Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Review of Sense and Sensibility (1995)

This is my first review, so you must be patient with me. I will first start with a summary, then go on to actors, music, costumes, theme, &tc. Book comparisons will undoubtedly pop up throughout the blog. As I am writing this review, I am listening to the Sense and Sensibility music. I think it is delightful! But, to start with:

 The Summary:
 Sense and Sensibility is a story of two sisters, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood, who are both in love with two men who are not free to give their own love in return. They both have their hearts broken. Elinor, as is her way, takes it in stride and remains calm and collected for her family. "Always submission and resignation. Elinor, where is your heart?" So said Marianne to Elinor, a very characteristic response. Marianne is vivacious and headstrong. She does not hide her feelings, and weeps despairingly for a long time and hides her sorrow from no one when her heart is broken. So causing the famous scene where Marianne ventures out and it rains and she catches pneumonia. ( At least, I believe that is what it was...) In the movie, Col. Brandon saves her, quite heroically. While I love this scene, and Col. Brandon, that is not how it was in the book. I especially like the lines "Miss Dashwood, give me an occupation or I shall go (or was it run?) mad!" said by Col. Brandon. Sorry that I seem to not know the quotes word for word, this is all off the top of my head. I simply abhor Willoughby. I admit I didn't at first, I thought he was wonderful, saving Marianne in the rain (sigh) and bringing her flowers. But I saw his true colors, and that was the end of that. I also have seen that actor in several other places (Cranford, anyone?) and he is nothing but trouble in them all. Edward and Elinor, though are my favorite couple. In the book I liked Edward, but in the movie I adored him. I think it was because we got to see (and hear) more of him. The scene with Margaret and the atlas? It melted my heart. The same could be said for the wooden sword fighting scene. From book to movie, I thought it was well done. While you can't fit everything from the book into the movie, they did a fairly good job, in my (not so) humble opinion. I know they took out a few characters and added some extra things to the movie, but I enjoyed it and thought they made sense. I really like the movie and was so glad to have received it from my bosom friend (as Anne Shirley would say)  for my birthday. (Which, by some happy coincidence, is December 16, Jane Austen's birthday!!!)

The Actors:
I really liked the actors in this movie. Emma Thompson may have been a bit old for Elinor (I believe Elinor in the book is around eighteen) but she is wonderful in the role. She has such fabulous facial expressions, such expressive eyes. I always marvel at her sense. She also has a sense of humor, and several witty things are said throughout the movie by our Elinor. Kate Winslet played Marianne exceptionally well. I believe she would've been a tough character to portray; she is so unique, but, in any case, Winslet was very expressive and played the feeling Marianne very well. (Fainting and tears are hard to do.) While reading this over, I think I might give the impression that I do not think very highly of Marianne, which is not the case. She is just young and naive, and I don't look up to her as I do Elinor. (But I do adore her, upon my word, I do.) Greg Wise as Willoughby was done well, as I did not get the impression until later that he was somewhat of a fiend. I never did like it when Willoughby insulted Col. Brandon, though. I am so glad Elinor stuck up for him! Hugh Grant was very good. I thought he was very nice, and as I said, I loved Edward in the movie. Imogen Stubbs did a good job of making me hate Lucy Steele. She was so sly! So deceitful! So... oh, she just rubbed me the wrong way. She was exactly how I pictured her to look in the book, and I was quite pleased. I'm glad she ends up with nice, simple-minded Robert Ferrars, instead of dear Edward. Apparently, the actor who played Robert Ferrars was Emma Thompson's brother-in-law! Anyway, on to Snape Alan Rickman. At first, I was iffy. Could Snape play my beloved Col. Brandon? I was very soon reconciled to him however, and now I think of Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon instead of Alan Rickman as Snape. See the difference? On to Mrs. Jennings and Sir John Middleton. I thought they were the funniest pair. I laughed (with a grimace) at their jokes concerning the elusive "Mr. F." I especially liked Margaret's line, "I like them. They talk about things. We never talk about things." :) Fanny and John  Dashwood... let me suffice to say Fanny was proud and intolerable, just as she should be. Her hair always reminded me of a baby octopus, but I guess that was the "fashion." John Dashwood was easily persuaded and slightly dull. You could see he wanted to be courteous and help his sisters, but what is thought without action? Nothing, in my book.

Mr. Palmer was so droll! He and his newspaper. Poor man! What a silly wife he has! His face when he is holding his baby is priceless! "Mr. Palmer is just so good with him!" As if, Mrs. Palmer! Ahh, how funny. Now, I think I have covered many of the important characters. On to the music.

The Music:
As aforementioned,  I find the music delightful, if not a tad melancholy. "Play something a bit less sad, dearest." :) I don't think sad was quite the wording, but I'm sure you get the reference. The music sounded classical to me, which fit the period exactly, but my piano teacher might point out some or chords and things that show otherwise, but to the untrained ear (mine) it seemed to suit. Marianne was playing the piano quite often, and beautiful songs were played each time. That's about all I have to say about the music, without repeating how delightful I found it.

The Costumes:
They were all wonderful. I can't seem to find fault with this movie, can I? While they might not have been as accurate as some, (P&P '95) I thought they were very nice and fit with the time period. They dresses are cut rather low, but that was the style. Marianne's hair was a beautiful tumble of curls, and I thought Elinor's wavy bun suited her nicely. Many of the hairstyles seem to reflect the old Roman hairstyles, which I find fascinating. Lucy Steele's is the first to come to mind. I have seen that ribbon headband and bun style in my Latin textbook at school. The men's hairstyles I always enjoy. For some reason, long tussled hair looks good with their outfits. I do not like curly white wigs, though. (eh hem, Sir John Middleton!) Now, as this post is becoming rather long, I will wrap up with the overall theme.

The Theme:
I love Jane Austen's novels (of the three-going-on-four that I have read so far.) Love has always given me this wonderful, happy feeling. What can I say? I am a girly, hopeless romantic. She not only writes about love, but as many have noticed Jane Austen does a wonderful job of studying human characteristics. She makes wonderful, true to life characters (and sometimes caricatures.) She develops setting so very well also. Some say her books don't have a plot, but that, I believe is because of the plots subtlety. She does not bang you over the head with adventures and disasters, that much is true. Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorite novels of hers, (or anyone's) and I think it is safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed this movie adaptation.


  1. I hope to watch this in the next month or so, also for the Period Drama Challenge. It's been years since I watched it, and I'm growing ever fonder of Emma Thompson, so really want to see it again.

    I've always thought that people who say Jane Austen's books have no plots are very silly -- a plot does not have to involve excitement or mystery! A plot is simply what happens to characters and how they change as a result. Austen clearly has that in spades :-)

    1. Thank you so much for your input! You don't know how excited I was when I saw someone commented. You should definitely watch it again. :) I hope to hear from you again! (P.S. I checked out your blog too, and I love it!)

  2. What a wonderful review, Miss Maddie Rose! : ) I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and I must say I agree with basically everything you said. This is one of my favorite movies ever! I loved Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet as Elinor and Marianne, and Hugh Grant is just unbelieveably adorable as Edward. (But then, Hugh Grant is pretty much unbelievably adorable no matter what character he plays.) : P
    Yeah, Willoughby had me fooled too, especially since I didn't know the story before I watched the movie. Greg Wise is so handsome, and Willoughby seems so charming and sincere, I was just so disappointed when I found out he was a scoundrel!
    Oh yes, this is one of my very favorite soundtracks too! The music suits the theme and the time period so well. It is rather meloncholy, as you said, but more of a a pretty melancholy than a sad melancholy. I just love it! : )
    Hehee, I am definitely a hopeless romantic too. It simply can't be helped. : P

    Lovely review! : )

    ~Emma Jane

  3. Beautiful Review! :) I agree with everything you said! I now love Alan Rickman as Col.Brandon he is so good in the role! I am such a hopeless romantic also :D. and the music is simply georgous especially the song in the wedding scene hehe I better go now as I am quite busy :(
    ~Evie Brandon