Sense and Sensibility: A review

This was a two-parter and I was worried that I would forget too much of the first part to do a good review, but most of it came back when I started watching again last night so I don't think that happened.

I liked it, in fact, while overall I was disappointed with the movies, this one is about even with the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet version that I also adore.

Unlike almost all the others, I actually liked almost all of the castings picks.

Elinor - I liked that she was a more realistic age than Emma Thompson. It made the contrast between her and Marianne's personalities seem more like just that, a personality/character difference, and not just the fact that she was older and wiser. And I could really see her struggling with her situation, but still remaining composed outwardly - a hard thing to do. I especially liked her crying at the end mostly because that is the one part of the E.T. version I do not like. Emma Thompson sounded like a dying animal when she cried.

Marianne - I have to confess that I really don't like Marianne. I realize that she is supposed to be free spirited and romantic and all that but even in the book I just end up thinking she is silly and rude and kinda selfish. But I liked this Marianne because I could really see her progression from being that silly girl to being a woman with a bit more wisdom while at the same time keeping her romantic spirit. I liked the part when riding in the buggy, she talked about how he was the true romantic for all the good he had done for his love even after she had died.

Margaret - I like Margaret and was so glad to see her in the movie. I watched some old version and they left her out completely and it made me so sad.

Mrs. Dashwood - Also good, a bit more convincing as someone with a Marianne-type personality, especially with her struggles to live within the means of her new lifestyle.

Edward - Okay, I wish he connected more with Elinor but he wasn't bad.

The Steeles - I liked them both. I was glad to see Lucy's sister make an appearance and thought she was great. And I think Lucy did a good job of trying to be sweet and innocent while really just wanting to get her way and make sure Elinor was kicked out of the picture. The first couple times I watched the other version (and granted, I was fairly young) most of Lucy's deliberate actions were too subtle to be noticed, I thought she actually was sweet and innocent.

Col. Brandon - I liked that he was younger, although watching them gradually try and make Alan Rickman look younger is always comical. I also liked that you knew he loved Marianne but he was able to control it. He did what he did for others because he is a good guy, not because he wanted Marianne to think he was a good guy.

The only casting that I didn't care for was Willoughby. He was supposed to be all dashing and whatnot - but he wasn't. Didn't anybody else notice that he was funny looking and short? I did.

I also missed Sir John, his mother-in-law, and of course, Mr. Palmer (but who doesn't love Hugh Laurie?). They were so great in the E.T. version but I suppose one can't ask for everything. I did however like the photograph style "still shots" when the Dashwoods first entered Sir John's house and when they met Mrs. Ferres, which is quite the compliment as I normally don't like weird camera view stuff (that is the technical term I am sure).

Overall, It was good. It had a more old-school period piece feel as compared to the E.T. version and they are quite different but I think there is room in my heart for both. I would say this was my favorite of the whole series (excepting Pride and Prejudice, but I don't count that as I had already seen it). And since that was the end of the Jane Austen series, I guess they ended on a high note. All in all though, I was not as pleased with this series as I was expecting to be. That is what I get for expecting movies to be as good as the books.

UPDATE: Other reviews of S&S can be found here and here.


  1. I think my reactions are fairly similar to yours with the exception of Marianne. I did not like Charity Wakefield as Marianne at all.

    My favorite of the new adaptations is Northanger Abbey (probably because there's nothing of note to compare it to) with this one running second. I looked forward to the "Jane Austen season" so much and I have to say, I'm left disappointed and feeling not a little cheated. Maybe next time, since Jane Austen fever seems to come around every few years.

  2. I'm sad that I missed the rest of the series, and the movie.

    I stumbled across this version as Marianne stood in the rain lamenting Willoughby, so I missed a lot of the character development. I was happy that they included the scene where Willoughby gives the audience some closure when he comes to explain his side to Elinor. But I don't think they did it right - I remember him being drunk in the book, and I don't remember Elinor stepping out of character to yell at him, or Marianne being well enough to overhear the discussion. But it has been awhile since I've read the book, so I may just be remembering the ET version.

    Overall, the thing that really bothered me was that the pace seemed to move ridiculously fast, especially for a made-for-TV movie, when they generally get more time. I felt rushed through the plot.

    And I do have to disagree on the casting choice for Col. Brandon... he's supposed to be a lot older than Marianne. After all, he served in the militia with Sir John.

    Anyway, I'm really glad that you posted your review, MacKenzie!

    P.S. I've got the Colin Firth version of P&P on right now =)

  3. Very nice review! I really loved this version as well. I'm not completely disappointed by this event, partly because I actually really liked two of the four new films (Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility), partly because I watched them online when they came out in the UK and so wasn't quite as hyped for the US event, and partly because they re-aired my favorite Emma, which prompted some rather heated but interesting discussions.

    A nice note about the final scene when Elinor cries - I've always been rather uncomfortable at how ungracefully Emma Thompson played it, and while I appreciate the emotion portrayed, I didn't find it as moving. This film allowed Elinor a bit more dignity, and I felt a relief much closer to that which I felt in the book.

  4. I caught a little of this version on Sunday. I have to admit, I'm a fan of Alan Rickman so the replacement didn't do much for me. Otherwise, I agree that the cast was more believable. I'm going to have to see if Netflix has it so I can see the whole thing!