** My opinion **
The first thing thing that struck me is that this is a visually gorgeous film. The countryside is beautiful, whether it be the manicured parklands of the Dashwood girls' original home, or the wilder meadows, hills and seascapes of their new surroundings. The buildings are similarly beautiful, from the proud stone house fronts to the baroque, gilded ballrooms to the sparse but inviting country cottage.
The story is fairy simple and easy to follow, though in typical Austen-style it has the odd element of intrigue, thwarted ambition and unrequited love. Of course, we know that all is going to be well in the end and in this sense the film is predictable - it's obvious who is going to end marrying whom, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable in my opinion. At least the secrets and twists are revealed bit by bit - in this sense the film is very well-paced.
It's funny to see such a large number of well-known British actors together, and looking so youthful. Thompson is solid as the reserved, quite earthy Elinor, who epitomises the 'sense' in the title, while Kate Winslet is excellent as Elinor's sweet-voiced, easily excited younger sister Marianne, who embodies the element of 'sensibility'. She really looks the part; with her pale skin and curly reddish hair she resembles a delicate porcelain doll. There is also Hugh Grant as Elinor's love interest Edward (seemingly unattainable as he's also the awful Fanny's brother) and Alan Rickman as a lonely colonel. Grant is very well cast in his role as a posh, eligible bachelor, employing his standard perplexed expression and bashful stuttering to perfection, but Rickman looks, as in many of his films, slightly disgusted at all times. A few more expressions from him might have been nice. Hugh Laurie is good in a minor role as an exasperated, hen-pecked husband, while Elizabeth Spriggs is brilliant as an old, interfering gossip. She really adds a touch of humour to the film, though I found her daughter, played by Imelda Staunton, a little over the top.
There is the odd moment of humour, such a scene where the Dashwood's cottage is full of women all crying in different rooms for different reasons, or when Fanny is horrified at learning of a secret engagement and switches from decorous to violent in a split second. In general, though, it's not really a funny film, but rather a good, solid, costume drama/ romance. It didn't blow me away, but neither did I lose my concentration during the 130 minutes' duration. All in all, it is a pleasant and very well-made film, and it also has a lovely soundtrack.
Currently available on Amazon for £3.01
REVIEW FOR THE FILM ONLY
Emma Thompson writes and stars in this 1995 big screen adaption of the Jane Austen novel. She does a tremendous job of both writing and acting and, although I have never read this particular book, it has a very Austen-esque feel about it so I am assuming she was quite faithful to the book.
Ang Lee directs, and the whole film is shot amongst lush countryside and the usually grey Britain manages to appear mostly sunny and bright. The costumes and sets depicted are accurate for the era, and it is interesting to see how different and difficult life was for women all those years ago.
The plot: The head of the Dashwood family has just died and so Mrs Dashwood and her three daughters must move to small cottage in the country as their inheritance was not as large as they were expecting. Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thompson), the oldest of the girls, is a staid and sensible spinster. Marianne (Kate Winslet) is the livewire who thinks with her heart and not her head. Margaret is the youngest and is very opinionated. In their new life, the Dashwoods meet many new people and, among them, Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) who takes a shine to Marianne but is twice her age. Marianne is aware of his feelings for her but is more keen on getting to know the local heart-throb, Willoughby (Greg Wise). Elinor has formed an attachment to Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) but he has already committed himself to another woman. Both Elinor and Marianne get their hearts broken throughout the film, but there is hope for them yet.
My only gripes with this film are that Emma Thompon just looks plain old (she looks more like Hugh Grant's mum than his love interest) and Hugh Grant is also his usual wooden self, however I think that lends itself quite well to the role he is playing. Those points aside, all of the actors do a smashing job here and I particular rate Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman. Winslet won an Bafta for her portrayal of Marianne and Rickman will just make you fall in love with him.
When the old Mr Dashwood dies he asks his son, John to look after his sisters and step mother. Although John promises his father he will, his Mr Dashwood is barely cold before John's calculating and money grabbing wife Fanny has her say. By the time she has finished Mr Dashwood's second family is left with a meagre allowance and the knowledge that life as they knew it will never be the same.
It is not long before John and Fanny have installed themselves as the new owners of the Norland Estate whilst Mrs Dashwood and her daughters the steady, reserved Elinor, headstrong and emotional Marianne and tom boy Margaret are left looking for a new home. Fanny invites her brother Edward Ferrars to stay and he proves to possess none of the callous sensibilities of his sister, quietly befriending the greiving sisters. Fanny sees a growing affection between Edward and Elinor and contrives to remove her brother from Norland before anything more can come of it, she also goes to great lengths to make it clear to Mrs Dashwood that her brother is expected to marry into far loftier circles than Elinor moves in.
After Edward's departure, the Dashwoods move into a cottage in the grounds of distant relative, Sir John Middleton's estate. Sir John lives with his mother in law Mrs Jennings and the rambunctuous pair ensure the family cannot escape their lively company, insisting they come up to big house to dine frequently. It is here they meet Colonel Brandon, a friend of Sir John's. He is shy and reserved but it is clear he soon falls for Marianne. Sadly the young girl is horrified by such a suitor and brashly, though not entirely unkindly avoids such thoughts. Brandon is well and truly brushed aside when the dashing Mr Willoughby rides in and literally sweeps Marianne off her feet.
As the movie progresses there are heartbreaks, secret engagements, a untimely pregnacy and misunderstandings. To find out how it ends you'll need to watch the film, I won't spoil the enjoyment of watching the drama unfold.
Sense and Sensibilty was directed by Ang Lee. There were several raised eyebrows over this choice, Lee had previously directed The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman so S&S was rather a departure from his usual fayre. Few can deny, however that his appointment was a success. Working with a script that took Emma Thompson 4 years to write the pair stay true to Austin's vision. The cinematography is breathtaking and the characterisations well observed.
Thompson's casting as Elinor goes against the novel in as much as the character was only 19 in the book however Lee believed that changing the character's age to 27 made her worry about becoming a spinster more accessible to the modern audience. I think Thompson makes the part her own and I feel her older age makes her reserve and frustrations over her Marianne's impulsiveness more believable. Kate Winslet plays the wayward Marianne whose youthful exhurberance is knocked out of her by events that unfold. She exhibits a charm that you cannot help but like despite her not always being the most proper or kind in the way she expresses her thoughts and feelings.
The film is blessed with a myriad of well known actors who all seem perfectly cast. Greg Wise plays the dashing cad with a heart, Willoughby to perfection and no doubt caused cinemas across the country to sigh as he rode masterfully onto the screen. Robert Hardy and Elizabeth Spriggs play the irrespressible Sir John and Mrs Jennings whilst Imelda Staunton plays her silly chatterbox daughter. Hugh Laurie is wonderful as Mr Palmer, the long suffering husband of Charlotte who although world weary and grumpy around his wife proves himself to be kind and considerate to Elinor when she is in dire straits. Hugh Grant seems doomed to be perrennially cast as the bumbling awkward but proper english gentleman and as Edward he is certainly not stretched from this typecast. His depiction of Edward is warm and likeable though and precisely what is needed; he has a good rapor with Thompson if a little reserved but then again this reserve is what marks him as Elinor's emotional equal. Alan Rickman plays Colonel Brandon and excels in this role. He is deliciously understated around Marianne which balances Willoughby's youthful vigour. His melancholy over previous loves is wonderfully observed, as is his unrequited but deeply held affection for the young Miss Dashwood.
This film could all too easily have been overly dramatised and as a result quite heavy going, however Lee and Thompson have an eye for the comedy in Austin's novel. The characatures of Mrs Jennings and her daughter add light relief, whilst early interactions between Edward and as he calls her "Captain" Margaret who unashameably bosses him around and even fells him with a branch during a mock sword fight serve well to balance the state of grief which understandably is over Norland following Mr Dashwood's death.
This gentle film is a delight to watch. It carries you along though the cinematography and soothing soundtrack whilst the story can make you laugh out loud one minute and then next feel the pathos portrayed onscreen. I believe this to be the definative adaptation of Austin's novel (far superior to the BBC's recent version) and so well observed are all the characters that I would find it hard to believe anyone else in the parts. Highly recommended.
** This is a review of the film only - although I possess the dvd I confess I have never felt the need to venture into the disc's extras.**
This is a very pleasant, rather gentle film which is generally faithful to the Jane Austen novel on which it is based. It benefits from very good performances from most of the principal actors, beautiful photography and lighting and an excellent screenplay, for which Emma Thompson deservedly won an Oscar. Ang Lee's direction is first-rate, even if the view of 18th. century England which we get is, as nearly always in period drama, rather over-pretty and sanitised ; but it looks lovely. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet as the two elder Dashwood sisters, reliable, sensitive Eleanor and impulsive, generous-natured Marianne, are excellent. Alan Rickman does his usual thick-voiced uneasy portrayal (but without the menace) as Colonel Brandon. I have reservations about Hugh Grant who, as Edward Ferrars, seems to me over-the-top in his wimpish inarticulacy, always wearing clothes that don't really fit to underline this, but he is good at key moments, for example his final declaration of love for Eleanor. The gentle, wistful, tactfully understated music adds atmosphere to the film and is a plus, and there are some very nice woolly sheep which appear from time to time, much riding about on splendid horses (and in carriages drawn by splendid horses), marvellous views over rolling countryside, magnificent fine houses and so on. It is all lovely to watch and very well done, and with such a good screenplay, it works very well.
Sense and Sensibility is a 1995 Ang Lee film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel of the same name.
The plot centres on the two Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. After their father dies the two girls, their younger sister Margaret and mother, Mrs Dashwood are left with a diminutive allowance to live off after their half brother, John, and his greedy wife Fanny inherit the family estate. When John, Fanny and their young son move into the Dashwood home they're visited by Fanny's brother Edward who forms a budding friendship with Elinor until the Dashwood ladies feel compelled to leave for a new home. Their new home, a small cottage near relatives, is a shock to them as it has non of the luxuries of their previous lifestyle. While Elinor tries desperately to keep allowances down, Marianne meets a dashing young Mr Willoughby.
Elinor is a character of 'sense', she keeps her emotions hidden even from her own sister, much to Marianne's annoyance. Marianne is far more deep feeling and is willing to show her emotions, even in the restrained regency era. Despite their differences the sisters are there for each other through the heartache they both suffer. Kate Winslet does an excellent portrayal of Marianne Dashwood, being both youthful and selfish while maintaining a likability and charm that is undeniable. Hugh Grant does a very charming version of Edward Ferras, the brother of Fanny but it is Alan Rickman that seems to steal the hearts of many women.
***Compared to the Novel***
Film adaptations of novels are always difficult, trying to compress the many events into a movie 2 hours long. This Ang Lee version does a very admirable job. There are some scenes which have been left out but it does not detract from the general feel and plot of the film. The key area of divergence from the novel is in the age of Emma Thompson playing Elinor Dashwood. Elinor was originally intended to be in her late teens-early twenties when the story takes place while Emma is considerably older. Having said this, I do not believe it is detrimental to the film. Emma Thompson is such a marvellous actor that she manages to make the situation acceptable and Elinor is as charming as ever.
The quality of this production is, exceptional. It is beautifully shot with Ang Lee taking inspiration from several Vermeer paintings, Kate Winslet's beauty certainly adds to this style in many scenes.
Overall this is an excellent adaptation of a wonderful novel, that I would highly recommend. I'm yet to see a better version of Sense and Sensibility.
Ang Lee's enchanting big-screen version of "Sense and Sensibility" does justice to Jane Austen's novel. The novel - first published in 1811 - was gracefully adapted for the big screen by first-time screenwriter Emma Thompson, who received an Oscar for her efforts - as well as a nomination for Best Actress for her starring role as Elinor Dashwood. Released in 1995, the film also provides an entertaining glimpse of some famous faces - notably Kate Winslet, Thompson and Hugh Grant - looking significantly younger than they do today.
Mrs Henry Dashwood (Gemma Jones) and her three daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret are left in financially straitened circumstances when her stepson John Dashwood (James Fleet) inherits the whole of his father's estate, Norland, since the law prevents his father Henry from leaving property to John's half-sisters. However, his father urges him on his deathbed to do the right thing by them. While initially having every intention of honouring his father's wishes, John allows himself to be quickly persuaded out of this by his unpleasant, grasping wife Fanny (Harriet Walter), and the couple move into Norland, declining to settle any money on Henry's second family. Mrs Dashwood and her three daughters - the sensible, controlled Elinor (Thompson), passionate, demonstrative Marianne (Winslet) and twelve-year-old tomboy Margaret (Emilie Francois) - are hence forced to vacate their home and move, thanks to the charity of a relative, the boisterous Sir John Middleton, to a "cottage" (actually quite a substantial residence!) in Devonshire. Suitors for each of the two elder girls quickly become apparent, including likeable Edward Ferrers (Hugh Grant), the brother of Fanny Dashwood; John Willoughby (Greg Wise, the real-life Mr Emma Thompson), an attractive but impecunious young man; and Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman, who I now have trouble seeing as anyone other than Professor Snape), an old family friend.
Unable due to social convention to seek jobs, the girls' only option is to find socially suitable husbands - but love is, of course, also a not insignificant consideration.
Director Ang Lee, whose previous films included 1993's The Wedding Banquet and 1994's Eat Drink Man Woman - both Taiwanese films - initially seemed an odd choice for a comedy of 19th-century British manners and morals, but turns out to be an inspired selection as he does a superb job in this his first English-language film, eliciting excellent performances from his cast, particularly Thompson and Winslet. Alan Rickman's shy Colonel Brandon also provides a pleasant change of pace from his usual bad-guy roles. Thompson's Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay was well deserved, as she has achieved a faithful, intelligent and coherent rendering of Austen's plot which - while not a substitute for reading the novel - does succeed in providing much of its flavour. Oscar nominations were also received for Best Picture; Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet); Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design and Best Dramatic Score, as well as a second nomination for Thompson as Best Actress.
"Sense and Sensibility" is a satisfying, intelligent adaptation of Austen's novel and a visual feast, Lee's often distanced framing working superbly as a rendering of Austen's elegant, coolly ironic prose. More than just another period drama, it communicates much about human emotions and the realities of women's lives in the early 19th century. As Elinor Dashwood comments to Edward Ferrers, prevented by family pressure from fulfilling his own ambitions: "You talk about feeling idle and useless: imagine how that is compounded when one has no hope and no choice of any occupation whatsoever... You will inherit your fortune, we cannot even earn ours."
A wonderful film, highly recommended.
Special DVD features:
- Director Ang Lee and co-director James Schamus - audio commentary
- Emma Thompson and producer Lindsay Doran - audio commentary
- Two deleted scenes (a dialogue between Elinor and her mother, and a kiss between Elinor and Edward)
- Emma Thompson's Golden Globe acceptance speech
The film itself is 135 minutes long and the DVD is available for £5.97 from Amazon.
Sense and Sensibility I love movies about romance and Sense and Sensibility is a truly romantic movie. In 1996 S&S won an Academy Award for BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY and 3 B.A.F.T.A.S for BEST FILM - BEST ACTRESS - BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS. Certificate:U *The Cast* Emma Thompson - Alan Rickman - Kate Winslet - Hugh Grant ~~~~~~~~~~~ Sense and Sensibility is the story of two sisters; Elinor (Emma Thompson) - being the eldest Elinor carries a lot of the burdens, she listens to her head rather than her heart Marrianne (Kate Winslet) - the opposite to her sister, she has a passion for life and doesn't seem to have any problem expressing her feelings. After their father Henry Dashwood takes ill and dies, according to the law his estate has to be passed to his eldest son from his first marriage. Elinor strikes up a "friendship" with Edward Ferras (Hugh Grant) after a visit to his sister (the wife of Henry Dashwood's first son). Will the "friendship" turn to romance? His current wife and daughters are forced to leave their home and grand lifestyle to find accommodation more suited to their newly found financial state. The sisters are soon accepted into their new society. Marrianne strikes up a romance with a cad called Willoughby (Greg Wise) much to the horror of Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman), who carries a secret torch for her. Meanwhile Elinor struggles to keep a careful grip of the family financial affairs and to keep her feelings for Edward a secret from her family. Brought to you by Columbia Pictures you are transported to an era were romance is so very proper and a society obsessed by financial and social status.
Emma Thompson scores a double bull's-eye with Sense and Sensibility, a marvellous adaptation of Jane Austen's novel. Not only does Thompson turn in a strong (and gently humorous) performance as Elinor Dashwood--the one with "sense"--she also wrote the witty, wise screenplay. Austen's tale of 19th-century manners and morals provides a large cast with a feast of possibilities, notably Kate Winslet, in her pre-Titanic flowering, as Thompson's deeply romantic sister, Marianne (the one with "sensibility"). Winslet attracts the wooing of shy Alan Rickman (a nice change of pace from his bad-guy roles) and dashing Greg Wise, while Thompson must endure an incredibly roundabout courtship with Hugh Grant, here in fine and funny form. All of this is doled out with the usual eye-filling English countryside and handsome costumes, yet the film always seems to be about the careful interior lives of its characters. The director, an inspired choice, is Taiwan-born Ang Lee, here making his first English-language film. He brings the same exquisite taste and discreet touch he displayed in his previous Asian films (such as Eat Drink Man Woman). Thompson's script won an Oscar. --Robert Horton